Eight days ago, a team of Special Forces folks – Navy SeALs and Delta Force with help from the Night Stalkers – executed a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Usama bin Ladin died, they collected an enormous amount of data. Thumb drives, documents, video, photographs and many other things. The raid was made possible by nearly 20 years of tradecraft, and the leadership of President Obama – who signed the order.
Rather than belabor the issue, let me be plain about it. He’s dead. It’s a good thing. He will never spill another drop of innocent blood. Not another American soldier will be out in the field, separated from love and family, risking his life.
In other words…it’s over. Since the early 1990s, I felt like we were at the End of the Beginning. With terrorism and radical Islam as a force of evil. Since I first became aware of UBL, a generation has lived under this shadow. Men in my generation took out the ghost who dominated security concerns for most, or all, of their professional career. Now he is dead. Threat extinguished.
To be sure, terrorism still lingers. There are dangerous and violent forces across the globe. UBL’s good buddy Omar al Bashir still rules Sudan unchecked. But, it feels like maybe – just maybe – we are at the Beginning of the End. I hope the “Arab Spring” leads to a Reformation but it’s up to them.
My prayers, my meditation are for the women there. And it’s always the same…may they embrace enough modernity to see they do not have to give birth to and raise another generation of boys to fight. The power lies within each of them, in each home, to chart a new path. They choose the quality of life. Perhaps with the death of bin Ladin, they will understand how much he cost them. Their sons. Their daughters. UBL drove the fear, the divisions between them and the rest of the world. Ultimately, it cost him his life but thousands died while the long path to justice was paved.