This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
One of the most telling details reported from the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday was the human shield. The female human shield.
Those who studied the scene of the firefight say that one of his wives was physically positioned to protect one of the men who was shot, whose number included one of bin Laden’s sons and two of his brothers.
The woman may have shared his murderous values, but in al-Qaida, females are not fellow warriors on an equal footing. It looks as if she didn’t choose her death – it was chosen for her.
If so, this was yet another case of Islamist extremists hiding behind people they know their enemies are reluctant to kill, thus exposing noncombatants to greater risks than they themselves are willing to incur.
Think of the way al-Qaida, Hamas and like-minded terror groups surround themselves with civilians when under attack. It’s standard operating procedure for the kind of religious psychopaths who murdered thousands of innocents on 9/11 and hundreds of others in attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and on the USS Cole in 2000.
Bin Laden was the quintessential Islamist psychopath; after an international manhunt that went on for almost 10 frustrating years, he has finally gotten his due.
Hiding behind civilians wasn’t despicable enough for al-Qaida; they deliberately sought to kill civilians on a massive scale. The twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center were not military installations; they were full of innocent people – which was exactly the point, and exactly what bin Laden ordered.
And let’s not forget one of the characteristic traits of radical Islamism: contempt for women.
Bin Laden’s wife might have been treated as a bullet deflector because she was of less value than whoever was hiding behind her.
The radicals’ version of Islamic law is pathologically obsessed with the subjugation of women. That’s why the Taliban – bin Laden’s soulmates – forbade females from seeing male doctors, horse-whipped women who dared show their faces in public and resorted to throwing acid in the face of schoolgirls.
Such is the dark, medieval caliphate al-Qaida and its supporters would like to impose throughout the Islamic world – throughout the entire world, in fact.
Bin Laden’s death will not cause his fellow fanatics to consider the error of their ways, as evidenced by the anger and threats of retribution now coming from radical Islamists.
But their leaders must be sobered to realize that even bin Laden ultimately had to do his own dying – that the “martyrdoms” of footsoldiers and the cowering behind supposedly cheaper lives could not go on forever.