Monday, May 2, 2011
Mission Accomplished; New Mission Starting
The death of Osama bin Laden is a moment for genuine national pride, a rough but necessary form of justice meted out to an evil, evil man, who was responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people. President Obama and all those involved in the operation deserve the gratitude of the nation. But the real question is, where do we go from here? Since 9/11 the hunt for Osama bin Laden has been seen by most Americans in an intensely personal way. Now that we have accomplished this, there is no better time to examine the two wars we have waging, with the ostensive purpose of destroying al-Queda, in Iraq and Afghanistan, though both wars long ago sprawled away from any such simple objective. It is time to, accurately this time, declare mission accomplished, and end American involvement in the wars. And while we’re at it, we can reexamine the security and surveillance state that has burgeoned since 9/11. There’s no restoring the World Trade Center, or the thousands of lives that were lost in its destruction, or going back to a pre-9/11 world, but perhaps now we can move forward, beyond the world 9/11 created. For the first time since September 11, 2001, a president of the United States has the moral and political standing to really explore how this country has changed, since 9/11, often in ways not for the better. I was reading the other day how by 1944, literally hundreds and books and studies had been produced on the questions raised by the "post-war world." It is time Americans started thinking a little about what the world would be like when the war on terror, or whatever the Obama administration calls it, is over. It is time to start contemplating a new post war world. I hope that President Obama makes the most of this unique opportunity to reorient America, and make it, and the world it so crucially shapes, better places to live, with brighter futures.