My wife and I were surfing the channels one last time last night before going to bed when we caught the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan. I was immediately gripped by the same surreal feeling I had on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, as I watched the second commercial jet slam into the World Trade Center.
I have to admit that I am very conflicted. I am pleased that a man who seemed to take pleasure in bringing about the destruction of other people’s lives has been stopped, and yet I wonder if his death will serve to intensify the very acts of terror we are fighting so hard to eliminate. I am hopeful that Bin Laden’s death will bring some closure and a sense of justice to those who lost loved ones in the attacks he planned, and yet I am uneasy at the extent to which many are seeing this event as an act of vengeance. I am grateful to the men and women of our military for tirelessly seeking to combat terror in our world, and yet I question whether or not our presence in the Middle East for another hundred years would stop radical Islamists from re-establishing a reign of fear and violence within 10 minutes of our withdrawal. I hope and pray that this development will significantly damage the morale, and impair the ability of terror networks to plan and execute their acts of twisted hate.
I do believe Bin Laden was a danger to humanity as long as he continued to draw breath. He demonstrated an aggressive disregard for life that had to be stopped. I’m just not sure if it’s appropriate to throw a party over it.
I’m processing this whole thing through a solemn sense of reflection. I remember 9/11, I remember the faces of brave men and women charging into a crumbling building in an attempt to save a life. I remember the bravery of my friend who lost his leg because of a roadside bomb. I remember our church being filled to capacity as we cried out to God alongside every denomination in town for the victims and their families. I remember a hurting nation realizing how much God’s grace has been shed on us. I recall the unity and generosity of thousands of Americans donating blood, money, time, and effort as we put aside personal aspirations and political agendas to stand as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I remember seeing the best of humanity rise from the worst of evil intentions. Now that’s something to celebrate…