Former President George W. Bush promised that, “dead or alive,” when it came to Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the United States would get their man. Yesterday, thanks to a small team of U.S. Navy SEALs and a steadfast president rationally committed enough to send the “go” order, at least part of Bush’s promise was kept.
Osama Bin Laden is dead. As news accounts are saying that he died following a brief firefight from a gunshot wound to the head, I am delighted to know that at least on some level the bastard saw it coming.
While I could easily break apart the remarks delivered in connection with the death of Osama Bin Laden from both President Obama (his remarks were downright great in some places, and shockingly self-serving in others) and former President Bush (a class act, he thanked and congratulated the appropriate people), in the spirit of a united America I see dancing in the streets in New York City and Washington, D.C., I believe that genuine appreciation, congratulations and credit are due to both parties.
I believe that a great deal of appreciation and credit is due to the Bush administration, and its commitment to ensuring that an attack on America and the slaughter of thousands of Americans would not go unpunished. If the attacks of September 11, 2001 had happened today, it would almost certainly be treated as a law enforcement operation, as people like Attorney General Eric Holder not only have lost their stomach–if they ever had one–for doing what’s necessary, but have refused to even identify our enemy as well. George W. Bush, because of his resolve, made sure that such a result never happened.
Likewise, I believe that an even greater amount of appreciation and credit is due to the Obama administration. It was one thing to stand on the rubble of Ground Zero, look around at the twisted metal and somber faces, and swear retribution and justice — but it took an absolutely tremendous amount of political courage to stand up to the unreasonable lefty base of the Democratic Party and remain steadfast enough to do what was right. But for Barack Obama’s willingness to accept reality and dispense where necessary with some select campaign promises, this day would likely not have occurred.
Some of my lefty friends have noted that the death of Osama Bin Laden may make it more difficult to defeat the president in 2012. If that is the case, I welcome it. After all, when it comes to electoral politics liberals often resort to masking their agenda in more moderately palatable actions, and if this particular Oval Office Democrat comes to understand that an aggressive prosecution of our war against Islamic fundamentalism results in positive poll numbers, we’ll all be better off.
It is my hope that Barack Obama will see that such resolve, like extending the Bush tax cuts, may bring about political success at the polls at the expense of angering the base, and he and his crowd will (a) be even more aggressive, and (b) quit welching on the tough stuff–military tribunals, detainee detention–that needs to be done to effectively prosecute this war. According to news accounts, the CIA was led to Osama Bin Laden by an Al Qaeda courier, and led to the courier by detainees captured and detained shortly after the 9/11 attacks. We need to keep pressing, and if there is a bump in the polls because of this news, I hope that Obama learns from it.
Likely, however, this miraculous night will not have as much of an effect on Obama’s re-election as he and his friends may like. The problem, politically, is that little if anything will change. Islamic fundamentalism will still persist and permeate mainstream Islam, Eric Holder will still refuse to acknowledge the truth, and the economy–not Bin Laden’s rotting corpse–will still be the big issue in the 2012 election. The fact is, if the president tries to use this achievement–albeit a fantastic one–to his political advantage, he will be not-so-gently reminded that his actions with regard to every aspect of the war on Islamic fundamentalism are, in reality, simply an extension of Bush administration policy.
Domestically, it is my hope that, In the meantime and for the time being, we use this particular breakthrough as a way to come together. Already, the death of Osama Bin Laden has brought forth something that I never thought I would see — an acknowledgment and repudiation, by the Council for American-Islamic Relations, of radical Islam.
“As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and Al Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide. We also reiterate President Obama’s clear statement tonight that the United States is not at war with Islam.”
As it stands now, it’s shortly after 2:00 a.m. and the streets of New York City and Washington, D.C. are packed with people holding Bush/Cheney signs, people chanting “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!” until their voices grow hoarse, and students who are simply there because studying for final exams just is not as fun. Most importantly, they’re waving American flags. Here in America, we could use a little reason for unity. While I fear that we will be sniping at one another once again within a day or two, I hope that we can come together here in these United States.
In matters abroad, the more we learn about the location and circumstances of Osama Bin Laden’s death it seems that Pakistan, as Ricky Riccardo was fond of saying, certainly “has some ‘splainin’ to do.” The mansion that served as Bin Laden’s final residence–not counting Hell, of course–was located in Abbotabad, Pakistan, home of the Pakistan Military Academy. It was reportedly built in 2005, it is reportedly eight times as large as surrounding homes, and it is surrounded by 18-foot-high walls. Even better — it’s actually on the map, so to speak, as it has already been located and plotted on Google Maps, and it’s right next to an educational institution, three hospitals, a playground, and a police station. That Osama Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight is curious; that the United States Military decided to apprise the Pakistanis of the operation only after its completion is telling.
Most importantly of all, as we revel in the news of Bin Laden’s death and marvel at the scenes playing out on our television sets we need to remember that it may be shortly after 2:00 a.m. on the east coast here in the United States of America, but in Afghanistan it is morning, and there are brave and unselfish American men and women on patrol and in the crosshairs of an inevitably emboldened enemy.
Pray for them. After all, recall the words of the great Winston Churchill: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”