I wasn't overcome with the same euphoria as many others upon hearing that Osama bin Laden was dead.
Had someone else been in the room when I heard the news, I would have high-fived him or her. As it was, I watched the announcement alone and settled for a silent, jubilant shake of my fist.
I'm glad we got him. He needed to die. His killing sends the proper message around the globe that if you screw with America, neither time nor distance will protect you from retribution. It is the sort of truth I want our enemies to acknowledge, understand and believe.
All too often Americans have been butchered around the world and our government's impotent response has been to wag a finger at the perpetrators and move on. From the original World Trade Center bombing in 1993, to the U.S.-embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, to the U.S. Cole bombing in 2000, al Qaeda basically got a free pass and its appetite to rain death on America grew.
The successful bombing of the World Trade Center on 9/11 made obvious what many of us suspected for years: Sticking our collective head in the sand and hoping our enemies would go away was the wrong response to acts of terrorism.
So, yes I'm glad that the mastermind of 9/11 and earlier atrocities against Americans has paid for his murdering; and that his death serves as a warning to those who would do harm to America in the name of Islam or any other cause: You will not go unpunished.
But the reality is, OBL had become more growl than bite. Since the U.S. declared war on terror nearly a decade ago, we and our allies in that war have been pretty effective in stripping away layer after layer of al Qaeda's leadership and operating capital.
More dangerous than corporate al Qaeda that OBL ran, are some of its independently operated franchises such as the one in Yemin. These go on as if nothing of significance has happened.
As a symbol, OBL's death is a big plus; but his loss means very little in terms of the ongoing threat against America.
As the smoke settles from the events leading to the successful termination of OBL last Sunday, here are a few thoughts:
- The reality that al Qaeda is alive and well will probably be driven home to all of us in the next weeks or months with a terrorist attack of sufficient magnitude to grab our attention.
- After watching a White House briefing yesterday on OBL's killing I won't be surprised if members of the Seal team participating in Sunday's operation aren't investigated and/or court martialed for using excessive force. We have learned that OBL was unarmed when he was shot twice and killed. Based on the tenor and tone of questions from some of the journalists at the briefing, and the efforts of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to put distance between Obama and the decision to actually pull the trigger, expect operatives of the Left, the ACLU, the mainstream media, and some extremists in the administration -- Eric Holder, et al -- to call for those special forces members who did the shooting to be punished. It would be the politically-correct thing to do, after all.
- Pakistani leaders must own up to what they knew about OBL's living in a million-dollar compound just down the street. If that knowledge didn't go all the way to the top, those who did know, and protected OBL, should be brought to justice. If the knowledge did go all the way to the top, we need to recognize Pakistan as a terrorist government and withdraw all aid.
The war on terror rages on; with OBL's death, there is just one less player.