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The End of Bin Laden – Irrational Exuberance?

Unlike liberals, conservatives admit when their political opponents do something right. Across the media spectrum, those on the political right overwhelmingly expressed approval of President Obama’s announcement of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces. After all, we all recall how President Clinton’s hand-wringing dithering allowed Bin Laden to slip through our fingers on multiple occasions.

And, yes, President Obama missed a chance to strike a classy note by keeping his speech to a two or three minute “thank you” to all involved, rather than spending far too much time in self-congratulatory rhetoric about his role in the event. But, that’s a minor issue. All things considered, kudos to the President for doing the right thing.

It is somewhat ironic that the intelligence that lead to the successful mission came from Guantanamo, the very detention center that the American Left, including the then-candidate Obama, demanded be closed. Thankfully, President Obama did not follow through on that particular campaign promise – upon assuming office, he likely had his eyes opened by military advisers who persuaded him of the strategic value of such a facility.

The end of Bin Laden is indeed great news, and it is right and just to applaud the President for authorizing the mission. We must also remember to congratulate the military intelligence officers who gathered the information and planned the operation. And our deepest gratitude goes out to the “boots on the ground” – the dedicated and courageous special operations military personnel who carried out the actual mission.

But we need to be careful that we do not delude ourselves into thinking that Bin Laden’s death somehow heralds the end of terrorism. The battle against Islamic extremism is not over merely because the “poster boy” for Al Qaeda has been eliminated. Any more than the conviction and imprisonment of Al Capone ended organized crime – it persists today, larger and more insidious than ever.

It is equally misguided to see terrorism as the result of any single organization.  President Obama and other Democrats have often claimed that “Al Queda is the enemy”- as if this one group is the exclusive purveyor of hatred and violence against the West. Nothing could be further from the truth – terrorism is a world-wide phenomenon, and will not be ended with the destruction of any particular individual or group. And to believe otherwise is to invite disaster.

So let us celebrate the end of one of the most vicious mass murderers in recent history, and give credit to those who brought it about, including the President. But let us also be wary of attaching too much significance to Bin Laden’s death. Because the ranks of Islamo-fascists are filled with up and coming jihadists, any one of whom would be only too eager to take Bin Laden’s place.

John Caile

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