May 10, 2011

The United States is absolutely correct to withhold information about the successful operation to find Osama bin Laden [“Officials go silent on bin Laden,” front page, May 5]. There will probably be a continuing demand by the media not only for photos of the dead bin Laden but also for footage of the operation from Predator drones and even helmet cameras so everyone who wants to can watch the raid. Some media folks and politicos will continue to demand a “right to see and right to know,” as if this were all some sort of video game.  

Military and intelligence personnel directly involved in the operation are not the problem. The security risk resides with those public officials on the periphery who are anxious to show how well connected or informed they are. Their selfish and thoughtless public clamoring puts the operators and their families at risk.  

I am very proud of our troops — not only the Navy SEALs but also the helicopter pilots and crews, and all those behind the scenes who contributed to the mission’s success. But we can be proud without caving in to demand by the public, politicians and the media for mission details. Secrets should be kept, and there is always information that doesn’t ever belong in the public domain. The more detail that is revealed about how our intelligence and special operations folks pulled this off, the less likely they will be able to do it again.  

Thomas Moser, Wilmington, N.C.

The writer, a retired Navy captain, was a SEAL team commanding officer.

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Thanks to Kathleen Parker [“Vengeance’s cheerleaders,” op-ed, May 8] for bringing a little sense to the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden. I, too, find no solace in revenge, and I feel great dismay about the human condition, which seems to thrive on revenge. What did the celebratory song and dance say about us? Are we not just a bit more like those we despise when we exhibit joy over the taking of a life, even the life of an enemy? The dead of 2001 do not return to us when their killer dies, nor do they need to be avenged to rest in peace.

We might feel relieved that bin Laden will kill no more, but we should all work toward a day when understanding and compassion replace revenge, distrust and hate. How can the joyous rant after bin Laden’s killing help that cause?

Betty Booker, Salisbury

sebefford@aol.com 27826 Island Dr. Salisbury, MD 21801    found in voter rolls:410-546-1712