It's a beautiful day today. Every day after this will be a little more beautiful because U. S. forces removed Osama Bin Laden from this earth and dispatched him to the hellfire that he so richly deserves.
Since the American invasion of Afghanistan, the popular image of Bin Laden has remained that of a man on the run, moving from cave to shack, always elusive of his trackers. This image was evoked often by Bush officials and was one that Al Quaeda itself seemed to perpetuate. Every film of him showed a barren and rocky background.
Like the Mahdi of the late 1800s (a Sudanese revolutionary who sought to impose Islamic law in northern Africa) Bin Laden actually lived a life of indolence and luxury. This was a far cry from the sterile existence of many of his terrorists. As American and allied forces demolished his organization, he grew into a symbol more than an effective leader. He became, fair or not, an image of American impotence in the region.
This was not a fair characterization. The Olympic bomber, Eric Rudolph, lived out of dumpsters in North Carolina for five years while evading the FBI. Bin Laden had a whole world to hide in and billions of dollars to spend. The Bush Administration initiated a strategy that slowly closed the net around him, waiting for the other side to make a mistake. We finally got one and, as a result, Bin Laden is dead.
Will there be reprisals? Probably on a minor scale. The War on Terror succeeded in breaking up and breaking down Al Quaeda itself. Individuals can still wreck havoc by setting off small bombs or shooting into crowds. That is bad enough. However, we will not see attacks on the scale of what occured between 1995 and 2001. They just are not capable unless they have obtained a WMD.
Politically, does this help Obama? In the short term, yes. This happened on his watch and if he treads lightly and limits his use of the pronoun "I," people will remember that this happened on his watch. History tells us that any political bump from something like this can be fleeting. George H. W. Bush enjoyed 90% approval ratings after the Gulf War in 1991. Two years later, we inaugurated Bill Clinton as president. High energy prices, a stagnant economy, unacceptable unemployment, and out of control debt menace this country still. These will remain the issues of 2012.
So it is a beautiful day. The world has one less evil doer. We should all thank our brave military men and our capable intelligence community for a job well done!
Two things overheard yesterday night. "Enjoy your wedding, England. We're celebrating a funeral!" and the immortal "We'll put a boot in your ass! It's the American way!"
I went yesterday to watch the Keyser High School team compete in the We the People contest in Washington D. C. I was amazed at the preparation and the knowledge that they demonstrated inpresentations and subsequent questioning. Well done Dairic and Rae Piraino and all the kids who went.