Monday, May 02, 2011

The Death of bin Laden

Kudos are warranted for Mr Obama and the complex nexus of defense and intelligence teams for punctuating the finality of a 10 year odyssey to hold the first major mass murderer of the 21st century to account for his crimes. Mr Obama in particular deserves credit. 10 years is a long time to be hunting after someone. Memories fade, priorities change, and even important things can be overcome by other events, making them less important. Mr Obama should be commended for staying the course and seeing this mission all the way through, and by all accounts so far, doing it in a determined responsible way. Obama has invited legitimate criticism of his foreign policy during his first 2 years with what many (including me at times) have seen as unsteady, unsure, compromised and even ineffective diplomacy. Many have legitimately wondered if Obama has the stomach for a serious foreign policy that takes the negative realities of the world seriously, while also seriously capitalizing on generational opportunities such as the Arab Spring phenomenon. Obama's willingness to head an effort to dispose of bin Laden tells us (or me at least) that Obama can indeed temporarily abandon an almost obsessively paralytic search for gray when something really is black or white. Bravo.

Amidst the celebrations in DC and NYC, one should be reminded that certain things do indeed overcome human fickleness. Newscasters across the board seemed genuinely surprised by the outpouring of joy bin Laden's death evoked. People do indeed still remember how terrible bin Laden's crimes were. And even though I personally find it a bit paradoxical to 'celebrate' someone being shot dead and literally thrown over the side of a ship, my conscience is soothed by the almost certain reality that bin Laden never would have allowed himself to be captured alive, making his death the only way for justice and reasonable closure to be realized in this life. His death is a reminder that no matter how idealistically positive some of us may want to view the world, the stain of sin is still with us and must be reckoned with for any responsible view of the world to win the day.


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