We are approaching the one year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden and I spent some time today reflecting on that day.
At the time, I was living in Vienna, Austria. I woke up to the news as the raid and subsequent release of information had all occurred while I was asleep. My initial reaction was complete jubilation. I remember wanting to be in America and around fellow Americans. I woke up my friend Amy around 6:30 AM and convinced her that we had to get over to the American embassy in Vienna to celebrate. There had to be other Americans in the city with the same idea.
By 7:15 we made it. Amy was able to get off one picture before an armed Austrian security guard within the gates came over and asked us to put the camera away.
Naturally, nobody else was at the embassy (which, I might add, was in a beautiful low-key part of the city that I wish I had spent more time around). We hopped back on the street car and headed towards class which was starting at 9 or so.
During that ride, I experienced an odd rush of emotions. Though my gut reaction was “America, F*** YEAH,” I couldn’t help but be sad. I was saddened by the memories of the terrible events of September 11. I was saddened by the thought of the friends who lost parents and other relatives on that day. I was saddened that this man’s death brought really no reprieve besides the carnal rush I had first experienced. The death of Osama bin Laden was something that had to happen and honestly I’m glad he is no longer alive. But by the time it happened, so much had changed. Sadly, one terrorists death would not mean the end of terrorism.
Then today I was confronted with this new advertisement put out by the Obama-Biden election team that just boiled my blood. The politicization of the bin Laden is really ridiculous. To suggest that if the military and the CIA had actionable information on the location of bin Laden, Mitt Romney would not have given the go-ahead is absolutely ridiculous. Obama is taking a lot of credit where credit is not due. That credit should lie with the military and the CIA. Was the death of bin Laden really a top foreign policy priority for the Obama administration worthy of billions of dollars of spending? How about a competent foreign policy with regards to Libya? Or Syria? Or Iran?
So thank you, Mr. President, for having pulled the trigger on a mission that fell into your lap. But don’t try to rehash a year-old blood rush to the brain of America and try to claim that your opponent would have denied Americans that moment. It’s in poor taste. And thinking back makes me sad.