So we finally got him. After a nearly decade-long manhunt, and while we’re still fighting the longest war in our history, Osama bin Laden is dead.
In at least one way it’s good that it took so long for us to locate and kill him. He has not been effective lately—otherwise it would be a disaster that it took so long to get rid of him. No, he’s been ineffective, and yet we still went to the other side of the world to find him and kill him.
He said—and he probably truly believed it—that the United States was weaker than it appeared, that it could be destroyed as a superpower as the Soviet Union had been, that Americans could not endure mass casualty attacks on our homeland. He was wrong all along, but now everyone should know he was wrong.
After a brief period of post-911 national unity, Americans have been deeply and sometimes stridently divided about foreign policy since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. As frustrating as this divide may be no matter which side you’re on, this too is, for the most part, a good thing. Democracies are supposed to argue with themselves about various policies, especially about policies that involve life and death. There is, however, an unfortunate downside. Fighters on the other side, the enemy side, know they might sap our will to keep fighting if they can inflict enough casualties.
They’re right about that when it involves wars of choice, but they’re dead wrong if they think it gives them license to kill us. If you attack us where we live, serious people in both the Republican and Democratic parties will hunt you down to the ends of the earth, will put you on the run for the rest of your days, and will not stop until you are dead.