Various news organizations are reporting that Osama Bin Laden is dead. President Obama is expected to announce the news. Bin Laden was reportedly killed in Pakistan by an operation involving Navy Seals but the story is still unfolding. YahooReports indicate that he was shot in the head after he and his bodyboards resisted an attack by the elite unit.
The fact that he reportedly went down fighting will likely add to his image as a martyr — though people who follow him need little encouragement or reason.
Bin Laden was a murderous fanatic who used religion to spread hate. His passing from this Earth would be welcomed news and, even for the most agnostic or atheist among us, there is a lingering wish that there is place for the damned to greet men like Bin Laden after the untold harm that he caused not just to his country but to many countries. Hundreds of thousands of dead can be credited to his dark legacy and beliefs.
While liberals and conservatives differed on the means used to fight Bin Laden, there was never any division on the commitment to fight terrorism or the shared loss from his crimes. On September 11th, the plane that hit the Pentagon struck just after I passed the building on my way to work. I made it about a mile away after blowing my tire on the curb and changing the tire as huge columns of smoke filled the air.
In the end, Bin Laden remained the authentic symbol of radical Islam — an extremist filled with hate living with fellow troglodytes in caves and crevices.
Bin Laden’s death will force some accounting of what has been gained and what has been lost since his infamous wave of terror began. Too much of the damage of 9-11 proved to be self-inflicted, including our use of torture and the launching of two wars that have cost thousands of more American lives and hundreds of billions as the nation sinks into debt and economic distress.
There is no indication that our continued loss of money or personnel in Afghanistan will decrease in any way as a result of the news. While the Afghanistan war seemed personality driven with Bin Laden as the face of evil, it has taken on a type perpetual war due to a lack of political courage to end it.
The world is far better without the likes of Osama Bin Laden. However, he left an ample legacy (and legions) to guarantee that religious hate will continue to shape the future of that region and the world at large.