If you had access to any form of social media on May 1, then you saw what we all saw.
Five years ago to the day, Navy Seal Team 6 completed a raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group Al Qaeda. Finally, America can take a sigh of relief knowing that we will never be burdened by his name again. Think again.
The verified CIA Twitter account decided to recreate the raid via “liveTweet” as if it was happening in real time. Now you may be asking, “What’s the problem with that?” At first, I echoed the same sentiments. Celebrating a victory of an opponent isn’t necessarily bad, is it?
President Obama and Mitt Romney debated back in 2012 about the subject of Bin Laden. “I said if I got Bin Laden in our sight, I would take that shot. You said we shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get one man. You said we should ask Pakistan for permission! And by the way, it was worth moving heaven and earth to get him,” Obama said.
At what cost, though? 56,000 U.S. casualties were the result of “moving heaven and earth” in the chase of one man, according to the New York Times. Families were viciously torn apart because of the pursuit of Bin Laden.
Then I thought about how we view ourselves as one of the most powerful nations in the world. We like to brag that our military is the strongest on the planet, however we took 14 years, seven months, and 20 days to kill one man.
Celebration was definitely in order, but that happened five years ago when the raid was executed. In poor efforts of a strange social marketing strategy, they embarrassed those who lost their lives due to Bin Laden’s actions.
For the CIA to feel the need take a moral victory lap in live-tweeting the raid, they give themselves a pat on the back for something they should have done anyway. Would you buy yourself a cookie for taking out the trash? I didn’t think as much.
Do not misunderstand my criticism though. America is on top of the world. However, this whole situation is just a pebble to the true issue.
We don’t realize the damage we cause at times. Instead of remembering the thousands of lives, families and jobs affected by the actions of one man, we simply highlighted his death through social media.
Think of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Even the least news-watching American knows who Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are. The question is how many remember William David Sanders, the school teacher who evacuated over 100 students before being killed by Harris.
How must his wife and four children feel, knowing this tremendous act of heroism will only be remembered by the few who knew him closely. In contrast, the one who murdered him will be known forever in infamy. By doing such deeds, we bring fame to Bin Laden’s name, and dishonor to our own.