For ten years Americans sacrificed incredible, crippling sums of money, and the blood of our brave soldiers to find Osama Bin Laden for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks on American soil. Last night’s announcement by President Obama that the Al Qaeda leader was killed in a covert operation by Special Operations Forces does not bring an end to the war on terror, but it brings to a close the long nightmare and psychological dread the country has endured. For many Americans across the nation, it was a time of celebration, but for some, it is a strange feeling that maybe our friends and family did not die in vain, and that possibly our troops can begin coming home.
From the time shortly after the attacks on 9/11, the entire country has been on an emotional roller coaster that ranged from shock, fear, and anger to the divisiveness inherent at learning that George W. Bush lied to the American people to start a war with Iraq. Indeed, the death of Bin Laden does not diminish the danger or sacrifice our soldiers will face in the hours, days and months ahead, and Americans should remember that although there is a sense of justice, there is still danger for our troops.
The jubilant scenes at Ground Zero and outside the White House showed a unity that has been lacking in America since the terror attacks on 9/11. After the Bin Laden directed attacks, Americans became one country with one purpose, and as President Obama said last night, it did not matter what race, religion, or political party one belonged to, the country was united. It wasn’t until Bush began the drumbeat to invade Iraq that some Americans began splintering into disparate groups depending on whether they were fooled by Bush’s deceit, wary of the fabricated evidence, or wanted another war. As it turned out, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and the clue was in Bush’s speech that was similar to President Obama’s address to the nation last night with one striking difference.
When George W. Bush was selling the nation on the necessity of waging war on Iraq, he related that as a country, America would protect its people, its allies, and its interests in the Middle East. President Obama used nearly identical words when addressing the nation except he did not say the military would be used to protect our interests in the Middle East. Bush and his cronies gave further hints that the Iraq war was more about America’s interests than weapons of mass destruction or a Saddam Hussein link to Al Qaeda. We were told the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil and instead of preventing looting or securing millions of weapons our military found, the Iraqi oil fields were protected by our soldiers. Mr. Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld deployed the United States military and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis as well as our own soldiers to procure oil and no other reason.
The level of evil it took for Mr. Bush to use Americans’ grief, anger and unity to wage war on an innocent sovereign nation is only matched by the evil of Hitler and Stalin. The entire operation benefitted no-one except Bush’s cohort Dick Cheney and his company, Halliburton, who mysteriously won “no-bid” contracts to supply oil and provide infrastructure support for the war. The malfeasance of the Bush Administration also made Iran the dominant force in the region and threw Iraq into a civil war. In retrospect, it is no wonder Americans celebrated last night at the news Bin Laden had been killed.
The lesson America can learn if reason reigns supreme is that after ten years and thousands of lives lost, it was a covert operation that brought justice to Osama Bin Laden. From the start of the Afghanistan invasion, there were countless experts who reasoned that a covert, police action would yield better results than an all-out military invasion. The Special Ops team that assaulted Bin Laden’s compound did not sustain any injuries and did not cause massive collateral damage because of careful planning around superb, carefully gathered intelligence.
For two years, conservatives have assailed President Obama as weak and inexperienced in foreign policy because he does not follow Bush-era cowboy diplomacy. Republicans have painted Obama as conciliatory to our enemies and weak on defense from the minute he took the oath of office. Last night proved that although there was unity and excitement that justice had been served, conservatives were still in divisive mode. On the social media outlet Twitter, conservatives accused the president of fabricating the news and every other possible iteration they could imagine. Sarah Palin made a statement from Facebook that thanked the military, but not President Obama. She deliberately omitted thanking the president for his leadership and resolve to accomplish what Bush and his war machine could not, and she was congratulated by thousands of her followers for her grace and leadership in seeing the mission accomplished.
President Obama said last night that when Americans are united, there is nothing the country cannot accomplish and he is absolutely correct. Our military accomplished a major feat of finding one man among billions without a unified country and it gives one pause. If the nation would unite around a common goal of energy independence for example, we could accomplish it within ten years. Americans could go back to work if Republicans would work with Democrats and the president to pass legislation to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, but Republicans are beholden to oil magnates and corporations instead of the American people and therein is the problem.
President Obama has risen to every task put before him and he has done it in spite of divisive Republicans. Americans were ecstatic last night at the news of Bin Laden’s death and it has the possibility of being a defining moment for America if the country remains united. When a common goal is set before the American people, they can accomplish anything and the president eloquently noted our ability to band together in times of crisis. Our nation is in an economic crisis and Americans will make the sacrifices necessary to prevail if they see all parties engaged for a common goal.
It is understandable that the nation was jubilant that justice was served last night, but it must have been a difficult decision for the president to authorize Special Operations forces to kill Bin Laden. Unfortunately for America, the president is only the commander-in-chief of the military who obey his commands with stellar efficiency. The country united last night to celebrate justice being served and if Republicans joined forces with Democrats to work for a better America, there is nothing we could not accomplish. Our military accomplished an impossible task and it is incumbent on every American to emulate our soldiers’ resolve and unity to make America great again.
The only impediment to success is the Republican Party and its resolve to keep the country divided. After last night’s announcement, they will work harder to us at odds, but they may find that the country is united around the president and less likely to acquiesce to their corporatism and oligarchy. Bin Laden’s death may be more prescient than just administering justice; it may be the uniting factor that saves America.