Monday, May 2, 2011

Opinion: Who should get Osama Bin Laden's 25 Million Dollar Bounty?

“In fact, Osama bin Laden is a pilot of Americ...Image via Wikipedia
Osama Bin Laden was killed in Abottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011 by U.S. Special Forces. The question now, however, is who should collect the 25 million dollar bounty (27 million if you count the 2 million donated by the pilots association) for information leading to his capture or death. In this piece, I express my opinion on the question of who should get the bounty.

Before I get to the answer to this question, let me first explore three obvious possibilities for how the bounty should be used and give a little commentary on each of them. These possibilities are listed below:

1. The United States government: This is one possible option for the reward to be distributed, but not a very good one in my opinion. 25 million compared to the annual budget of the U.S. is nothing, something akin to an ordinary person finding a quarter in the vending machine coin return. Even though it might sound good for PR (and I'm sure a few Tea Party types will mention it), I think the money should go to a better cause than something cheesy like paying off the national debt or given as as part of a tax refund.

2. The victims of the 911 attacks: Here again, this is a seemingly good move on paper, but I also think it has a few problems. First, the reward is for information leading to his capture or death. As much as the families of the 911 victims suffered from the terrorist attacks, they didn't directly aid in Bin Laden's capture. Also, this would ignore the suffering of other people, both here and throughout the world, that have suffered at the hands of Bin Laden. What about the families of the victims of the bombing of the USS Cole or the African Embassy bombings?

3. The JSOC and SEAL team: To me, this option makes the most sense. These -- the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the Navy Seals Team 6 -- are the folks directly involved in Bin Laden's execution. Why not give them both the credit AND a small monetary reward? Divided among the approximately 5000 people thought to work for JSOC and in the SEALS team, this would work out to about 5000 dollars a piece -- enough for a nice vacation for the employees' families.

What are your thoughts on what people should do with the money? Leave your ideas below.
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