- Marine veteran Bill Bee spoke out in remarks to DailyMail.com on Friday
- Slammed Gen Z TikTok ‘trend’ praising bin Landin’s 2002 ‘Letter to America’
- In his memoir The Shot, he details learning of 9/11 as a recruit at Camp Lejeune
A Marine veteran who was in a famous combat photo in Afghanistan following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 has spoken out to slam the viral TikTok trend praising terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.
In his memoir The Shot, retired Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Bee told how, as a young recruit, he watched the Twin Towers fall from his barracks at Camp Lejeune at the end of his training.
At just 19 years old he was thrust into combat as one of the first Americans on the ground in Helmand Province to take on the Taliban in the manhunt for bin Laden and the terrorists responsible for 9/11.
‘I’ve deployed four times to Afghanistan, lost too many friends to count to both enemy action and suicide when they got home. I’ve received the Purple Heart and a couple other medals,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘Yet this s**t I’m seeing on TikTok is causing me to question the worth of defending these clowns,’ he added.
After videos praising bin Laden’s 2002 letter detailing the former al Qaeda leader’s justifications for attacks against Americans went viral on TikTok, the platform said on Thursday it would ban such content.
Discussions of the 20-year-old letter have spread on the platform this week in the context of debate over the Israel-Hamas war, with some Gen Z users praising bin Laden’s message as a bold stance against capitalism and colonialism.
The letter, which offered a twisted motive for the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, criticized US support for Israel, accused Americans of financing ‘oppression’ of Palestinians, and contained antisemitic comments.
Bin Laden was killed in 2011 in Pakistan by a US military special operations unit.
‘I know we have freedom of speech, but we don’t get freedom from repercussions for that speech. Someone needs to slap these jacka**es with some reality,’ said Bee.
‘It seems to me the flood of videos on Tik Tok and other social media consists of individuals consistently pushing the envelope to what’s right, merely so their videos can get more views. I don’t think these individuals fully comprehend the actual effect of supporting these organizations,’ the Marine veteran said.
‘I just cannot fathom how these same people that empathize with Bin Laden and Hamas. They literally stand for everything the jihadis hate about our culture’ he said.
‘So in an effort to be ‘unique’, these people are professing an ‘understanding’ of why (bin Laden) chose to attack the United States and our Allies,’ he said.
‘The thing that blows my mind are that these people hold values that are the antithesis of everything fundamentalist Muslims hold. How many LGTBQ groups do you think are tolerated in Gaza, or any Islamic country?’ he asked.
‘I’ve seen the head of a dog sewn onto the body of a little girl, just because they thought she gave Marines intel. And yet, these Tik Tok virtue-signallers “Understand” their actions,’ he said.
Despite his anger, Bee added that he still subscribes to the famous saying: ‘I do not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.’
‘That still holds to this day,’ he said. ‘The right to free speech is one of the most precious rights we have, and I would gladly lay down my life to preserve it, even for people so monumentally stupid they would advocate for a man who would sooner see them and their families dead for no other reason than being American.’
In 2008, Bee was almost hit by a Taliban sniper, in a moment was captured in a photo shared around the world.
In all he served four deployments to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, TikTok has been racing to remove videos praising bin Laden after receiving a wave of backlash.
A search for ‘Letter to America’ on TikTok surfaced no results on Thursday, with a notice that said the phrase may be associated with ‘content that violates our guidelines.’
‘Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism,’ TikTok said in a statement, adding that reports that the bin Laden letter was ‘trending’ on the platform were inaccurate.