2011 05 01 - 2278 - Washington DC - Osama Cele...

Crowds celebrate in Washington D.C. Image by thisisbossi via Flickr

I spent Sunday relaxing outside in the warm sun enjoying out-of-town visitors and somehow never going near the computer to feed my e-mail/blog reading addictions.

That’s how manged to receive the biggest news story of the  year via text message.

He’s really dead. They’ve got the body, came in on Tim’s phone from our friend Barry.


For one long, awful moment I thought some nut case had actually done it. Shot the president.

I ran for the laptop and pulled up CNN.

“Oh, it’s Osama Bin Laden,” I told Tim and our friends with relief.

Then came the text from my daughter, Rosie, in Boston.

Osama is dead. War is over?

She depends on me to know what’s going on politically – just because I can talk up a storm, not because I’m any sort of expert. What could I do but reply, Ummm, probably not.

How is it possible that millions, probably billions, of people are celebrating the shooting of one man as if his demise somehow erases all the tragedy of the last ten years? Can they really believe that the horrific September 11 attacks were engineered solely by this one guy?

Don’t get me wrong, my heart is with those who loved ones perished on that terrible day, and if Bin Laden’s death gives them a sense of closure or some sort of relief I am glad they are able to find comfort.

But thousands of people dancing in the streets? Chants of “USA! USA!” filling the air from sea to shining sea? Gleeful crowing that the War on Terror is finally over? Just because U.S. operatives were finally successful in hunting down and shooting this one guy? A man who learned his evil methods (i.e. using planes to blow up buildings)  from U.S. CIA agents during the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the late ’70s?

Granted he was the face of Al Qaeda, and a leader. He symbolized all that terrorism stands for, in particular the idea of Jihad. So, I guess for many, bringing down the person who symbolized all this bad stuff equates with actually ending what he symbolized.

But don’t they ever wonder about the hundreds of budding Osamas being created daily in the 6-year-old boys who cower in terror as they watch their homes and families being blown up in drone attacks?

Bin Laden made it clear that he hates America, and he hates the West. But his death doesn’t erase that sentiment. As long as we continue making war and killing innocent civilians we continue to generate present and future terrorists.

I’m glad Obama finally managed to score some begrudging brownie points from his right-wing haters, but maybe now that he’s brought down the Ultimate Terrorist it’s time to really prove how great America is by doing the right thing – ending these unjust wars.

(Read far more informed analyses on this issue from Kai Wright, Medea Benjamin, Randall Almster via Common Dreams and at The Nation.)