Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is Dead

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." -Mark Twain

President Obama addresses the nation and the world...

The news of the  operation in Pakistan  that  finally  took out the  world's  number one terrorist, was greeted here in  London  with  a sense of relief.   Also, with a undercurrent of  concern that the  scenes of  jubilant  celebration  in the United States, while completely  understandable, could serve as  a rallying cry and recruitment tool for  Al-Queda leaders  who  are still at large.    That being said,  I for one  am quite happy the bastard is dead.

The President's speech hit all the right notes.   President Obama payed tribute to those who died,  those who served and continue to serve and  restated the  truth that  the United States is not at war with Islam.  Taking care to again  draw the distinction  between violent extremists,  and  a religion  that billions of people around the world, including in the United States,  peacefully follow.

Yet even  now,  there  are  people in the United States who just cannot get past their personal hatred of President Obama and the Democratic Party.  A former university classmate of mine, and neo-conservative blogger  just  couldn't help himself,   when he  posted on Facebook  how he was glad  President Obama  hadn't  "given up on the War on Terror, like many in his party wanted him to."   

There is no way you can  respond to something that irrational, that mindlessly  partisan  and  that  demonstrably  false.  So  you shake your head,  click  "unfriend"  and join the rest of the world in the reality-based community.

As much as the scenes of  celebrations in New York might make some people uncomfortable;  the sense of euphoria at "ground zero" is understandable.

I remember 9/11/01  very well.   I was actually on an airplane.   I was flying from Chicago to Houston for work, when about 20 minutes into the flight we suddenly turned around and returned to  Chicago.   The pilot assured us  there was nothing wrong with the plane, but that the FAA was grounding all air traffic.   Everyone onboard assumed it was a problem with the  Air Traffic Control system at Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports, which had experienced problems earlier in the week.  It wasn't until we got into the terminal,  we saw CNN and  found out what had happened.

So  with so many people around the world,  I am relieved and  happy to hear  the news that Osama Bin Laden is gone.   At the same time,  mindful that  the violent extremist ideology  he championed,  is still very much alive.  We owe it to those who have died  to  continue to be vigilant.  

Yet if today's  news  shows us anything,  it is  proof  that  the aims and tactics of terror groups like Al-Qaeda  will, in the end,  only result in the terrorists own violent demise.

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