As I listened to President Obama’s press conference, I felt not just relief that the prime public enemy was dispatched, but also relief from the fear that I carried of my neighbors and fellow citizens since 9/11.
As an “exotic” American, I also feel validation at this event. I believe this event partly confirms the “American Dream” that people of color can lead and serve the United States wholeheartedly. Nobody in 2001 could imagine that a man whose name bears similarity with that of two enemies of the United States can lead the country and dispatch its justice against said enemies.
A few other thoughts come to mind, one is that the vigalante Gary Faulkner‘s guess as to bin Laden’s wherabouts was off by 270 miles. The second is that Superman renounced his US citizenship earlier this week; I’m sure Supes really regrets that right about now.
The third is Bill Maher’s “cruise missile” comment in 2002. Now, Maher is wrong about a lot of things, but he was right that killing people remotely is cowardly and , as the drone campaign in Pakistan has shown, bloody and counterintuitive. The fact that the operation that killed bin Laden occurred “on foot” may be a reproach of the “remote” operations doctrine.
The larger point from these three is that fantastical and egotistical heroics is no match for intelligence, courage and direct application of force. This lesson should applied elsewhere along U.S. policy.
The night of May 1, 2011 is one moment in my life, another being the night of November 4, 2008, that I am proud to be an American.