I’m curious to know how folks first learned of the death of Osama bin Laden. I saw it on Twitter at 10:31 pm in the midst of multiple tweets announcing the President’s speech. That sent me scurrying to the TV. In the following hour (the President didn’t go on until 11:40 pm), it was painful watching the network stars fill the air with inane chatter while adopting a “we know what’s going on but can’t tell you” air of superiority. So I guess I learn of breaking news from Twitter and other social media, I search for visuals on TV as the event is happening, and I go to the internet for analysis and follow-up. How about you?
Here are some other bin Laden observations:
This “how could they kill him when he was unarmed” story line that’s developing is absurd. This was a nighttime, heliborne raid deep inside another country against the deadliest terrorist in the world. To have survived this long, bin Laden had to have elaborate escape plans any part of which may have involved harming those coming to get him. For the commandos, it was a time of swift action not deliberate contemplation, made even more so when other occupants of the compound commenced firing. That so many of the women and children who were in the compound survived is testament to the restraint of the commandos.
Death photos: I’m glad the President chose not to release them. What good would come of it. The only ones who will dispute this decision are the overseas zealots who hate America and the domestic zealots who hate Obama.
Sunday night celebrations: The spontaneous gathering in front of the White House on Sunday night where a crowd embraced and sang patriotic songs was wonderful. So were the gatherings during the past few days at the Twin Towers. I think it’s good that our national reaction has been dignified and restrained. America won justice, not the World Cup.
Pakistan: When I lecture about the Civil War, I often say history is not black and white, it’s always gray. I feel the same about Pakistan. Many in that country have long been obsessed with India. They tend to see Arab terrorists as either distractions or potential allies in that struggle and so they aren’t going to be very supportive of our efforts to subdue our bad guys. But as frustrating as Pakistan might be, it is an unstable government in possession of nuclear weapons in one of the most volatile corners of the world. For that reason, we should keep our emotions in check and continue to do business with them.