I am as elated as all of you by the elimination of Osama bin Laden.
Words alone cannot adequately praise the personnel responsible for the planning and execution of the mission.
But words will have to suffice for these unknown heroes, lest the identities of the team be used by terrorist cells to exact revenge.
The decision for a “burial at sea” (I prefer to call it disposal) of the remains was a smart one. His body or ashes should never serve as a memorial for radical Islamists.
However, I hope tissue samples were preserved and DNA tests documented. I can only imagine that fifty years hence, the story might get the Oliver Stone treatment and give birth to a new wave of conspiracy theories.
We need to be prepared to debunk irresponsible claims. I’m not talking about the nonsensical rants in the vein of “9-11 was an inside job.” There will always be cranks who defy the obvious truth for perverse and twisted reasons. Those people are easily recognized and dismissed by anyone with common sense.
My concern is that memories fade to some extent over time, making the population more susceptible to unscientific theories steeped in popular culture.
It is worth noting that the Russians ultimately cremated Hitler’s body and spread his ashes over a river in the former Soviet satellite of East Germany, although the exact location has never been revealed by the officer in charge of the disposal. Any traditional burial or display would have desecrated the ground it occupied and would have been an insult to all who suffered under the Third Reich.
However, the Russians were smart enough to retain a fragment of the dictator’s skull. Who knows, maybe in a hundred years there will be a revisionist theory that der Fuhrer did not die in his bunker in Berlin. The mere presence of forensic evidence might be enough to check the spread of such nonsense.
The world cannot afford to allow history to be misinterpreted or manipulated long after events have taken place, when people might be more susceptible to buy into baseless interpretations.