The mission is now accomplished.
President Barack Obama did what he said: He got the man who brought down the Twin Towers on 9/11 – a date that never again needs a year or an explanation after it.
In the days since the late Sunday announcement, I have watched with mixed emotions the swirl of reaction to the death of a madman.
I participated in the early Twitter chaos:
Trump: “I got the birth certificate.” Obama: “I got Osama bin Laden.”
I watched television journalists chomping at the bit to break the news, not knowing that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had already scooped them all.
And I watched for spontaneous jubilation in the streets of New York.
Except it didn’t look like New York. It looked like coverage from all those other cities on the other side of the world where the oppressed cheer death in a sustained release borne of years of hurt.
I don’t remember seeing that before. It seemed wrong to celebrate a death, even that of a monster.
Then I remembered the images and the horror and the numbness and the anger that I felt that day. And I thought of the thousands of victims and the police officers and the firefighters and the continuing suffering, all from the malignant hatred that led to a plan to wipe our landscape.
President Obama closed a heavy, heart-breaking chapter in the book on terror.
It wasn’t an hour before goofballs and so-called pundits began to question whether the operation, the death, was real, demand proof, question whether the president deserved the credit and whether we are now in more danger.
It wasn’t a day before the demands increased for the White House to release pictures of a dead body. I hope that never happens. I hope we don’t put our children through that. The White House should deny a blood lust so great that it makes us look like. . .
. . . Them.
Please, Mr. President: Don’t release photos and videos full of blood and gore. It’s time to stop having to prove anything to people for whom satisfaction is not the goal. I hate that you released your birth certificate. You don’t need to release a death certificate.
We need to focus, as one nation, on the future.
America is as safe as we decide we want to be. We won’t be if we invite terror. We won’t be if we aren’t But mostly, we won’t be if we continue to make petty politics more important than our national security.
The election cycle hasn’t quite begun, but already the silliness has begun, as if America didn’t have the most wonderful, united moment Sunday night that it had had in a decade.
And I couldn’t help but marvel at and reflect on the fact that while Donald Trump, the circus-haired businessman, was taunting the president – asking for papers to prove that he is legal, much like slave hunters who stopped black men on lonely roads and much like poll workers did to black Americans during the civil rights movement – Obama was quietly, with grace and authority, giving America something it had needed for a decade: justice and closure.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is wrong: The death of Osama bin Laden does bring closure, at least to this chapter in the book on terror.
And we should respect and reflect on that feeling – and spare our children more gory images of death – before it’s back to political business as usual.