“We love death. The US loves life. That is the difference between us two.”
That’s a quotation from Osama bin Laden. As I saw the throngs of cheering crowds chanting and singing outside the White House, as I saw Obama laughing about Bin Laden when he knew he was dead, I worry that we took too much delight in the death of our enemy. Did he need to be stopped? Certainly. Did he need to be killed? Probably, but I just have trouble wrapping my mind around cheering about his death. I hope that the cheering was mostly people inarticulately expressing relief at reduced future attack rather than experiencing pleasure at bin Laden’s death per se.
I bet this is a temporary effect on Obama’s popularity because it doesn’t really change the economy or the tens of thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is what Bush’s popularity looked like.
CNN said they they identified the house because it was very large but still had too many people going in and out, they burned their trash, and had no phone or internet service. They also said a woman was killed when one of the people in the compound used her as a human shield but apparently we fired anyway. That says a lot about the clarity of mission of participants on both sides.
I don’t see how the Democrats can pound the Republicans on this. The more the Democrats talk about it the more their base is reminded that Obama has essentially the same war on terror strategy as Bush. I think that hurts Obama more with his base than it nets him with moderates. I see this more as making it difficult for Republicans to criticize Obama’s foreign policy strategy than it helps him attack them. It might be just as good though.
I am sad that I cannot be more positive about this. I don’t think this makes us much safer because he is just one man, and at that one forced to lurk in the shadows for years as new leaders have arisen. In the interim. Lybia, Afganistan, Iraq, Syria, Chechnya have given rise to new skilled terrorists who have killed thousands. Iran appears stronger than ever. Yes, he is a symbol, and a powerful one, but little more than that. If the threat of Islamic-fascism isn’t a overblown then I fear that this victory is more symbolic than substantive. I hope I’m wrong.
Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.