Full Fathom Five bin Laden Lies

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

In the Tempest, Shakespeare makes a great case for sea burial. I don’t know about any of you, but I’d much sooner suffer a sea-change, at least as he describes one, than an earth-change. But there are those who would have denied such a dignified metamorphosis to the late Osama bin Laden. Zachary Roth, writing for Yahoo! News reports that Muslim religious scholars view sea burial as a form of desecration:

And Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai’s grand mufti, echoed that view. “If the family does not want him, it’s really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that’s it.”

He added: “Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances,” he added. “This is not one of them.”

And Abdul-Sattar al-Janabi, who preaches at Baghdad’s Abu Hanifa mosque declared: “It is not acceptable, and it is almost a crime to throw the body of a Muslim man into the sea,” adding that the action “might provoke some Muslims.”

A similiar controversy arose when U.S. troops displayed the bullet-riddled bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein, after killing them in a protracted gun battle. It faded quickly. Su, I reckon, will this. One thing that has a decent chance of going viral, however, is the clutch of conspiracy theories that hold we never killed bin Laden in the first place. Among the leading skeptics is none other than former Congressional hopeful Cindy Sheehan. In Slate, David Weigel quotes her as saying:

I am sorry, but if you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid. Just think to yourself–they paraded Saddam’s dead sons around to prove they were dead–why do you suppose they hastily buried this version of OBL at sea? This lying, murderous Empire can only exist with your brainwashed consent–just put your flags away and THINK!

In fairness to Sheehan, she isn’t the only Deather in town. (I give Weigel credit for the term; he coined it in an earlier piece yesterday.) Zachary Roth writes that the Washington Times’ Emily Miller has tweeted a demand for a photo. U.S. military officials claim to have taken such a photo, and may release it. Fake photos are already making their way through cyberspace, but you can forget about finding a link here.

In this morning’s edition of Salon, two 9/11 widows share their reactions to bin Laden’s death. Here’s Marian Fontana:

A little after 1 o’clock Aidan called. He was uncharacteristically upset and wanted to come home from school. “Everyone is talking about bin Laden. In every class, they are happy he is dead, but I don’t feel happy.” I convinced him to stay in school and promptly called the headmaster and school social worker who promised to help Aidan through the day.

And here’s Nikki Stern

I don’t know if I ever hated bin Laden or thought he was the face of evil. I’m not sure I ever thought of him as an individual. The brand of fanaticism he represented terrified me, of course. And I knew, logically, not emotionally, that he was crazy, dangerous and all-around bad news. Go after bin Laden? Sure, get the guy. Send a message that the United States is not to be f-cked with? I could see the value in that. But wage an all-out war on the entire Muslim population, using his actions and my husband’s name as justification? I didn’t think so.

Gang, this may be my last post as second-string Anchoress. I want you to know I consider it a great privilege to have blogged for you all. At times, our relationship turned adversarial, but you know what? I think that’s healthy. A writer shouldn’t open his combox expecting nothing but praise; readers shouldn’t click on a link expecting to see all their prejudices re-affirmed. Thanks for reading, and thanks for posting. Your input has helped me grow as a writer, or at least it’s made me want to.

– Max Lindenman

Update: Time reviews the memoir of Omar bin Laden, “fourth eldest of Osama bin Laden’s 20 known children.”

As the first book written about Osama bin Laden with help from anyone in the bin Laden family, Growing Up bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World (St. Martin’s Press) is a valuable — if limited — glimpse into the personal life of the world’s most wanted man. In recollections from Omar and his mother Najwa bin Laden (the first of Osama’s five known wives), and with the assistance of American author Jean Sasson, the book paints a picture of Osama as a towering figure whose noble demeanor inspired fierce loyalty, but also an absolute authoritarian who wanted as many wives and children as possible in order to have foot soldiers for Islamic jihad. “My sons, your limbs must react to my thinking as though my brain was in your head,” he told his children when they complained about their life in al-Qaeda camps.

And you thought Mel Gibson had it rough.

Update: I just did something I would have considered grounds for a royal ripping-on, had anyone else done it.

While composing a message to a friend on Facebook, I wrote “Obama” when I meant “Osama.”

I used to think that confusing the two names was a sign someone believed Obama was a foreigner who hates America and pals around with terrorists. The conviction was so strong that the unconscious, in a case of classic Freudian slippage, revised Obama’s name to reflect his true nature.

I’ve since come to revise that theory. I now think it’s a law-of-averages thing. Just as a very large number of monkeys supposedly could reproduce the works of Shakespeare if given enough time, anyone who writes “Obama” and “Osama” a given number of times in a single day is bound to mix them up at least once.

That’s why it’ s very, very important to proofread.

  • jkm

    Thanks, Designated Anchoress. I’ve enjoyed your sojourn. And this may be my last combox post on this blog as well, since this is less safe a place than I thought it might be for divergent points of view. (Or more likely, my old liberal skin is waaaay thinner than the rest of me.) It’s been fun. I’ll catch you ’round the Internet campus.

  • Max Lindenman

    I may be easier to find than you think. There’s been talk of my starting a blog of my own.

  • Tim

    As a frequent reader of this site (and infrequent commenter) I would like to thank you for your posts. I was skeptical at first, but the Shakespeare quote brought me to a different mind.

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    Well I for one will miss you, irregular Anchoress.

    Don’t be a stranger. I’m sure a blog of your own would be great. I’d ‘link’ ya.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    You duh man, Max. Thanks for giving us so much great food for thought.

    Maybe The A could make you The Anchor?

    (Hell, if Scott Pelley can do it … )

    Dcn. G.

  • karen

    Thank you very much, Max!!!

    I’ve been coming to Anchoress for news and views since ’05– and i must say- you did swell:0).

    jkm– my skin is pretty thin, too– i know how you feel. Keep pushing, though– i don’t know if we’ll toughen up, but different points of view are a good thing. That’s why i listen to npr so much– albeit not as often as i once did. My husband would rather have music– imagine!

  • Bender

    If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
    They will find something to riot about no matter what was done.

    As it is, better that they freak out at bin Laden being chucked into the sea than his grave in an on-land burial be turned into some kind of shrine.

  • http://thatsadancerslegmargaret.wordpress.com Bernadette

    It’s been a lot of fun having you around! I do hope we’ll see more of you, even if somewhere else.

    Also, I think no matter what the US did with Osama’s body, someone somewhere would get offended. As burials go, the sea is not so bad. Plus, then there’s the great apocalyptic image of when the seas will give up their dead. Osama is in good company in his watery grave.

  • K

    Yeah, as regards the burial, I think we’re pretty much damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I mean, ok, so we show off the photos of the Husseins and it’s all, “Oh, you’re being disrespectful.” So we clean and wrap the body, have a flipping *funeral service* for bin Laden, and bury him at sea, and it’s all, “Oh, you’re being disrespectful.” You know what, I’m pretty sure if we’d found some remote island somewhere to bury him on, it would have been, “Oh, you’re being disrespectful because [fill in the blank reason].”

    At a certain point, people have to realize – he was a declared enemy of the U.S. We do not *owe* him anything. They’re lucky we didn’t just open the helicopter door and shove him out over the ocean. That we went to the lengths we did to follow Muslim funeral/burial procedure for the KIA bin Laden shows what we’re made of as Americans.

    I’m wondering where the “proper Christian burials” for everyone he’s killed over the years are…Oh, wait…

  • Adieu

    Max, been nice having you but nicer having you go. I miss my real Anchoress. I hope you do start a blog. I’d read it. You won me over with Shakespeare.

    So we now have two monsters in the sea. Will Caliban soon join the Taliban?

  • HV Observer

    What I want to know from someone aboard USS Carl Vinson is:

    This most historic event ever aboard CVN 70 — did it include chumming?