Nine years, seven months and 20 days after 9/11, Osama bin Laden is dead.
It's a time of mixed feelings, of triumph and relief. We owe congratulations and thank yous to the U.S. military and intelligence community. However low the country's morale may have sunk in the first few years after 9/11, it was far from broken.
Certainly, the terrorist attacks on our home turf changed our worldview forever but, in the ten years since, we've learned we didn't need to fear bin Laden as we once did. The anticipated wave of terrorist attacks in the U.S. immediately following 9/11 never materialized andndash; most likely because of the diligent work of our military and intelligence agencies.
However, this is not the time to rest. Bin Laden's brazen actions galvanized al-Qaida then and continues to inspire other groups, thugs, fools and psuedointellectuals who rally around his warped political/religious fantasy.
Al-Qaida will be eager to show it was more than bin Laden. It and other terrorist groups will continue to thirst for distinction. They need fire to feed and blood to swim. They will continue their flimsy attempts to mystify and imbue with honor the slaughter of innocents.
And how they celebrate that slaughter. Few things are more obscene.
Bin Laden's death cannot be an excuse to rest. It is the death of one man and his leadership. The United States can't just await the next attack.
There will always be danger from individuals and groups willing to die to kill others. Let's not make it easy for them.
andndash; Wescom News Service (Bend Bulletin/Curry Coastal Pilot)