A great day. I was in West Virginia on Sunday night when we heard the news. Had I been in DC I would have joined the celebration outside the White House--not as a journalist, you understand, but as somebody who felt like cheering.
In the flood of articles about the raid, this piece by Marc Ambinder--The Secret Team That Killed Bin Laden--is something of a coup. It has far more on the unit that undertook the mission than anything else I've seen so far.
But what, in the end, does the killing of Bin Laden change? Less, I suspect, than some analysts are arguing.
"The war on terror is over; Al Qaeda lost," says Peter Beinart.
[W]e have more to be grateful for than this one villain's demise. We must give thanks for something broader: The war on terror is over. I don't mean that there is no threat of further jihadist attack. In the short term, the threat may even rise. I don't mean that we should abandon all efforts at tracking terrorist cells. Of course not. But the war on terror was a way of seeing the world, explicitly modeled on World War II and the Cold War. It suggested that the struggle against "radical Islam" or "Islamofascism" or "Islamic terrorism" should be the overarching goal of American foreign policy, the prism through which we see the world.
I don't think so. First, that "way of seeing the world" was never "explicitly modeled on World War II or the Cold War". Rhetorically, to be sure, comparisons were drawn. Mindful of the risk of nuclear terrorism, many people did emphasise the gravity of the threat--I think they were right to, and still are--but those untroubled by the phrase "war on terror" never believed that this conflict could be conducted in the same way as World War II or the Cold War. How could they have believed that? The idea is absurd.