(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
The news of bin Laden’s death reminded me of an important statement by President George W. Bush:
“This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.”
Bringing bin Laden to justice represents a unifying moment and an opportunity for greater focus in our ongoing conflict. Bob Robb, a columnist for the Arizona Republic, years ago made what I thought was a profoundly sensible suggestion: that Congress make a formal declaration of war against Al Qaeda. Nothing in my mind would bring greater clarity to our efforts to both ourselves and to the world: we are not war with terrorism (which is an activity) or with Islam but rather with a group of people who attacked us and those who have chosen to associate with them.
Bin Laden’s death was not a police action- but a military strike carried out by professional soldiers. There was no effort to read anyone Miranda rights, which is appropriate. No one attempted to read Miranda rights to the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway either, preferring to shoot them down and sink their aircraft carriers.
On the other hand, the raid probably killed more actual Al Qaeda operatives than our 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan have lately at a grand total of four. Sun Tzu taught that the object of war must be swift victory and the time is at hand for the United States to weigh the costs and benefits of conflicts such as Afghanistan. The United States has displayed resolve, now it is time for us to exercise wisdom. Al Qaeda is not anxious to fight our forces in Afghanistan. Both Bin Laden and KSM were found in wealthy suburbs of Pakistan. You play the ball where it lands-our strike teams have guns, bombs, drones and cruise missiles and will travel.
This is a great day for all Americans, but Al Qaeda is not finished, and thus the struggle must continue. Let’s clarify our struggle and finish the job in a way and in an hour of our choosing.