Get a grip.
That is my message to people who say that they are relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead but feel it is inappropriate to rejoice. Quite rightly, they don’t want to be like those hooligans in the Middle East who celebrated September 11. But the cause of the celebrations is the point, folks.
We are celebrating nothing short of the triumph of civilization over evil and mayhem. Holman Jenkins makes this point in today’s Wall Street Journal:
It took steady application and a few tactical insights to pull off the 9/11 attacks. You could get box cutters through security at U.S. airports. Personnel were trained not to worry about box cutters. You could commandeer a passenger plane because airline doctrine was to cooperate with hijackers. You only had to disable two cockpit crew members. You didn’t have to fight off a hundred passengers.
In contrast, it took the kind of resources that only the world’s richest society could muster to locate one hidden individual and kill him. From a network of operatives and bases around the world, to electronic eavesdropping and spy satellites, to the ability to train and dispatch forces to a suburb of the Pakistani capital, to the facilities to match DNA, to the aircraft carrier over whose side the body was ceremoniously dumped, Operation Get Osama was the feat of an enduring civilization. Though terrorists may have murdered 3,000 Americans in the heart of our biggest city, 9/11 was the act of a passing band of vandals.
We must be proud of the Navy SEALS and grateful in this particular case for decisions made by two presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Jenkins points out that President Obama “has a true man of the left’s appreciation of the necessities of power. He may want to remake America’s social contract in a soft and motherly way, but he has shown no untoward inhibition about hunting down and killing America’s enemies abroad when and where the opportunity presents itself.” As John Yoo, the Berkley law professor who worked in the Bush administration, notes in today’s Wall Street Journal, in hunting down bin Laden, Obama was dependent upon the difficult and unpopular decisions made by his predecessor.