I’ll try to keep this short.
I don’t think May 1, 2011 was (or will turn out to have been) a historic day for the United States of America.
I don’t believe, after the apparent euphoria subsides, that the death of Osama bin Laden will change much of anything for us, at home or in the world.
I don’t even believe justice has been done, and it raises my hackles to have heard the local news broadcasters repeatedly use that phrase tonight. (Hunting down bin Laden may have been right, for us; it may even have been necessary. But if it didn’t involve due process under some system of laws, U.S. or international, then it was not justice. It was vengeance.)
As for my fellow Americans cheering at baseball fields, in public parks, and in various comments throughout the news feed on my Facebook page, I feel a mild disgust and pity.
Most of the time, I try to be a voice of moderation on this blog. It ain’t necessarily so, is typically my refrain. Step back and take a closer look at what’s being said, what we thought was happening, what you and I were inclined to think at first glance.
And my basic message remains that tonight, but I have to make it stronger because the cheering for the death of bin Laden reminds me of nothing so much as the mindless cheering that greeted President Bush’s wrongheaded announcements that we were going to war in Afghanistan, and then Iraq. I opposed them then, and I have seen nothing since to change my opinion.
The cheering from my fellow citizens tonight suggests to me they’re nowhere near to grasping the larger contexts. International policy is not a playoff series, and neither war nor international police actions should be treated like a football match.
Rather than try to preach at length, I’ll just pose a few questions. Ask yourself if you have an answer for them, or whether you’ve seen anyone else ask – let alone answer – them in recent hours.
· Did the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ever have anything to do with the hunt for bin Laden?
· If they did, why are so many people assuming they’ll just go on now, and not stop, the way Obama promised they would?
· Why have more than 6,000 American servicepeople and 120,000 foreign civilians died early and violent deaths over there?
· Why didn’t we capture bin Laden long before now? What is it that kept President Bush from getting that job done in eight years of supposedly trying his best?
· Just how is it that the most wanted terrorist in the world managed to camp out comfortably within the borders of one of our greatest supposed allies for the past five years?
Let me know. In the mean time I'm going back to the warm fuzzy commentaries I have been composing for this blog the past week or two.