When the images of the attack on the World Trade Center were shown, crowds in the Middle East were reported to be holding spontaneous joyous celebrations in the streets of various cities in their countries. Americans were outraged and considered such a reaction inappropriate.
Sunday, after Americans were told that Osama bin Laden had been killed by Navy Seals, Americans responded with jubilant crowds expressing approval at various diverse locations mostly the sites of sporting events.
Presidential candidate Obama promised that he would deliver change. Apparently he has delivered on that promise. America has embraced the methods and conduct they once considered barbaric and unacceptable.
The fact that Americans at sporting events participated in spontaneous displays of euphoria when they received the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed will only goad Al Qaeda into a much firmer resolve to deal out a brutal payback attack. Does a bull attack the matador's cape? The lower echelon of al Qaeda's cadre has just been dealt an insulting challenge which they won't ignore.
T. E. Lawrence informed his readers that the Muslim culture is also noted for its patience regarding a response so that if they don't send a suicide bomber into action on Wednesday, that doesn't mean that they won't ever strike back; it just means they will pick the time and place and proceed at their leisure.
The irony for Democrats is that by fully and unreservedly endorsing the violent assassination of Osama bin Laden, President Obama has committed members of his political party to Bush's Eternal War on Terrorism.
Initially, some Democrats (and a few rogue online columnists) objected to Bush's use of invasion, torture, and excessive collateral civilian damage. But now with the Obama move to commit his Party to the Bush agenda, he has made any efforts to promote antiwar sentiment to become a despicable example of disloyal cowardice.
Shifting the Democrats into the cycle of perpetual retaliatory events is an irreversible move of the "you can't put toothpaste back in the tube" type. The Peacenik point of view will become as relevant to the contemporary political arena as are the beliefs of the flat-earth society.
Al Qaeda is now compelled to retaliate and when they do, the average American (who was seen rejoicing in the news at Sunday night sporting events) will demand a bigger and more horrific response to the al Qaeda answer to Osama's assassination. At that point, history will take on the hall of mirrors look and there won't be any turning back.The fact that one of Col. Qaddafi's sons was killed in a recent NATO airstrike will mean that, as Qaddafi has previously (when his step daughter was killed), will unleash his own subsidized violent retaliation.
Any new terrorism activity that is unleashed inside the United States will have at least two potential sources in the Muslim world. If something happens, blood-thirsty Americans will demand a quick act of generic revenge rather than a comprehensive investigation to determine the specific group that did the deed.
America's security forces have been rather successful using entrapment gambits for ensnaring young gullible guys, but from here on, things are going to get progressively rougher and meaner.
Was the old movie comedy routine about two guys engaging in a slapping contest based on a real life macho contest? If It's likely that example of slowly increasing hostility could become a valid metaphor for a series of increasingly violent retaliation moves.
Any speculation about what could possibly have been done to avoid the now inevitable eternal cycle of increasingly bloody retaliatory moves is totally irrelevant.
Alternate fiction history can be interesting and entertaining but it is an exercise in futility. What would have happened if the SEAL team had shot Osama with a paintball gun and then said: "We could have killed you just now, but we want to break the pattern of the eternal cycle of violent retribution killing"? But they didn't. They shot him dead.
Whatever infinitesimally small chance that might have had to work is irrelevant. Osama was assassinated and the United States will be seen as accepting the ground rules for a never-ending series of alternating retaliations.
Punditry about "closure" will only serve to increase the level of righteous indignation in America when (not "if") al Qaeda retaliates for the assassination of Osama -- or Col. Qaddafi seeks revenge for the killing of his son. That, in turn, will only compel America's subsequent answer to be an absolute requirement for any President of either party.