“I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” — Mark Twain **
A few personal notes after a remarkable day …
It seems obscene to celebrate the death of another human being. In this case, though, I think it's appropriate.
More than any other person, Osama bin Laden defined the last 10 years of our lives. He carried out the worst terrorist attacks in our country's history. He murdered thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001 and, through a pair of subsequent wars, was indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands of American servicemen and women and countless civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's been a decade of fear, heartbreak and anger in America, and now, the man responsible for it all is dead.
So yes, I think a little celebration is in order.
As we mark the day, though, let's stir in a healthy dose of reflection and remembrance — for the thousands of innocents who died needlessly, for those who serve to protect and defend our nation and its allies, and for a lost way of life. My daughter is part of a new generation of Americans who've never known a world before 9/11, who've never seen the World Trade Center or boarded a plane without being frisked like a criminal, who'll spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders.
Osama bin Laden is responsible for that, too, and I hate him for it.
Check that: I hated him for it. Now he's gone.
So absolutely, let's celebrate the end of Osama bin Laden.
At the same time, let's remember what we've lost … and make ourselves stronger as a result. If we do that, everything bin Laden worked for will have failed.
And we will have won.
** UPDATE: I just learned that the quote at the top of this post is incorrect and incorrectly attributed. The correct quote, from Clarence Darrow, reads as follows: “I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”