Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Many Americans have and will rejoice over this event, seeing it as some form of I-don't-know-what that closes a small chapter in what will undoubtedly be a many volume tome that has become warfare in the new century. Whereas I can understand why people view Bin Laden's death as some sort of victory, I sincerely hope it will rekindle some thought about WHY the 2001 attacks occurred.
No person, group or country sets about to terrorize or destroy another group or country for no reason. It's not a sport or hobby, it comes about through dedication to a cause worth dying for. While many of us spend our lives oblivious of what is going on in many other parts of the world, our country's foreign policy speaks for us in regions we will never see ourselves. Our flag is staked in the heart of global conflicts without our input and it becomes the face of our nation to those who will never set foot on US soil. It behooves us to understand the policies that speak for us and the reasons they can result in the global conflict we are now facing. No foreign policy is perfect and some group will always feel slighted when you meddle in foreign conflicts, but there are reasons why the US was the primary target for something so massive, and it certainly wasn't convenience.
Beyond that, I can't shake the parallels between the celebrations that arose around the world when the towers fell and those that arose around the US at the news of one man's assassination*. What would I tell my daughter if she were a little bit older and asked me why people were celebrating? Should I say "because armed men stormed a compound and killed a few people, including their target" or "our country finally killed someone they had been looking for"? If I've raised her well, she would probably follow her question up with "Isn't it bad to kill people?" I suppose this is why 34 states still have a death penalty - because people feel the need for blood vengeance.
So what have we accomplished in our state ordered assassination? Have we changed anything about the global terrorism structure or have we simply done the functional equivalent of knocking off the Queen in the hopes that England will fall**? Have we sent a message? If so, what is that message and who is receiving it? Is the message one that will discourage people from attacking the US in the future, or have we just penned the newest Al Qaeda recruitment brochure? I understand why the US felt compelled to "bring him to justice", but he likely does more for his cause in death than in life at this point.
Like most Americans, I will always remember where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001, and watching events unfold, but the act of killing the man accused of masterminding the attack is not something I relish.
Have we learned anything from the last decade and all the lives lost during that time? Have the billions of dollars spent to get us to Sunday's "victory" been worth it? Time will tell.
*Let's not kid ourselves about it being a mission to capture. Even CNN is reporting the mission was to kill him, as if there was any doubt.
**Simply an analogy, I have nothing against England or their Royal family, despite wanting to scrub my brain of wedding imagery.