I stayed up much too late last night watching the special report from President Obama and then chatting online with some people afterwards. Osama bin Laden is dead, killed in a special operation by Navy SEALS and buried at sea. Thousands of people mobbed the White House, Times Square, and many other gathering places to rejoice, to cheer and chant "USA, USA, USA!" Politicians from all over the country and all over the world made statements. Most of them credited President Obama for this event. A few, like Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor, gritted their teeth and issued statements congratulating the US military and everyone else without ever mentioning the President. Petty people always give themselves away.
To his credit, and my shock, Rush Limbaugh praised Obama and made the following statement which still stuns me (in a good way): "Our military wanted to go in there and just scorch the earth...but President Obama single-handedly understood what was at stake here. He alone understood the need to get DNA to prove the death...it was President Obama single-handedly and alone who came up with the strategy that brought about the effective assassination of Osama bin Laden," he said, adding, "thank God for President Obama." Good for you, Rush. I'm proud of you.
And, predictably, there are those who are complaining that those rejoicing are blood-thirsty savages. All I can say is there is no shame in rejoicing when justice is served. When a criminal brings about the death of thousands of innocent people, and is finally brought to justice himself, all of us have reason to be gratified and to believe in the power and integrity of those who effected such justice. I cannot resist adding Mark Twain's observation that, while he never wished a man dead, he had read many an obituary with great satisfaction.
Mostly we must remember those young people who were very young on September 11, 2001 and who have lived all their lives in the shadow of global terrorism. They have spent a decade of their young lives knowing there are very bad people out there who can strike them down at any minute. With last night's announcement President Barack Obama sent those young people a message, "We will never rest until those who would harm you are brought to justice."
Regardless of how you may feel about the death of bin Laden it is crucial to remember that justice may take time and may not always happen in the way we would choose, but justice, when it happens is a moral triumph for society.
May the souls of those innocents who died by bin Laden's actions, rest a little more easily now.
Thanks for reading.