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May 11, 2011

Examining The Head

By Mark Sashine

Our President told us to examine our heads. I examined mine.


Anyone who questions whether the US should have killed Osama bin Laden needs to have their head examined, President Barack Obama has said.

( from the link above)

  "As nervous as I was about this whole process, the one thing I didn't lose sleep over was the possibility of taking Bin Laden out," Obama said.

( from the link above)

That's what our President said.   His position is clear: US(!) killed    a man. Get over it. He does not lose the sleep over this. Examine your head if     you doubt     the decision.

I am trying to examine my head. So far I    had no reason to complain about the level of reasoning     my head demonstrated but if the President says so.. I am trying.   The best     way to examine your head    is to put yourself into the man's shoes. Here you are, a Commander-in-Chief   and   there's a sworn enemy of your country, seemingly accessible.   You can order to take him out and it will be done. It will   bring   a closure to a lot of issues. It will be a huge political gain. You also will be able to monitor the killing on TV, so that   there     will be no doubt at all.   All     the people around you     tell you that it is a good chance. The gun is loaded and ready; just pull the trigger, Mr. President. What would I have done? What would any of us had     done?   Can any of us honestly answer that he/she would have done   something different? Such questions were always asked     of those who judge after    the fact and they   seem the killer questions because they are   Markovian. They presume that nothing was before that, that this particular event    is independent from the past, that there are no connections, that it is only here and now. That assumption   is truly wrong in politics   where everything is connected and interconnected and   where power is not only a manifestation of    strength but also of wisdom.   Now     we see the light in the end of the tunnel; was it   a   wise decision or not?   It depends on the criteria of wisdom   in the head of the President or in the head of   whoever   presumes   to be in his shoes.   My   head   that is.   So, in my head   I   am    put in front of the dilemma of taking a human life.   I can do that.   Maybe   even more than one life.     Obviously, my first question would be if I could avoid that by taking a person into custody. All things considered, I am not a unilateral decider to kill and    we have courts for that. If     the sworn     enemy   is vulnerable   so much that   there is a chance to   execute him ( not even by a sniper   fire but   by a shot to the head), can we take him alive?   That would be even better politically, right? So many people are accused of collaborating with him, so many questions could be answered, so     many     issues   resolved. Now they     forever   will   remain unsolved.   The operation information revealed to all     the     world that    Navy Seals met no resistance whatsoever; why wasn't he taken alive? Where is wisdom here? And   why doesn't our President explain to us whether that option was considered and under what conditions?

Now, there is another question too. Obviously, our President knew in advance that    there were other people in the house.   Did he order to kill them too? Did he order to kill the 19years' -old boy?   See, that's an issue with those   licenses to kill-   you must be   either very specific or very broad. Say, why not   use a taser?   They   work wonders. Or why not   hit a boy on the head, knock him down.     That surely could be done if the President had adamantly stated in his order that only one person should be targeted for killing and   that only if he resists.   How     was an order    stated? Can we see a written    text? If our President like a medieval king watched the execution of his enemy on the TV together with his staff it is only prudent for the public to see the text of that fateful order.    That's what my head would ask first. I would like to follow     the decision process step-by --step.   I would like to see     the wisdom, not vengeance or political posturing. In fact that's where I question the     wisdom of our   Chief   Executive. Some people might say I don't know everything.   But I am in his shoes, right? Tell me, I am ready to listen.

Mr. President, so far I had examined my head and saw nothing wrong with it except for an unfortunate decision to vote for you in Y2008. Not that I had much of a choice. I saw all that in you;   you were a capable and ambitious man with a very diverse background, a real American,   with a touch of high intelligence but   also with   one unfortunate feature- you did not seem   to be a   very educated man and your premises sounded rather shallow whether in your books or in your speeches. Still, you seemed   much     better than the alternatives although   I had some suspicion   even then. You were too eager to please.

You did not seem comfortable acting   under     the malicious scrutiny.   Examine your head, Mr. President; maybe that's the real issue?

Mr. President, you will lose your sleep about the decision you have made. You already had   confessed     about it   because   if not, you would not have said the opposite. Yes, you will.   You   ordered   a killing. Not the US (What an arrogance, really. To disseminate    his personal responsibility over the whole population of     the     country- that is   worthy of Louis the XIVth with   his   "I am the state'), neither that Navy Seal- you. You     did it    and that will haunt you at night. It would be wise to acknowledge that. Lincoln did.   He took the responsibility for the war   and   expressed remorse together with perseverance. But when told that the dead would have voted     for him, he replied   (and here is   Honest Abe in all his glory),   " No, they would   have voted against." Mr. President why didn't you express at least a human remorse about the death as it was?   Whom did you want to please this time? I saw your face when you watched that TV and you certainly did not seem    happy   at   all ( BTW, why did you  have to watch it? Who told you to? Who told you to drag other people with you? What was a political pressure that even Hillary was to be there and   after   that she had to explain   herself   for a truly human gesture?) Mr. President, why did you humiliate yourself?  

I   can understand   when a person in power exercises a controversial or even immoral decision. There are numerous examples. But it is for the first time     as     far   as   I know the person in power wants to play it both ways- he wants to   take a responsibility and also avoid it by disseminating and playing down. The   true   leader   does what he has to do or what he thinks he has to do but he does not command the rejoice and he   is not afraid to   say that the deed was dirty. It was dirty, Mr. President; you did a dirty job. Maybe   for   those   who told you or for those whom you wanted to please or for those whom you don't like but have to follow, but you did a dirty job and   you should acknowledge that; many rulers   did the same thing in the past. They all lost their sleep, sorry, even the worst ones we know about.    Your lack of education     backfired, Mr. President. It continues to backfire again and again. What will be the consequences of       that   morbid rejoice we witnessed?   You said you did it for us. We shall see.

I would like to speculate also about   another   aspect.   History does not like the witnesses of the dirty deeds. Mr. President, you might face a     perspective   of becoming   a politically inconvenient person. Those masters of yours,     those whom you    have been so eager to please, they    know the drill. They know that after the time passes    and the dust settles you will be remembered    as the one who "did not lose the sleep about it.'   That will be     quoted,   remembered, used by those other powerful people who deal with them.   You may become a political     liability in their eyes.     No matter where you go and what you do from now on the shadow of those killed   will follow you whether you want it or not. Of course, there were many     like that before you, as I have mentioned,   but you were the first  one who openly gloated about it in a democratic environment.   I question    your wisdom, Mr. President and     your political practices. I guess in the discussions you held the political     advantages for you were one of the strongest arguments for the action.   I would argue that it was     a wrong   perception.   The   horror   from an   open execution   is not a driver anymore- it is a spiritual brake. Many     people will think about it again and again, examine their heads, so to speak,   and   that uneasiness will not play in your favor   at all. The execution of the Duke of Engyienne haunted Napoleon I up to his last years in exile and Napoleon was   not a person who would avoid responsibility.   But it was a blunder, a real blunder and he   thought about it again and again..   Maybe you should think about it, Mr. President if you had not thought   yet of drones you have sent and wars you have escalated.     Maybe it is   the   time for some soul-searching. I know, Harry Truman   sanctioned     the nuclear bombardment and   that decision is still   being debated here.   But 66 years had passed and if we still rejoice the way we do now, won't it tell you that  there's   something    fundamentally wrong with our perceptions?   Tell you what; maybe you will not lose your sleep about it.   But I certainly     had lost it     after     I read your interview because   you broke my heart.   Not    for the first time, I must admit.

Mr. President in your book "The Audacity of Hope' you claimed to love this country. I daresay I love it too. It is a tough statement     because    there is no such thing as an unconditional love.   But I love it and that love tells me to be careful in judgments,   to   check my perceptions again and again, to examine my head before telling others to do the same, to   cut the slack and let it go sometimes. It also tells me that     the   only   way to exhibit this love is to   believe in myself and make my opinion heard   or that may be too late. This country stands like a rock on the people's opinions -- E Pluribus Unum.   So I examined my head and    my     message is this: it wasn't worth it to do what you did.   It wasn't wise.   You please, think about it.

Submitters Bio:

The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.