Bin Laden is dead. The news made me happy. I don’t want to feel pleasure about the death of another person, no matter how much he deserved it. But apparently I don’t have a choice. I’ve been delighted since last night and the feeling doesn’t seem to be going away.
This is the first time that another person’s death has made me happy. When the Iraqis executed Sadam Hussein, it was simple justice. When drones kill lesser terrorist leaders, I’m pleased at the result, not the loss of life. Bin Laden was different. Like many of you, I was watching television on the morning of September 11th, 2001 when the second plane hit the second tower. This time it was personal. For me, Bin Laden’s death is deeply satisfying.
This is the sort of event that defines our national sense of self. The United States didn’t stop trying to kill Bin Laden for ten years. We Americans might not do things right on the first try, but betting against us in the long run remains a very bad idea. I’m proud to be an American. I want to be on the team that will gnaw through a concrete wall to get it done, even if it takes ten years.
Tomorrow we’ll go back to criticizing one another and complaining about just about everything. That is our way. It keeps us sharp. But today, for just one day, let’s enjoy a collective victory. Let’s remember those who died on 9/11 and in Afghanistan thereafter. Let’s think about the level of bravery and professionalism that went into this operation. And let this remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
History turns on psychology. The United States has been in a rough patch for ten years. That changed last night. Buckle up; the next part of this ride is the fun part.