I was sitting in the living room watching either one of the multitude of Law and Orders or Mythbusters, can't be sure which it was. Barb was in the other room checking her facebook and email before retiring to bed when I heard her say that something strange was going on. I got up and walked back to her and she said there was a lot of talk about Bin Laden being killed.
I went in and changed the channel to FOX NEWS (yes, I watch Fox, surely you aren't surprised) and saw a picture of the terrorist on the screen with the word "dead" underneath it. Apparently they had finally found him and killed him.
Just then President Obama walked into the East Room of the White House and made the declaration that Bin Laden had been found and killed in a fire fight in Pakistan. The President did a very good job laying out the facts of what had transpired and also in letting the people of the United States know that there was more but he couldn't talk about details just yet. I thought the President did a fine job in giving the news to the people of the United States.
My first thought was that this was a good thing, and I still think so. Bin Laden was an evil man who had hatred, justified or not, towards the United States and other western block countries. It was deeper than just hate that he felt though. It was a cold hearted desire to kill westerners no matter who they were. While I don't believe he planned all of the terrorist attacks made on the United States I do believe that he approved them. This included the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, The bombing of U.S. Embassies in Africa, that attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the September eleventh attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed over three thousand people.
The man was so full of hate and evil that he personally declared war upon the United States. It was with this frame of mind of being at war that justified to him all the terrorist attacks that his organization carried out.
I remember September 12, 2001. On that day we saw video of numerous places in the middle east where people were dancing and jumping up and down with joy and celebrating the deaths of over three thousand innocent Americans. It spread all through the region and to be honest, it angered me. The thought crossed my mind of if you mess with the United Sates, you will be messed with tenfold in return. It was not pretty and it was not humane to celebrate all the deaths that occurred almost ten years ago. It was not right.
As an answer to all the terrorist activity against the United States we began for the first time preemptive action to keep us safe. I don't care if you approve of President Bush's decisions and moves, but his decisions and the action coming from those decisions came about because of terrorist attacks.
President Obama continued the policy with a few changes but the goal was and is still to keep the United States safe from terrorism. After nearly a decade of searching for Bin Laden, our intelligence forces finally found him, confirmed that it was him where he was and to the credit of President Obama action was taken and Osama Bin Laden was finally put to rest. He was killed and a huge part of the terrorism community is gone. This is a good thing.
Then I saw young Americans dancing in the streets, cheering the death of bin Laden, draped in the American flag. I saw one person wearing the American flag as a cape as though he were Superman. People were jumping with joy and celebrating the death of a human being. Granted he was a human being filled with evil and hatred but still he was a human being. I thought back to the celebrations in the streets of Iran and Iraq on that September day in 2001. I felt a little embarrassed. Were we no better than this? Have we sunk so low as to consider the assassination of a human as something to rave and party over. If we have I feel shame.
The death of Bin Laden was necessary, there is no doubt about that. We should be glad and relieved that he is no longer a danger to us. We should also be aware that there is someone else waiting to step into his shoes as we celebrate and they continue to plan terrorist plots against our country. Bin Laden's death does not end the threat of terrorism. It may slow it down a bit, but I can see where it could also bring back the threat of terrorism worse than it was before, especially if we are seen dancing in the streets and rejoicing to the point of ecstasy because one leader has been slain.
I believe the United States should give a sigh of relief, be glad that a part of the terrorist network is no longer, and continue to protect ourselves from future attacks. This should have nothing to do with politics or political parties. It is what needs to be done.
I have seen Americans celebrate the end of wars. I have not seen Americans so jubilant over the death of a single man however. When Hitler died, it ended a war. Hitler would no longer be a threat and we were grateful that he would not be a threat. I don't remember pictures of Americans dancing in the streets when Mussolini was disposed. I recall no such demonstrations when any of the Soviet Union leaders died. We accepted their deaths with class and with relief that they were no longer on the world stage.
Even when Saddam Hussein was captured and executed there was no dancing in the streets. We watched as Hussein was given a trial and had his sentence carried out. We were pleased and relieved that another madman was taken from the world stage. We didn't dance in the streets though.
The war on terrorism is not over. Personally I doubt if it ever will be. Let us keep in mind that even though Bin Laden is no longer a player, there are several new players to take his place. Let us be glad. Let us quietly rejoice. Let us be relieved. But also let us be prepared for what comes next. And do not let us be seen in the world as a blood thirsty people with the wild celebrations at the death of Bin Laden as there were at the deaths of three thousand Americans ten years ago.