Unlike many Americans I can’t cheer and celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. I’ve surprised myself. I had dreamed of this day for a long time, but eventually gave up as I came to believe he had been killed in Tora Bora in 2001. While I can’t celebrate the death of a madman myself, I don’t resent those who can. In a way I even envy them.
Instead of feeling happiness, I feel relief. Bin Laden believed that America was a “paper tiger” that if hit hard enough could be controlled by the likes of a man like him. It was a rational belief. Iran wasn’t punished for holding Americans hostage for 444 days, nor was Hezballah for its attack on the Marine barracks in 1983 that killed 241. Even al-Qaeda had gotten away with attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the US Embassy bombings in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. On September 11, 2001 Osama Bin Laden hit America as hard as he could, but instead of surrendering to him (or lobbing a few cruise missiles at tents in the desert), we took over the country hosting him and mercilessly pursued him and his band of followers, striking them down in the dead of night with missiles fired from unmanned drones. I’m pleased to see that President Obama chose the riskier path by sending in CIA-led Navy SEALS to deliver justice in person; I only wish that Todd Beamer’s wife or one of the loved ones of thousands of others killed by Bin Laden in cold blood could have been there to pull the trigger.
By killing Bin Laden we sent a message that jihadis weren’t safe no matter what they did. It may have taken 9 1/2 years, but we did find Osama and punch his ticket to Paradise. Jihadis might want to pack accordingly because it is doubtful they will enjoy such a lengthy life after executing their deeds.
One of the problems I have had with President Obama is his attitude towards Islamic terror. During his campaign and throughout his presidency he has acted as if terrorism was a legal issue. Hence his decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court, and his promises to end rendition and close Guantanamo. Even his administration’s refusal to use the term “terror” – the “man caused disaster” episode of Janet Napolitano – terrified (for lack of a better term) those of us who see Islamic terror as an existential threat.
But the way Bin Laden’s assassination went down was uncharacteristic of this administration. As an old friend and Obama supporter noted of his death, “And under Obama’s watch no less. That should put some folk’s panties in a twist.” My panties aren’t in a twist, but perhaps hers should be. Obama suddenly – and surprisingly – acted as a leader with the Nation’s best interest in mind and in complete disregard of the “international law” so beloved by his Leftist supporters – a fact that pundit Iowahawk noted:
“Like many Americans – and the Nobel Peace Prize committee – I naively feared he was actually serious when he initially proposed shutting down Guantanamo, trying detainees in American civilian courts, and prior consultation with the international community. Little did I know that this untested young Commander-in-Chief would muster the courage to read his weekly Gallup numbers and, in one daring unilateral extra-judicial targeted hit job, toss aside every single idiotic foreign policy principle of his election campaign. Perhaps most satisfyingly, it was a mission made possible thanks to information extracted by methods he previously banned as ‘illegal torture.’”
In short President Obama acted like the leader of the administration he replaced: President George W. Bush. Does this upset me? Quite the opposite; it reassures me and relieves me that we don’t have the Second Coming of Carter. But his dovish supporters who haven’t appreciated the irony of a Nobel Prize recipient ordering the head shot off of America’s Enemy Number One and watching it on TV might want to reconsider either their support – or perhaps even better – their naive beliefs that allow the likes of Osama Bin Laden to continue to breathe today.