I’m relieved that bin Laden is dead. And the Navy SEALs who carried out the harrowing raid that ended his life have my respect and admiration...
But because of the actions of one guy, we allowed [fundamental changes to our values and way of life] to happen. That we managed to kill him a decade after the September 11 attacks is symbolically important, but hardly seems worth the celebrations we saw across the country last night. There was something unsettling about watching giddy crowds bounce around beach balls and climb telephone polls last night, as if they were in the lawn seats at a rock festival. Solemn and somber appreciation that an evil man is gone seemed like the more appropriate reaction.
Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special ops team can fix.
Bin Laden showed the world that a handful of determined fanatics can shake an empire to its core. We aren't the same country we were ten years ago, and I honestly don't know when or whether we will be again.
Vengeance was ours to take, and I have no problem with the fact we took it. I'm glad the last thing bin Laden saw was (probably) the barrel of a gun held by an American. There is grim satisfaction there, but no joy. I celebrate the way I imagine I'd celebrate the removal of a malignant tumor, not the way I'd celebrate a national championship.