In Celebrating OBL's Demise, the Kids Are All Right
Once old enough, many of them joined the military to fight the war on terror -- a war brought about by their elders' complacency -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Many if not most members of the 9/11 generation outside of elitist circles either know someone who has served during the past decade or know one of their relatives or close friends. The wars largely pinned al-Qaeda down in the Middle East and at least partially distracted it from planning attacks in the Western world. Those who claim that Iraq was somehow not part of the war on terror cannot explain away al-Qaeda's heavy presence in that war. Now they also cannot deny that the capture of a key AQ operative in Iraq began a chain of events which eventually led to finding and killing bin Laden.
As to the naysayers' argument that we shouldn't revel in anyone's death, Clarence Page ("Welcome to Paybackistan") has it right: This isn't about death, it's about justice. Our special forces killed Osama bin Laden because the actions he orchestrated on 9/11 and in many other attacks around the world cried out for retribution, i.e., "requital according to merits or deserts, especially for evil."
Evil. I read recently that an English professor of psychobabble doesn't like the word, and would prefer to replace it with "lack of empathy," something which "is susceptible to education and treatment." Surely many in the 9/11 generation, which correctly recognized bin Laden as the very face of evil, would respond thusly: ROTFLMAO.
9/11 was what will hopefully remain a unique generational scar. Osama bin Laden's richly deserved death doesn't excise the wound, but it holds significant promise for diminishing it. Gail Saltz, who worries about today's kids being traumatized by watching people celebrate a significant win for the good guys, should instead be cheering the increased likelihood that today's and future generations' children won't have to witness and live with what has haunted the 9/11 generation for nearly a decade. That would really be worth celebrating.