What a night.
I have to admit, I was among those who thought we’d never capture or kill Osama bin Laden. What seemed most likely was that we would eventually hear that he had died of some disease of aging in the mountains of Afghanistan or in the dense cities of Pakistan.
But no. It actually happened the way those hyper-patriotic, often cheesy movies portray such things–with an heroic nighttime assault by helicopters flying low to avoid detection, a helicopter mishap, Special Forces personnel engaging in a fierce firefight with the bad guys, a room-to-room search for the target, and then the execution of the man who had been the face of evil for those of us in the West for the last decade.
That was followed by intentional blowing-up of the malfunctioning helicopter, the arrival of another, emergency helicopter and the safe escape of the Special Forces with the body of bin Laden.
All this, being watched in real time by the President and his national security team back in Washington DC.
Amazing. Sounds like one of those over-the-top episodes of “24”.
One commentator remarked this morning that this remarkably daring and successful raid might restore Americans’ beliefs in ourselves. We can get things done. We are, after all, a competent nation. We can control our destiny.
We’ve been through a tough decade–an attack on our homeland, two (maybe three) frustrating wars, an economic collapse, increasingly ugly and polarizing politics–and many of us have started to lose confidence in ourselves.
Now, maybe, that changes?
That’s almost certainly an exaggeration but we can hope.
I’ve never been a fan of cheering a death but in the case of someone who masterminded the killing of 3000 Americans and who would have killed many more of us if he had gotten the opportunity, I’ll make an exception. The celebrations across the U.S. last night seemed a little unseemly–but when you consider our shocked and shaken mindset back on 9-11-01 and everything that’s transpired ever since, maybe it’s all right for ous to pump our fists and say, with a sense of profound satisfaction, “Well done!”