It was bound to happen. In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, an incomprehensible number of debates have begun, concerning alleged violations of that cherished doctrine known as, “Political Correctness” or “PC” (to the amusement of Mac users).
One of the first PC controversies arose as a result of the front page of the New York Daily News on May 2, which featured bin Laden’s photo with the following headline: “Rot In Hell!” Here at TheCenterLane.com , the headline I wrote, just after midnight, was: “Bin Laden Dies – Goes To Hell”. Accordingly, I was pleased to learn that the New York Daily News has been absolved of any PC violation. CNN’s Deputy Political Director, Paul Steinhauser, reported on the results of a poll conducted by CNN Polling Director, Keating Holland:
“This is one question on which there is little partisan division – at least six in ten Democrats, independents and Republicans all believe bin Laden is in hell,” adds Holland.
On the other hand, I was disappointed to learn that bin Laden’s code name during the Navy SEAL raid was “Geronimo”. The choice of that code name was (apparently) the only stupid decision made in the planning of this operation. It should have been obvious to those planning this raid that the use of Geronimo’s name would offend Native Americans. Most of the commentary dismissing criticism of the code name “Geronimo” is laced with very transparent bigotry. To get an objective opinion on this issue, one need only look across the pond to The Guardian, where Steven Newcomb wrote this:
In my book Pagans in the Promised Land, I use the theory of the human mind (cognitive theory) to explain the “cognitive unconscious” of the United States. Certain ingrained traditions of thought, both conscious and unconscious, have been used for generations by US government officials. Such thinking has resulted in the development of predominantly anti-Indian US federal Indian laws and policies. The result has been laws and policies that have proven detrimental to Indian nations and peoples.
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In the reported stories of Osama bin Laden being killed by US military forces, Bin Laden was codenamed “Geronimo”. According to a CBS News report, those who came up with that “inappropriate code name” apparently “thought of Bin Laden as a 21st-century equivalent” of Geronimo. In other words, the codename was based on an extension of the metaphor “Indians are enemies” to “Geronimo was a terrorist”, thus perpetuating the US tradition of treating Indian nations and peoples as enemies.
In my humble opinion, bin Laden’s code name should have been, “Lindsay Lohan”. To anyone intercepting communications about the raid, the discussion would have seemed like typical, shallow, American gossip about a Hollywood Snow Queen. A likely reaction by someone overhearing the historic communiqué might have been:
Lindsay Lohan EKIA?
Allah be praised!
I thought she was just a D-cup!
A more far-reaching Political Correctness debate has focused on the handling of bin Laden’s corpse and the suggested publication of the reportedly gruesome photos of his face. Since the days of the Bush Administration, great pains have been taken to demonstrate that America is not waging a war against Islam – we are at war with terrorists. Since we clarified that almost ten years ago, there should be nothing wrong with warning those who attempt to wage jihad against us that we will do everything in our power to make sure that terrorists are disqualified from becoming “martyrs” with an eternal harem of 72 virgins. Accordingly, I believe that immediately before a terrorist is executed, he should be baptized as a Christian to die as an “infidel” and suffer the damnation Allah bestows on such individuals. If bin Laden had been restrained and baptized just before he was shot, Islamic funeral tradition would have become irrelevant. Baptizing condemned terrorists would also serve as an effective deterrent to aspiring jihadists. Such a practice should not be offensive to legitimate Muslims, because there are many serious, respected Islamic authorities, who have repeatedly emphasized that terrorism is abhorrent to the Islamic faith. What better way to distance the Islamic religion from such deviates, than to disconnect them from Islam just before they are dispatched to the hereafter?
Although some PC purists have objected to the execution of bin Laden, they constitute a fringe minority among even the most orthodox devotees of Political Correctness. Any attempt to transition bin Laden from waterbed to waterboard would have been logistically impossible, serving no valid purpose.
As for the question of whether to publish the bin Laden photos, it is important to be mindful of recent reports that the Taliban has demanded release of the photos as proof that Osama is dead. It is generally a good idea to do the opposite of what the Taliban demands. Accordingly, the photos should be suppressed.