Monday, May 2, 2011

An End, and a Beginning

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Almost a decade after the terrorist attacks that slaughtered 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden –the founder of the Islamic terrorist group Al Qaida –is dead. Although all the details may never be clear, mostly for security purposes, what we do know is that the United States military –the Navy SEALs –and United States intelligence –especially the CIA –acted together to bring about his demise: a bullet in the head.

The move is, at the very least, a major psychological blow to Al Qaida, the Taliban, Hamas, and various other terrorist groups operating in the world that looked to Bin Laden as a symbolic figure of global jihad against America and those affiliated with the Western World. How fitting and proper that such a blow should come as a result of actions undertaken by the United States of America.

Our leaders, journalists, and analysts –on all sides –are quick to remind us that Bin Laden’s death does not mean the end of the Global War on Terror. They are right. The war will go on. But this stunning victory should not go unnoticed, or unheralded. It should, and will strengthen America’s resolve. There is nothing this nation –that We, the People –cannot do. Nothing worth achieving, no victory, is ever without its cost. In terms of war, the cost is measured in blood. Bin Laden caused too much blood to be spilt, and paid with his own. And somewhere along the way –and what exactly happened is still unclear –some terrorist in Bin Laden’s compound used a woman as a shield in the firefight that killed him.

President George W. Bush united us after September 11 by declaring that the people who knocked down the Twin Towers in New York –and slammed a plane into the Pentagon, and attempted to turn Flight 93 into a weapon –that they would hear from all of us, that justice would be done. We invaded Afghanistan, freed its citizens, dislodged the Taliban and scattered Al Qaida like rats under bright light, and set out to disrupt, destroy, and defeat their terrorist networks globally.

Last night, President Barack Obama united us when he brought us a major victory by telling us Bin Laden’s lifeless body had been dumped into the sea, and by preparing us for the continuation of the war against terrorist-fueled jihad. Getting Bin Laden was something many thought impossible. For those who thought it was impossible, and for Americans concerned about the future of our nation, this is a monumental reminder that we are unlike anything ever seen in the history of the world. We do not fail. And countries, hedging on our own national demise –like Iran and North Korea –are reminded of the deadly efficacy of our martial prowess.

Now, the questions, and the policy implications from the stunning attack on Bin Laden will become the stuff of debate. How could Bin Laden have lived so close to a major military academy in Pakistan without the Pakistanis ever knowing? Do we continue to offer the Pakistanis financial assistance? Should we stop cutting defense funding, and increase our military and intelligence efforts against Al Qaida? Do we draw greater international cooperation from this action? Where do we go next?

Eternal vigilance is the price of peace. We must be eternally vigilant against those that seek our destruction. We, as American citizens, must sustain and grow a culture and nation worthy of defending. And our military –God Bless them –will find it worth defending. Both citizen and soldier have their role. And both must be prepared for the long haul in the struggle against jihad. There will indeed be difficult years ahead. This is an end, and a beginning.

But, at the very least tonight, Americans can go to sleep with the knowledge that Osama Bin Laden is dead.