At last. The death of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of terrorist acts in the U.S. and across the globe, triggered waves of relief, satisfaction and elation for those still mourning the thousands of innocent victims of his crimes.
That the end came in a precision military operation, one worthy of Hollywood blockbuster treatment, only adds to the sense of pride here in the United States. While a few narrow thinkers immediately sought to portray the successful action as a coup for Obama, for Bush, for Democrats, for Republicans, the reality is this: It was an American moment. It was a victory for painstaking intelligence work, but especially for the highly trained Navy SEALs who swept into bin Ladens compound and accomplished their mission.
The action didnt just end bin Ladens life, it exposed a level of hypocrisy in his leadership of al-Qaida. This was not the end of a freedom fighter, a brave rebel directing his oppressed people from spartan caves in the hills. Instead, death found bin Laden ensconced in comfort in a well-staffed compound in Pakistan. It likely has been his base for years, officials said, while he encouraged countless young idealists to blow themselves up for his cause.
In death, bin Laden joins a distinct cadre of despotic leaders whose twisted thinking has spawned evil acts for purportedly altruistic reasons, altering the course of history. Osama, meet Adolf.
Authorities are quick to note that the death of bin Laden doesnt end the threat of terror. In fact, Homeland Security immediately noted the possibility of terror attacks to avenge bin Ladens death, although they cited no specific plots. A last tape by bin Laden could still surface and rouse new terrorist ire, although any bombast in his tone could ring an odd note, coming from his watery grave.
Clearly the need for vigilance continues. Still, a key figure in the legions of terror has been neutralized. For America and its allies, there is considerable closure in that especially as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 draws near. SC