The title of this post comes from something my son said, after a few hours on Facebook with everyone in that forum dancing on Osama's grave. He said he just couldn't work up the excitement felt, by, say folks on the local news last night chanting "USA, USA."
I know how he feels. Certainly Osama is a mass murderer and deserves to die. And I suppose it is important from a foreign policy standpoint that if we say we are going to do something, we do it, even if it takes ten years or so. And Kudos to the military team that got him.
But I heard commentators say that this was another Kennedy moment when we would always remember where we would be when Osama was killed -- that seems a gross exaggeration. I don't think I was in need of or received a nationalist ego boost last night. The reaction almost reminded me of the US Olympic hockey victory in 1980, when people frustrated with internal and external problems found release in the victory on the ice over the Russians. But cheering about killing a guy, even a bad buy, in the same way as one might for a sports team victory just leaves me a bit queasy.
Besides, isn't Bin Laden largely irrelevant now? If he is the spider at the center of the global web of terrorism, I have certainly missed the evidence. Frankly, this whole thing feels like grabbing the Kaiser out of the Netherlands in 1938 and hanging him. Not only a bit late, but a diversion of attention from the source of current problems.
Update: How Bin Laden Changed America. Example: without Bin Laden, we probably would not have a progressive Democratic President who claims the right to assassinate American citizens.
Update #2: It has been made increasingly evident to me that I am out of step with America on this. Fine, not the first time. Let me just say, then, that the precedent of sending US troops into a sovereign nation without that nation's permission or knowledge and kidnapping/assassinating a foreign national based on the President's say-so based on intelligence gathered in part from torture of people detained indefinitely without due process in secret CIA prisons is, well, a precedent we may some day rue. From time to time Presidents may need to make such calls, but I am not going to be celebrating in the street. If a Pakistani team did the same, even to, say, raid a California prison and kill Charles Manson, I still think we might be pissed off about it.
Update #3: After a few days introspection, I don't know why I am brooding so much about this. I must admit it was a good move to go in and knock him off, and while I hate precedents for expansion of executive power, this particular move was entirely justified. I am not sure why the initial response to this rubbed me the wrong way -- perhaps because the celebration seemed to be excessive vs. the strategic value. I suppose I am not big on symbolic victories. Had I been alive in 1942 I probably would have reacted negatively to the Doolittle raid.