Osama bin Laden is dead. He had eluded America and her allies so long, many of us began to wonder if he’d ever be found. Would he stay hidden and live on to terrorize and frustrate America and civilization itself? Would he die instead of natural causes and never face justice, or if he were somehow captured, would there be a circus of a trial?
Thankfully none of those scenarios ever came to pass. While current details are sketchy, let’s be assured that in the end, what took down bin Laden, was a combination of powerful force and courage along with rigorous long-term planning and effort. The CIA had suffered its greatest failure on September 11th, and this partly rehabilitates that reputation. Ever since that awful day, it has tried to move heaven and earth to get the ultimate Public Enemy #1, and in this mission it has succeeded.
So secretive and sensitive was the operation to get bin Laden, that we may never know the names of the guys who planned and carried it out. After all, there are other members of Al Qaeda still at large, and fear of reprisals is real. Nonetheless, we have to give thanks for an effort so long in coming, but now so worth the result.
The death of one man, no matter how evil or powerful, will not win our campaign against terror. The sad truth is that we all know that. As long as anyone is willing and able to suspend rational thought and human decency to strap on an explosive device and try to detonate it, we must resign ourselves to combat this nemesis of civilization. It is a testament to how much this country has matured in a decade that all the individuals interviewed tonight on the news, whether expert officials or relatives of September 11th victims, had no illusions about the death of bin Laden. In fact, we are aware of the possibility of near-term terrorism following this.
Nonetheless, even though Stalingrad or Midway didn’t signal the end of World War II, they certainly marked the turning points in that struggle. Hats off to our intelligence community, our special forces who had to take bin Laden out, and hats off to our President. There are some who perceived that the Obama Administration might go soft on Al Qaeda or other enemies of the United States. This act, far more than any speech, puts that contention to rest.
There will be a brief euphoric rush of patriotism, like what followed September 11th, throughout the country. It will not last, but it will be very pleasant, very welcome and very deserved.
New York May 2, 2011
(Base, Common & Popular)