Monday, May 2, 2011

A Time to Kill

It was announced last night by our president, Barack Obama, that Osama bin Laden was dead, killed in a covert military op by this country's finest Navy Seals. Osama bin Laden. The name synonymous to most in this country with evil itself. The man who incited such sentiments as "death to America" and introduced many of us to the idea that death was nothing to fear as long as it is for and in the name of God. There is not one person who cannot remember where they were and what they were doing the day planes started flying into buildings and crashing into the earth. The surrealism of that day, September 11, 2001, still remains to be one of the most outrageous, unexplainable, unpredictable catastrophes we have ever seen in our lifetime. And the man who claimed the fame and stood behind it all, was Osama bin Laden, head of Al Qaeda, minister of all things noxious and vile. Therefore the American military has dedicated the last nine and a half years to finding and killing him. They say to kill the snake you have to cut off the head. So the cult has been beheaded, but we all must surely know that terrorism is not dead and will not die suddenly with this singular act. I guess my reaction to this is more than slightly opposite of the massive crowds that gathered last night. Once the news spread, Americans took to the streets, waving flags and chanting, "USA!" They danced, they wept, they celebrated and I watched them, never once feeling victorious or proud. Our troops had a mission and they completed it almost flawlessly, and for that I can acknowledge an actual accomplishment. I would never diminish that. 3,000 people died on 9/11. I will never forget. But what now? What's next? Osama bin Laden was one man with plenty of influence. We may have cut off the head, but I wonder if instead of withering away, will the rest of the snake repair itself, sprout a new head and carry on even stronger or more determined to strive? If we think Al Qaeda is horrendous, what about the "extreme" extremists? There are always the members of a group who stray a little more to one side than the other and when you're carrying out your deeds in the name of your God, it's almost as if anything goes. So I will not be dancing in the streets, on the other hand, I won't be self-righteous and critical of the difficult positions we must face in this war on terror either. I will be watching and waiting cautiously for the next chapter and  no matter what the government tells me, I will always be on high alert.

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