The biggest mass murderer in American history is dead and in one respect, mission has now been truly accomplished. President Obama, by making the excruciatingly risky and dangerous call, and in not simply dropping more bombs, deserves incredible praise for cleaning up Dubya's mess. He finished the job that the previous "Commander In Chief" abandoned and walked away from. The one where, at a White House press conference and just 6 months after the deadliest attacks on American soil, Dubya stated: "I don't know where he is, nor do I, I-I just don't spend too much time on him, to be honest with you." After being further pushed for the mass murderer's whereabouts by what's usually a meek crop of reporters, Junior added, "Ya know, again, I don't know where is. I uh, I uh, I-I-I repeat what I said, I truly am not that concerned about him."
Like Bush the Minor, but the opposite, Obama came into office and never took his eyes off the prize. That prize was finally attained thanks to the uber secretive, navy dream team known as SEAL Team Six. More than anyone, these brave men deserve a type of praise which can only be reserved for the biggest of super heroes. The type of super heroes most only see in the most unbelievable of action flicks.
Regrets? Perhaps only in the anticlimactic ending. A shot through the eye seems too easy for the subhuman who caused so much pain, death and destruction. It's a shame that there'll never be a cage for him in the Bronx Zoo. One that the general public can gather in front of before witnessing a slow execution filled with all sorts of cruel and unusual punishment. Then again, as deranged as he was, he probably would have liked the extra attention. Maybe a shot to the eye; chopper ride back to Afghanistan; trip aboard an awaiting navy ship; cruise into an undisclosed spot on the Persian Gulf; and finally being dropped off, like cheap shark chum, without any publicity whatsoever, is exactly what the subhuman deserved.
Either way, nothing can be done to undo the damage of the past 10 years. It's been said that his death, as overdue as it's been, has at least brought closure. But what does that even mean? It certainly can't mean gathering in front of the White House or Ground Zero to celebrate. The animal's death brings great joy but let's get serious.
It doesn't bring closure. It doesn't bring back the nearly 3,000 who died on 9/11. It doesn't bring back the nearly 5,000 American soldiers who died while being sent to the wrong war in Iraq. It doesn't bring back the nearly 2,000 American soldiers killed fighting the right war in Afghanistan. It doesn't bring back the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed in both countries. It doesn't bring back the country we Shocked and Awed to pieces during our illegal occupation. It doesn't even make the region any safer as ultimately we've only made what's left of Iraq an ally of Iran.
On a more local and more personal level, it doesn't bring closure for New Yorkers who were there. It doesn't end the memories of 9/11 and the days which followed. Maybe the college kids partying it up in campuses all over the country are too young to remember all the details, but those even slightly older can't help but remember them all.
Not just the firefighters and cops who ran up the towers while everyone was trying to run down, not just the victims who, stuck in a steel melting inferno, jumped to their deaths while the towers were still standing, not just the ultimate collapse of the south tower, and less than an hour later, the north one, but less infamous moments not talked about as much. The ones not caught on all the news cameras. The thousands upon thousands walking home, from Manhattan to the outer boroughs, in silence. Later, the long somber lines in front of hospitals to give blood and platelets to the survivors. The similar lines to give food and water to the first and second responders. Those who helped set up camp sites for responders, then went home not knowing that those responders would stay behind for weeks on end. The cold and steady drizzle which came on 9/12 and 9/13, making work for those responders that much tougher. The delis and restaurants, many which later went out of business, who gave away free food and drinks to the responders. There were some silver linings inside the lingering dark clouds that the destruction caused. The image of drag queens standing on the West Side Highway to cheer on the cops (the NYPD and local gay community weren't on best of terms during the Giuliani regime) speeding to Ground Zero, is still worthy of a half smile. The general feelings of strangers helping, if not simply acknowledging fellow strangers with welcoming nods, can't be forgotten either no matter how mundane that seems now. The "I <3 NY More Than Ever" front cover of the Daily News. The posters made from that cover which hung over windows throughout the city.
Then there was also false hope. Rumors of survivors being found under the rubble. Speculation of people being able to survive inside the deep layers of WTC basement space. Rumors of miracles, of people "riding down" the tower collapse and living to tell about it. All of those rumors turned out to be untrue. Later, as Manhattan was paper bombed with small posters of the missing, it became apparent that all hope was gone. Not that that was enough reason for anyone to ever take those posters down. The photos of smiling faces that would never be seen again remained. As did their contact info to phone numbers which would never be called. Somehow those posters managed to survive the elements. Months, on some spots even years later, after all the constantly changing seasons, the small posters remained. The faces still smiling. Sadly, the smell of death also remained. As did the smell of poisonous toxins which years later sickened and even killed an untold number of first and second responders.
After years of Dubya's bumbling, SEAL Team Six bravely brought a necessary level revenge. Without any help from our "friends" in Pakistan they went in, accomplished the mission, then came out, safely. May 1st, 2011 (66 years to the day of the announcement of Hitler's death) will always be a great day for New Yorkers. But it's not a day for closure. Claiming that is as silly as the claims that the best way to help keep America strong is by shopping. Or the claims that the capture of Sadam Hussein would end the war in Iraq. Or the claims that that ruthless murderer had anything to do with 9/11. Closure doesn't simply happen because some bring it up as a talking point. We're more complex than that and those memories are stuck with us. Just like the memories of Shock and Awe and the 8 years of war to follow are stuck with millions more in Baghdad and other sections of Iraq. Whether it be in New York, Baghdad or some other center of mass violence, there is no closure. For the fortunate at least, there is a better understanding of the crazy times we're in.*
UPDATE - August 5th, 2011: With deepest sympathies we report on the tragic deaths of 38 NATO soldiers killed when their helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan. 30 of the dead were American, 22 were Navy SEALS, 20 of those were members of the elite Team Six. All were heroes, all were sons (many were fathers too) and all have family members who will forever grieve. Their deaths illustrate just how dangerous every single in moment Afghanistan can be. Hopefully the rest can come back home soon.