Megan Mcardle writing in The Atlantic says that if revenge is a dish best served cold, she finds the death of Osama bin Laden pretty unsatisfying.
It’s not that she regrets his death on moral or even tactical grounds, it’s just that, as she sees it, those that bin Laden killed are still dead and will be dead forever.
And what also died on 9/11 was an American way of life that seemed more trusting, less paranoid. Or at least more innocent.
I too wonder at what it means to have killed Osama bin Laden now, ten years after the havoc and pain he wrought, the anguish he caused to families, and the the family of the United States.
There was a time when the desire for revenge, to see him hunted down and killed along with his pack of misguided followers was hot and real.
Now I puzzle at the celebrations, the “USA Number 1” mentality sweeping the streets and cities of the country.
Perhaps it’s the “USA Number 1” mentality that gets us into trouble around the world in the first place.
I understand bin Laden’s death is huge symbolically, and like a Greek tragedy, a desperately needed emotional catharsis for Americans and many non Americans.
But the reality of his death fills me with a sadness for all that he caused, and all the lives lost in the ten year hunt.
During the relentless search missions, people died. Bombs destroyed homes. Families here and in Afghanistan grieved, and the world lost.
In America a huge security infrastructure was built and inserted into our lives, perhaps forever.
And the voices of those who died on 9/11 are still lost to us.
if bin Laden’s death could truly free us and give us back the kind of trust we had, or result in an inspired, even-handed foreign policy, then I could see his death as a hope that something horribly wrong had ended.
If I thought we could travel to Afghanistan or Pakistan openly..or travel any place in the world these days without anxiety or joy-killing caution, I would be be happy that the root of this fear and anxiety had been destroyed.
But for now I wonder if the trauma, the damage done is so deep that the celebration of the death of he man that caused it will be a painfully hollow one.
Unless his death can make us whole again, the way we were, or the way we though we were, many of us still wait, and continue the search.