As much as I am now embarrassed to admit it, if you had asked me 48 hours ago whether Osama Bin Laden would ever be brought to justice I would have probably answered "no." Like many Americans I had all but abandoned hope that we would ever capture or kill the 9/11 mastermind, and had resigned myself to the idea he would die an old man thumbing his nose at us from some comfortable cave in Waziristan. Well, I can happily report that I completely underestimated the skill, courage, and perseverence of America's military. And, almost as happily, I can report that I also completely underestimated the capacity of America's erstwhile "peace community" for turning on a dime and embracing the kind of all-American xenophobic flag-waving bloodlust they only recently decried. So today I stand proudly with my new friends of the formerly antiwar left in a mindlessly jingoistic salute to President Obama for an extralegal military assassination well done.
Yes, it's true that some pre-January 2009 antiwar activists have remained morally and logically consistent in their opposition to America's military presence in the Mideast; but, thank God, it appears now they were only a tiny, insignificant minority. Recent events have happily made clear that the antiwar movement of 2001-8 was overwhelmingly dominated by a vast silent hypocritical majority of craven political opportunists awaiting a Democratic administration to gleefully celebrate the covert execution of a man whom, until 28 months ago, they would have described as a "tragic civilian casualty."
Who is to credit for this rebirth in American national unity? First and foremost, we must cite the leadership of President Obama. Like many Americans - and the Nobel Peace Prize committee - I naively feared he was actually serious when he initially proposed shutting down Guantanamo, trying detainees in American civilian courts, and prior consultation with the international community. Little did I know that this untested young Commander-in-Chief would muster the courage to read his weekly Gallup numbers and, in one daring unilateral extra-judicial targeted hit job, toss aside every single idiotic foreign policy principle of his election campaign. Perhaps most satisfyingly, it was a mission made possible thanks to information extracted by methods he previously banned as "illegal torture."
But this triumphant new era in situationally-unified American bloodlust does not belong to the President alone; we must also cite Congress's born-again waterboarders like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and their newfound enthusiasm for what (at least until 9pm Sunday) they would have once considered illegal military murder squads. Neither can we forget the watchdogs of America's press, who have shown unprecedented ethical flexibility in shedding their long-held Gandhi moralism and embracing their inner Rambo.
Thanks to leaders like these, American pride is temporarily back out of the closet. And I for one take great personal satisfaction in knowing that when I'm high-fiving a random fellow American and robotically chanting "USA! USA!" at the news that Bin Laden is finally shark chum, there's a pretty good chance that the guy was, only a few years ago, denying his love for unauthorized secret CIA-planned assassinations. Welcome to the pride parade everybody!
Of course, I'm not naive enough to think our current wave of national unity will last forever. At some point, possibly after the next election, American troops will once again assume their traditional role of psychotic baby-killing objects of fear and pity. And, doubtlessly, those of us who still admire them must once again assume our traditional role as America's flag-humping racist chickenhawks. But when that day comes, we can look back at the week of May 1, 2011 and realize that it isn't personal. Hey, that's just the way the chad crumbles.