Two weeks after the fact, it’s still hard to wrap my mind around the knowledge that Osama bin Laden is dead.
I was one of the skeptics who, convinced that he was holed up somewhere in a remote desert cave, doubted that he’d ever be found. And I must admit I was growing increasingly nervous, as the tenth anniversary of the September 11 massacres draws near, that his devotees would strike again.
Bin Laden’s death does not, of course, guarantee that they won’t. But it does make me feel better. Relieved. Heck, let’s go ahead and say it. I’m thrilled to death that the individual who personified evil in the twenty-first century has been wiped off the face of the earth. I’m among those who cheered and cried tears of joy and couldn’t bear to turn off the television once the news broke.
And one of the millions of Americans grateful to every single individual who had a hand in bringing him down.
What must it have been like to sit in the White House “Situation Room” (gotta love that name) for forty interminable minutes and watch a grainy video of two dozen Navy Seals scrambling out of helicopters and into bin Laden’s hiding place? How must the people in that room have felt when they received the message GERONIMO–EKIA? And how in the world did President Obama manage to maintain a poker face the previous night at the White House correspondents’ dinner when comedian Seth Meyers joked that bin Laden was so off the radar that he hosted a T.V. show every afternoon on C-Span?
Just hours after the news of bin Laden’s death was released, I logged onto the Café Press website to see if they were already selling commemorative t-shirts. Yep. Also coffee mugs and bumper stickers and aprons and baby bibs. Some tasteful. Some not so much. Among the more interesting messages printed on them:
- · Obama Got Osama
- · Help Wanted: Head of Terrorism for Al Qaeda
- · Jihad Works Both Ways
- · Osama Sleeps with the Fishes
- · Have You Hugged a Navy Seal Today?
- · Ladies and Gentlemen: Osama bin Laden has left the building
- · Team Six: Resistance is Futile
My favorite? A bogus but spot-on quote from President Obama: “Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was too busy killing Osama bin Laden.”
Whether these unsubtle sentiments and others like them represent wholesome patriotism or rabid jingoism is, like everything else, in the eye of the beholder. I’m guessing that few of the souvenirs are selling well in Afghanistan or Pakistan or anywhere else in the Middle East. And you know what? I don’t care. When I read of al Qaeda’s plan to sabotage a U.S. rail track so that a passenger train will crash into a ravine this coming September 11, or hear them vow to forever remain a curse to America, I can’t feel sorry that Osama bin Laden is dead. I can’t.
This un-bogus quote from the President of the United States says it best: “Justice is done. Anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.”
Amen, Mr. President. Amen.
(May 15, 2011)