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Osama

May 2, 2011

Abu Muqawama, 2 May 2011: Some of this blog’s readers have probably been checking to see if I had any reaction to last night’s news, and I apologize for not writing anything until now. I received the news about the death of Osama bin Laden via a text from my cousin Jon, on terminal leave from the Marine Corps but here in Washington, and ten minutes later we were together in the bar — in plenty of time to watch the president’s announcement. Before long, we were joined by several other veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, and folks at the bar were buying us all drinks. (My cousin Jordan, who lives in Fort Worth but for whom Jon and I might as well be brothers, even tracked us down and called the bartender, remotely ordering us two shots of Maker’s Mark.)

We went around, all of the veterans, each of us naming friends we had lost. I offered up Joel Cahill’s name, and then that of Joe Fenty. I thought of the wives and young daughters those two men left behind, and I thought of so many more men and women who I never got the chance to know but who have given their lives since 2001.

I had told myself for years that the death of Osama bin Laden would not mean anything. Decapitation campaigns against sophisticated, mature terrorist networks, I knew, rarely yield strategic effects. But standing in that Washington bar, I was overcome with emotion.

This is a tremendous moment for the United States, and everyone from the president on down deserves the highest praise.

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