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Dan Rackley

Dan Rackley is a US Naval veteran living in Philadelphia and a contributor to "Will They Ever Trust Us Again?"

May 9th, 2011 11:52 AM

Who Should Get The Bounty On Osama Bin Laden

Not too long after the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington DC, the United States Government authorized a bounty for capture or kill of Osama Bin Laden.  In the wake of the events that unfolded in those two cities, it was an unheard of yet extremely justifiable sum.  Twenty five million dollars went to the person or persons responsible for getting Bin Laden.  Not too long ago, Congress approved an increase in that bounty to an even fifty million.  It has been nearly a decade since the original bounty was set, and to be honest there were probably few in the country that thought it would ever be collected on.  Little did we know that Bin Laden was literally hiding out in the open.  But last week, he was finally caught and brought to justice.  Aside from the eventual questions revolving around whether the Pakistani government had any knowledge of his whereabouts the past couple of years; one question now lingers.  What to do with the money?

Fifty million dollars to the average person in any country is about more money than anyone could hope to spend.  Of course when there is an announcement that someone might be collecting a large sum of money, people tend to come out of the woodwork.  Take for instance the self proclaimed “Bin Laden Hunter” Gary Faulkner, who wants a portion of the bounty.  Problem is with Faulkner, he wasn’t actually in the compound.  In fact, all of his attempts to capture Osama and collect on the bounty were on his own free from US Government sanction.  It’s not certain if any of the information he gained was useful in eventually finding Bin Laden.  But after no doubt spending a considerable amount of his own money he wants a piece of the reward.  Which is understandable.  But when you take into account the reason for the bounty being offered up in the first place, I can’t help but believe he would be a little uncomfortable spending one dime of it.  The reward wouldn’t have been offered if it were not for the horrible events on September 11th.  It’s got a stigma to it in that regard alone.

The US Navy Seal Team cannot collect on the reward, and they shouldn’t.  I do not think for a moment that they would take it in the event it was offered for them.  They signed up for the job knowing the risks and the sacrifices, and did not bat an eye.  It’s regrettable that nobody in this country or the world will even know their names.  They should be heralded as heroes and true patriots.  Mr. Faulkner should take a page out of their book and just take the thanks of a grateful nation as payment.

But if the money that was appropriated for a reward does eventually get paid out; there are several groups of people it should go to.  The families who lost loved ones in  the attacks.  The 9/11 first responders who went without hesitation into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  The families of the people that were involved in thwarting the United 93 terrorists from going through with another attack.  But if the amount that’s promised and the amount that eventually gets authorized goes to the victims and first responders; how exactly do you do that split?  There are thousands of victim’s and thousands of families that would have to be equally compensated.  And when you take the rough amount divided by that number, it does not add up to much.  A few thousand dollars at most.  Which might make some of the victim’s family members terribly bitter.  A human life is worth a great deal more than what the money would be if split evenly, and no one person should claim it.  And not to mention the first responders that went in and made it out alive that have to deal with constant medical issues and problems getting those bills paid for.

It is certainly a jam that Congress is now in with what to do with the Osama Bin Laden reward money.  There will certainly be more than just Gary Faulkner who will come out of the woodwork to claim their share.  But it’s not an amount of money that should be fought over.  Too much blood has been spilt over it already.  So, I beg the question.  What do you think should be done with it?

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