Bin Laden is Dead

I stayed up to watch the official word from the President. I didn’t feel jubilant at the news or horrified at the people who were jubilant at the news, which seemed to be the two main vibes on Twitter last night.

It’s a solemn occasion, I think. At least, that’s how I feel about it. I think it’s right that he’s dead and that he should have been dead a long time ago.

But I also can’t help but think of the people who died on that day, in those planes, climbing into the towers to save people, just going to work. Bin Laden could be dead a million times over and it wouldn’t bring those people back.

The tragedy of history is that you can’t go back. You cannot get back what has been taken from you.

And I do worry, upon watching the cheering, singing throngs, that this means for them things are resolved. And we still don’t have healthcare for first responders to 9/11. Our troops are still overseas. Families have still lost loved ones. We still became a nation that tortures people and that gave up enormous personal liberties in order to feel safe.

Things are far from resolved.

And in some ways, this may make us less safe, since it will give a fractured network of people who wish us ill something to rally around.

But it has been a long time since we have done something we said we were going to do that most people agreed needed to be done.

I guess that’s just what I mean. It is a solemn occasion.  The necessary thing has been done, but we cannot forget that it doesn’t make things unbroken. What’s done cannot be undone.

Let’s just please not forget that, even if we feel like “it” is over, whatever “it” is, for a lot of our fellow Americans, it is far from over and we owe it to them not just this kind of justice, but support, ongoing support.

7 thoughts on “Bin Laden is Dead

  1. What need has anyone to level reprisals? We’re doing a terrific job of fearing ourselves into national bankruptcy. No money for education? Nope, gotta be on high alert! Can’t invest in job-creating technologies? Sorry, have to funnel all our money into keeping us safe. Poor and stupid, uncompetitive globally and much less free…but safe. Sorta.

    Sorry. Never did think that the national honor was so besmirched as to require 300 million of us to go to the poorhouse because 3000 people died in a horribly sad way. We’ve basically reinvented the Cold War, except along the lines of religious ideology.

  2. Yeah, I couldn’t help thinking that bin Laden got a lot of what he wanted, in terms of damage done to this country. OTOH, I’m glad he lived long enough to see waves of Muslims standing up to repressive governments in the name of justice and freedom, and not in the name of repressive religious fundamentalism. So in his own backyard, he failed pretty miserably.

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  4. The reprisals…. those people hate us anyway and are going to try to do damage any way they can. It doesn’t matter is OBL is alive or dead, they’re gunning for us either way.

  5. And I do worry, upon watching the cheering, singing throngs, that this means for them things are resolved.

    I’m not sure that’s the case. I think everyone knows that we need to be cautious about reprisals, and there may be satisfaction that justice has been done but that the world is forever changed.

    Most of my friends in New York were not jubilant so much as satisfied … but also introspective because so many 9/11 memories were brought back.

    I do understand the excitement, the shouting in the streets. Definitely I understand that. I know too many people who had family members sign up for military service in the wake of 9/11 for specifically this mission. And I know too many people who lost someone in the attacks who have been waiting 10 years for this moment. It’s closure for them, and a long time coming. But I don’t think anyone deludes themselves into thinking “it” is over.

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