Follow Up on Bin Laden

After much discussion and some recent news on the death of Osama bin Laden, there are two points I want to make.

First, my post yesterday reported that Pakistan supplied the intelligence that led to the discovery of bin Laden in the town of Abbottobad. This is not in fact true. Pakistan not only did not supply the intelligence but also was not aware of the United States’ operation that led to his death.

The media is, of course, all over the Pakistani government and military for not being aware that bin Laden was hiding in one of its towns. Abbottobad is a tourist town with a heavy military presence and bin Laden was, interestingly enough, living a stone’s throw away from the Pakistani Military Academy. As Jon Stewart put it, if the Academy was Domino’s, they would have delivered pizza to Osama on foot. I will leave the rest of the crtiticism of Pakistan to other commentators.

Second, I feel compelled to clarify my points from my post on Monday. I understand that many Americans felt compelled to celebrate the death of a man who was the mastermind behind an attack that killed thousands of Americans. It’s hard to argue with that. I understand the sentiment and, to be honest, felt a sense of excitement (for lack of a better word) when I first heard the news. I went to the White House out of curiosity and what I saw was the reason for my cynicism.

I understand and agree that bin Laden’s death is a monumentous occassion for our military, government, and country. After September 11th, I often checked the news in hopes that they finally “got him.” Eventually, somewhere along the way, I gave up.

But the intense display of patriotism on Monday night appeared ignorant and misplaced. We are still fighting two wars. Al-Qaeda is far from becoming obsolete. People are continuing to die in all corners of the world from terrorism and the death of one man brought thousands to the streets to chant “U.S.A?” Something about it seemed to portray an incomplete picture of reality.

I love my country. But I love peace, ending extremism, and reuniting military families even more. For all of the above, there will be cause to celebrate. And I will be first in line.

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