Spoiler alert: The United States has killed Osama bin Laden. Interesting post on the viral nature of that news from The New York Times here. It also includes this terrifying thought on the inexorable march of time:
One Twitter user in California said her whole family was watching, including her 9-year-old child. “We’re explaining who Osama bin Laden is,” she wrote. Her child was born several months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Yeah, it’s been a while. And I am old. Also, newspapers now grab quotes from Twitter. Let’s pause to let that realization sink in.
But anyway. Here’s my take on this whole deal: yes, it’s good we got him. But it took ten years, two wars, billions of dollars, and untold human sacrifice — to kill a man who, yes, planned the most dastardly, most deadly, most despicable attack on this country in its history; a man who, yes, founded a disgusting ideology of hate; but a man who, in recent years, was hiding. A man who was removed from the leadership of al Qaeda, who I honestly find it hard to believe was involved in the day-to-day leadership of the organization in any meaningful form.
It’s symbolic, people say. Symbolic of our country’s supremacy, our might, our tenacity. We never gave up, never ceased in our vigilance, and hunted down this murderer — and even if it did take ten years, he was living in flight and (presumably) terror the entire time. I understand that. I really do. It is a powerful message.
But last night, students were setting off fireworks in White Plaza. I heard echoing chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” long into the night. There were joyous celebrations in city streets. And honestly, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that, because our military just killed a man and we’re cheering like a Roman gladiatorial audience. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: