A 9/11 relative speaks about UBL’s death
As President Barack H. Obama traveled to “Ground Zero” in Lower Manhattan to speak about the killing of Usama bin Laden, an actual 9/11 family member wanted no part of his “victory roll.”
Rosa Leonetti, a leader in the New Jersey chapter of Smart Girl Politics, spoke to your editor at 11:30 a.m. today. She began the interview by stating flatly that she was traveling to Ground Zero, but not to be part of any speechmaking by the President. “I want no part of the victory roll,” she said. Later on, she added:
Making a simple announcement that Usama bin Laden is dead, that was appropriate. But his trip to Ground Zero is not.
Indeed, when your editor asked her to whom she would give credit for Bin Laden’s killing, she named the following, in this order:
- The military, for carrying out a flawless operation.
- The nation’s intelligence services, for their relentless pursuit of any lead to Bin Laden, even during these last years when the Obama administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress subjected them to such close scrutiny.
- George W. Bush, for setting this pursuit in motion and being ever willing to listen to the 9/11 families; concern for justice and closure.
- The 9/11 families themselves, for never ceasing to make their wishes for justice known.
- Obama himself, for making the right decision to order the military to “take him down.”
About this last, Leonetti observed,
He could have done a Bill Clinton, and refused to give the order. Instead, he gave the order, and he deserves credit for that.
Still, she criticized Obama for the tone of his first announcement, saying that it contained too many references to himself, and almost none for the men who actually carried out the operation.
Leonetti admitted that the news of Bin Laden’s death brought back to her, in full force, all the shock and grief of the losses of her family members. This included a New York fireman, the father of her niece, who was three years old at the time. She spoke in a halting voice that showed your editor, better than any words could, that the emotions of that event remained tender, even after nearly ten years had passed.
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Leonetti also criticized the decision to bury Bin Laden according to Muslim ceremony.
I don’t understand why we have to do the politically correct thing. Three thousand people died that day, and none of us had any bodies to recover.
Speaking of which, she also wondered aloud why President Obama refuses to release any of the post-mortem photographs of Bin Laden:
I saw the photographs of the other man who died in that compound. Gruesome, sure it was, but at least he had a body.
She also discounted the notion that the release of photographs of Bin Laden would inflame the Arab world:
Where are the loud outcries for vengeance for this man’s blood? I haven’t seen it. Have you?
In fact, calls for vengeance have appeared—from the radical group Hamas, in control in the Gaza Strip; from the imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; and from several legislators and officials in Iran. Leonetti observed that those particular callers were all propagandists with an agenda, not authentic members of any public. As to what that Arab public likely feels, she said:
This man was not a Muslim leader. He killed thousands of Muslims, he and his network. No one has any reason to mourn him now.