OK, I’m going to throw some cold water here.
My immediate thoughts:
1) I was surprised, because I’d thought he was dead years ago, probably in Tora Bora, and the CIA was keeping him alive for political effect. He was such a camera hog prior to and immediately after 911, that the only reason that he was no longer sending out videos was either because he was dead, or in such a visibly weakened physical state that he didn’t want to be seen that way. Either way, I assumed that he as a real individual was no longer a consequential player in the war.
2) We were not at war with Osama bin Laden. Unlike Hitler, he did not invent the ideology. He merely took an existing one, and implemented it in a way unprecedented in modern times (though it had been in full force for centuries in the past — unfortunately, most people are unaware of history). He is not, and never was, essential to its survival. There was no signing of a surrender on the deck of the Missouri tonight. The troops cannot come home simply because we killed one guy who had been on the run for years.
3) I can readily understand why the administration wants to play this up as though (2) weren’t true. They are desperate for any news on the political front that can rally the people, and distract them from its disastrous policies, not just on the war and foreign policy in general, but on five-dollar gas, rising grocery prices, continuing lack of jobs, continuing plunging home prices and increasing foreclosures, etc. etc. etc. They hope that a faux war victory will boost the poll ratings of a president that, if the election were to be held today, to almost anyone, would lose by a landslide.
4) I fear that we will continue to ignore the real issues of this war, and how to win it, and how to confront the ugly reality of how hard it will be to win. And when I say hard, I mean much harder than WW II, with a casualty count that may be horrendous, even in comparison. Despite the jubilation among the nation, this event makes me more pessimistic about the future, because the reaction to it is an indication of the lack of sobriety and reason with which we approach this potentially existential war.
[Update a few minutes later]
Is the administration hoping that this will be their “Fall of Atlanta” moment as it was for Lincoln in 1
If so, they’re fooling themselves because 1) the election is a year and a half away, not a couple months and 2) the war is not the primary issue in the voters’ minds. But they will still attempt, however politically incompetently, to milk this “victory” for all it’s worth.
[Monday morning update]
If he was looking for peace and quiet, this guy sure picked the wrong week to move to Abbottabad.
[Update a few minutes later]
Claudia Rossett: This is a long war, and Al Qaeda is just a part of it. Yes. Long not just in the future, but going back many centuries.
[Update a couple minutes later]
Does the trail really end in Pakistan?
Ironically the circumstances surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden tends to confirm the theory that terrorism, rather than being a spontaneous meme that floats above the planet, is in fact deeply rooted in the intelligence agencies and regimes of certain states. Thus, neither Hamas nor Hezbollah are creations of some kind of rage any more than than September 11 was wholly the result of some kind of amorphous resentment. Osama Bin Laden had backers; people with uniforms, ranks and the resources of bureaucracies behind them. Those who believe that the War on Terror is nothing but a law enforcement problem must ask themselves whether it is really rather larger than that.
Unfortunately, such feckless people are currently running the country.
[Update a while later, and welcome Instapundit readers]
I have a question about religious burials.
[Update a while later]
“Osama bin Laden is dead, and I blame George Bush.”
[Update another hour or so later]
Bin Laden is dead, and his cause goes marching on. And many in the West, including people at the highest levels of the US government, remain in denial.
[Update early afternoon]
I’m completely unsurprised to learn that he died while hiding behind a woman, using her as a shield. To call him a craven sack of scum is to insult craven sacks of scum everywhere.