American Elephants

Turning the Last Page on an Ugly Story. by The Elephant's Child

As usual, all the initial stories were not quite right. No cave.  Bin Laden was living in a large compound in Abbottabad, a town in northeastern Pakistan close to Islamabad.  The walled compound gave evidence of having been built especially for bin Laden, with barbed-wire topped walls and two security gates.  Secretary of State Clinton said they had help from Pakistan’s ISI , their security service.  Others said that many Pakistani army personnel and ISI personnel lived in the town, so his presence must have been an open secret.

It was a pre-dawn raid by a dozen members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six.  Helicopters dropped the SEALs behind the walls. The CIA and the White House monitored the situation in real time.  Bin Laden returned fire, using a woman as a human shield, but was shot in the head.

The news services have tried to gauge reactions from the Islamic world, which range all over the map. The Palestinian Authority welcomed the killing as “good for the cause of peace,” while Hamas said “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior.” That more or less encapsulates the reactions, but only time will tell how it plays out.  The Arab world is engaged in popular revolt against oppressive rulers.  We don’t know how that will play out either.

There were big celebrations last night, and it was good to see the smiles on the faces of the New York Fire Department members. They lost so many of their friends and fellow firemen on 9/11, that it must bring some sense of closure.  That’s a term that has been flung around for years, and I never quite understood it, but it fits this event.  A sense of closure.  At least for me, there was no desire to celebrate, just the feeling of ending a story or turning the last page.

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