- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I asked Courtney Messerschmidt, AKA gSgF, to explain to Best Defense readers the emotional reaction of her fully crunked peers to the killing of bin Laden:
By Courtney Messerschmidt
Best Defense guest Ute correspondent
For those of us who were 10 or 11 years old on 9/11, the news of bin Laden’s death is worthy of celebration. It is a tremendous moral victory for our nation and it validates what so many of us have learned in the past decade — that America really is a magical nation — the only one of her kind (more on this in a bit).
It’s the triumph of good over evil. Sound passé’? Au contraire — most of us reject moral relativism.
It’s because for half of our entire lives we have lived with scary and creepy stuff like Taliban, al Qaeda, jihad, and the threat of terrorism on a mass attack scale from the indescribable horrors we saw live on TV that day — with almost daily threats from various branches of aQ that they would gladly kill more Americans anyway and anytime they could.
Unlike the Soviet threat in ancient times — al Qaeda had no embassies or diplomats at U.N. to double talk and speak of peaceful coexistence. aQ was always intolerant, and totally hot for murderous activities that targeted innocents by design.
9/11 was the pivotal day in our very young lives and OBL’s timely demise seems to have closed a chapter that lasted forever.
This is significant.
1st off — pretty cool to realize that OBL realized his death was imminent. Like il Duce, der führer, or S’Ddam — the awesome knowledge that the end was at hand as America confronted him for a haj to the perfumed gardens of paradise. And like al Zarqawi in Iraq — the last thing OBL ever saw was a po’d American about to kill him. Oh, that is sweet.
Equally hot — of all the nations that aQ has attacked and tormented over the years — only Great Satan had the brain power, will power, staying power, and fire power to hunt him down, choppering in less than 30 guys into a veritable Pakistani Army base with nearly 10 thousand troops stationed blocks away to visit death upon him. And in a fun, friendly ‘forget you’ way — hauled off the body as booty and chucked it overboard from an American aircraft carrier (sovereign American turf — no less) as shark bait.
Many think the war is over — or almost over — as the recent Yemen drone strikes hoping to kill al Awlaki indicate.
Others realize in a Churchillian way — it isn’t the end — or even the beginning of the end, yet it may well be the end of the beginning.
So we celebrate the victory of good over evil via bin Laden’s death repeatedly, without modesty or restraint. Not to put too fine a point on it — when the ‘funintended consequences’ erupted on TV later in the week in the form of rowdy foreigners protesting America’s righteous hit, we reveled in their dismay.
And when frightened teachers and the elderly gave us the old ‘shame shame’ meme for partying about the death of a mass murder engineer we joyously pointed out — sometimes — our enemies need killing.