It has taken a while to sink in… I wasn’t sure what significance it really had in the end, so I wanted to think on it a while.
Do you remember what you were doing when bin Laden was killed? I was watching “Celebrity Apprentice” waiting for some low-level Trump-induced drama to come to a head. I don’t particularly like Donald Trump and I don’t particularly like the show, but there is some entertainment in observing how B-list celebrities put up with the contrived situations. I take some of that back… Marlee Matlin is a classy woman, and she is definitely still on the A-list.
As the network broke away and there was some guarded speculation that Osama had been located, I couldn’t help but think that our President had found the right moment to get back at Trump for inflaming the Birth Certificate crisis. No doubt there was some obscure lead or tantalizingly close call involving the elusive terrorist.
But we got him. It was real. With al Qaeda acknowledging his death it was VERY real. My first impressions were sinking in that this was a first class operation. I will admit that I was very proud of how Obama had handled the planning, the decisions, and the implementation. No consulting Pakistan or any other country, no hesitation to take him out, and no body to bury. Just a watery grave, devoid of fanatical mourning, idolatry, or martyrdom. While we had enough evidence to convince ourselves he was dead, there was no need to prove it to anybody else. We knew he was dead…. More importantly, THEY knew he was dead.
Over the next few days I remembered how I felt when the World Trade Center was attacked. Before Facebook and blogging I wrote down my thoughts in November 2001.
There is something very wrong with a world that produces people capable of believing their only choice is to systematically plan and execute suicidal terrorism. Even the Japanese Kamikaze aimed at our aircraft carriers. I don’t think the average American understands what we’re up against. I don’t think they are all up for the discipline and sacrifice it will take to transform the world and still retain our dignity and respect as a caring nation. So far, however, I have been impressed with the tact our government has taken. We are after a defined target, for now. We are going to extremes to separate the terrorist threat from the urge to condemn an entire regional culture. Like with any war there are real motivations for the enemy. Unfortunately, the only military threat they can prosecute is against innocent civilians.
I would like to be in on the stoning of Osama bin Laden. I only hope we can do something lasting to ensure he is not replaced with another impoverished Muslim with a hankerin’ to train pilots for one-way trips to Paradise.
To this day, I still have some of the cynicism I had back then about the American public’s commitment to the “War on Terror”. Few people truly understand the commitment it has represented and the continuing commitment it requires. Or at least they don’t openly talk about it. Bush made mistakes prosecuting the war, but there was a true vision of transforming the Middle East over decades.
I will admit, however, that the commitment of our government has shown has been truly heartening. Despite some dove-like posturing through the election and early in his term, President Obama has stayed the course, even in Iraq. And his Nobel Prize winning cult of personality tour through the Middle East has succeeded in adding still another front against terror by inspiring the next generation of Muslims to take charge of their future. That motivational element and Obama’s blitzkrieg success vanquishing bin Laden must represent a compellingly iconic figure to the uprising youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and even Iran. It has impressed this Reaganite…
So, does this all transform my hope for peace throughout the world and confidence in our future? Well, yeah…. OK. There are still a few things I would change. A strategy for space exploration perhaps….. But that is a well worn story that is still being written.