Bin Laden's death serves the vague ideas we have about justice and provides a narrative bookend to 9/11 that is satisfying. Many Americans have been afforded no other way of understanding what we have been doing "over there".
So why am I skeptical of the whole thing?
I've been thinking about it all morning. Am I a cynic or a liberal who doesn't understand the sacrifices of others? I certain don't think of myself as that. Maybe I have issues with the collective confidence everyone seems to be feeling.
Undoubtedly Bin Laden was a murderer; however; when Bush declared the attacks on September 11th an act of war Bin Laden became a warrior. This was exactly what his organization wanted. They were no longer political criminals; they were elevated to religious warriors.
This is perfectly exemplified by the way US Armed Forces took the body after he was killed in order to prevent a memorial or shrine. Our hope now will be that he does not become a martyr. Or since his body is missing maybe there will be talk of his second coming - Americans are not the only ones with narratives.
As for al Qaeda, there is most likely another figurehead plotting in the wings, certainly there are other radical Muslims who do not fear death.
But perhaps this fear is America's largest asset. After all, it is what drives us to pour money into the defense and intelligence industries. Personally I pray for diplomacy but count on the military industrial complex. I'm not proud of this as it is of course a symbol of my lack of faith.
Returning to the nation's collective sigh, I personally have not felt these emotions but it's hard to deny the outpouring in the US today. Especially as seen on Facebook and Twitter. Sadly the response is not all that different than last week when that one guy got kicked off of American Idol; tomorrow is a new day and there will be new FB statuses. We can only hope they're not 10 years in the making.
I have to conclude with an apology to the late Lewis Grizzard. My father was a fan so his cleverly titled books were scattered around the house while I was growing up.