Osama’s death should represent justice, not revenge

President Obama’s speech Sunday night perfectly exemplified the emotions Americans should be feeling in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death.

He stated that Bin Laden and al-Qaida’s vicious attacks to justice must be combatted “to protect our citizens, our friends and our allies.”

“And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaida’s terror: “Justice has been done”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/02/remarks-president-osama-bin-laden ,” Obama said.

At no point did he say the words “rejoice,” “pride” or “bin Laden bar crawl.”

Rather, he emphasized the nearly 10 years of service and sacrifice Americans struggled through as a nation.

Bin Laden’s attacks on 9/11 reshaped Americans’ perceptions of the nation within the international community. It stirred us to realize our vulnerability in the face of terrorism’s shadowy, fear-inducing ploys.

In light of bin Laden’s death, it is important to realize what he was fighting for.

Bin Laden stated in a 1998 interview with PBS, “Nothing could stop (the United States) except perhaps retaliation in kind. Our mothers and daughters and sons are slaughtered every day with the approval of America and its support. And, while America blocks the entry of weapons into Islamic countries, it provides the Israelis with a continuous supply of arms allowing them thus to kill and “massacre more Muslims”:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/interview.html#ixzz1LEe6Rz8x.”

Regardless of bin Laden’s motives, his attacks on innocent citizens are irreconcilable. The mass murderer killed close to 3,000 Americans, in addition to the countless Muslim lives he’s claimed. There is no arguing that he needed to be brought to justice.

We weren’t chasing him around for nearly a decade to exact revenge. Those who wrong others must atone for their actions. If they continue to slaughter innocent people, those who can stop the violence have an obligation to do so.

As is the case in Libya today, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s murderous rampage necessitated NATO’s militant response. On Saturday night, “Gadhafi’s youngest son, a civilian student, tragically lost his life along with three of Gadhafi’s grandchildren”:http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/04/30/world/africa/international-us-libya-attack.html?emc=na . This hatred-induced vision is of the same nature of that which blinded bin Laden.

Our lives drastically changed as a result of bin Laden’s hate-inspired jihad. In his wake, we’ve seen countless terror alerts, government-sanctioned racial profiling, the mosque debacle last August and previously unseen transportation frustration.

America’s fight with terrorism has taught me that like the Hydra from Roman mythology, some monsters thrive upon senseless violence. We should never hope for death unless it means debilitating a monster.

Hopefully, this moment will give the U.S. more reason to end the war in Afghanistan. Bin Laden’s presence in the region was less strategic and more of a symbolic asset to al-Qaida. His death is a small victory in our pursuit of a more peaceful tomorrow.

Let us not boast of this achievement, but instead be grateful to Presidents Bush and Obama for their leadership. Let’s be grateful to the families and friends of 9/11 victims who had to endure 10 years of politics and uncertainty.

And let us be especially grateful to the oft-forgotten troops who have dedicated — and in many cases, lost — their lives to ensure the elusive American goal: Liberty and justice for all.

President Obama concluded, “We are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.” From Bin Laden’s death, we’ve learned that faith in each other is the antithesis of evil.

This quote said it best: “I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

_Alex is a senior in LAS._