The Obama administration's decision to bury Osama bin Laden at sea has come under fire from many critics. Muslim clerics say the U.S. violated Islamic burial practices, while the families of 9/11 victims complain that the Navy showed the terrorist leader respect he didn't deserve. And, with no body as proof, many skeptics claim bin Laden isn't even really dead. The White House says it chose to put the al Qaeda leader's body to rest in the North Arabian Sea because it didn't want to create a terrorist shrine on land, and no country would have accepted his remains. Plus, the Navy had to act fast to bury bin Laden within 24 hours, to respect Muslim tradition. But was this really a wise choice? (Watch an ABC report about the controversy.)
The world needed proof: It was a huge mistake to dump bin Laden's body into the ocean, says Damian Thompson in The Telegraph. Not only did this offend Muslims by diverting from their burial practices, but it handed conspiracy theorists a gift. "It's inconceivable that America would announce the death of its deadliest enemy without offering evidence that would convince any reasonable person." The U.S. only reaps the benefits of the death of a figurehead like bin Laden if everyone actually believes he's dead.
"Osama bin Laden dead — but no body. Now for an explosion of conspiracy theories"
Burial at sea was too good for him: The respectful sea burial "was presumably done in the interest of impressing the 'moderate' Muslims of the world with our respect for their religion," says Rand Simberg at Pajamas Media, "but if anything, it does just the opposite." With this politically correct display, we sent the message that we saw bin Laden as "a true Muslim." That will only undermine "those who want to reform a religion badly in need of a Reformation."
"Bin Laden's burial at sea: Are we undermining 'moderate' Muslims?"
Obama had no good options: Sure, this could have been handled better, says Jazz Shaw at Hot Air. But "no amount of 'respect' for the remains" was going to mollify radical Islamists. And the families of 9/11 victims were bound to see any such care for the architect of their loved ones' murder as an insult. Obama apparently wanted to drive home the message that we have never been at war with Islam, "but in the end, nothing was going to pacify anyone at either extreme."
"Disposing of OBL's body"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
Subscribe to the Week