The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

OSAMA BIN LADEN DEAD. You’ve Waited Almost Ten Years to Read That.


Most of my thoughts about tonight’s wonderful news, that Osama bin Laden is finally DEAD can be found on my Twitter feed. My thoughts are messy and scattered, as I hope bin Laden is as well.

This will be in tomorrow’s Jolt, along with several other items that seem so much less important in light of this news…

The Headline We’ve Waited Years For: AMERICAN KILLS OSAMA BIN LADEN

I cried.

Oh, sure, this doesn’t mean the war on terror is over or that al-Qaeda is gone. We may even see al-Qaeda launching retaliatory attacks… oh, right about now, so be a little extra wary on your commutes.

I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11 personally, although several came close. Like many of you, I know folks who have given sweat and toil in the war on terror, thankfully little blood. Or course, for nearly ten years, thousands upon thousands of good men and women worked to achieve this. Some gave all.

If you weren’t among those who were online around 9:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday night, you missed the ominous word that President Obama would be addressing the nation at 10 and that THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO WORD ON WHAT WAS GOING TO BE SAID. A circumstance that, as you can imagine, seemed pretty ominous. Let’s throw out the alien landing or asteroid scenarios; if the U.S. had gotten word of an imminent sudden and devastating terror attack, with insufficient specifics to stop it, isn’t this more or less how the news would be broken? The only detail from the White House was that it was “national-security-related”, and let’s face it, that’s rarely good news.

And then, as rumors began to focus on Osama bin Laden, CNN showed its usual file footage. That smiling demon. I wonder if he knew that his grin would show up as frequently as it did, every time there was a terror alert or some yahoo in some corner of the world blew himself up in a café. That was the insult to injury.

He’s not smiling now.

My sons are going to grow up in a world without Osama bin Laden. Your children, and grandchildren, and all of us, too. That’s what got me misty-eyed.

We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. But we know something it does not hold. You and I and our loved ones will not die in a terror attack that OBL planned and ordered. (Presuming he didn’t phone in a ‘go’ signal in his final days.) He has killed his last victim.

Oh, sure, he was likely to kick the bucket eventually. My older little guy goes through early September delightfully oblivious to the anniversary. I’ve thought about when he’ll wonder why Daddy’s book has a picture of burning buildings on the cover or what all those nonfiction books on my bookshelf are about, or when he’ll hear the numbers 9 and 11 used together so frequently to realize it means something very specific. I’ve thought about how you explain all this to a child, and what he’ll be ready to hear later in life.

And now, at the very least, I can tell him that the villain of this story – the man who we all saw as America’s Public Enemy Number One – is dead and gone.

A few folks speculated that this guarantees Obama’s reelection. I can’t even get my head around those kinds of thoughts, at this late hour. My initial, hating-to-even-think-about-it conclusion is that while Obama will get a big poll boost for now (and remember, he did authorize a risky special forces operation deep in Pakistani territory without telling the Pakistanis) this won’t be decisive in November 2012, but who knows?

For now, rejoice. America always gets her man, sooner or later.

Tags: Osama bin Laden


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