At the Power Line blog, John Hinderaker, before going to bed last night, posted the following beneath the headline "BIN LADEN IS DEAD!":
Hallelujah! After years of hunting the son of a bitch, we finally got him. Let's all smoke a cigar before we turn in.
UPDATE: Apparently we have the body, too. What to do with it? No ideas yet, but something really humiliating.
Precisely the kind of reaction that Obama's sober speech was intended to forestall. Do something "humiliating" to the body? We are like a nation of teenagers that until recently had one of our own for a parent. The one moment of poetry in Obama's announcement came when, after a wooden recitation of 9-11 horrors, he said:
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father.
This called to mind, at least for me, the lyric to Bruce Springsteen's "You're Missing," from The Rising:
Pictures on the nightstand, TV's on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, you're missing
You're missing when I shut out the lights
You're missing when I close my eyes
You're missing when I see the sun rise
You're missing. . . .
Morning is morning, the evening falls
Too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
How's everything, everything?
You're missing, you're missing. . . .
The private side of a public catastrophe. I have to say, though, that I hate the way the media seeks out on days like today anyone who lost a loved one on 9/11, as if their grief makes them experts on what we should make of it. But maybe there is something to this notion. I heard one guy tell his interviewer that he supposed the killing of bin Laden was a good thing but that his brother was still dead, too. He seems more grounded than the Power Line philosophers. Hinderaker quotes Nancy Pelosi, then comments: "It is unfortunate that many public figures are unable to view events otherwise than through a partisan prism." Scrolling down, one comes to a post in which sidekick Scott Johnson quotes, approvingly, Stephen Hunter. The excerpted passage goes like this:
Any joy one might feel in the intelligence of our analysts and the bravery of our door kickers was significantly diminished by Obama's malignant narcissism. The first part of the announcement, evoking 9/11, was vulgarly overwritten as per Obama's view of himself as some kind of gifted orator. The adjective bloated compote was unworthy of the subject, banal and self-indulgent.
Then there were his tasteless claims of personal leadership, his over-emphasis on "I" and "at my direction." Clearly, all he did was sign off on initiatives other, better men had originated. He was ungenerous to Bush, who had to deal with this thing in real time under more pressure any president has faced since Pearl Harbor and wasn't helped by the treachery of the democratic party, as exemplified by then Senator Obama. Clearly, we staged from Afghanistan. We were able to stage from Afghanistan because of Bush and the intel that led to the kill was just as obviously developed over years of effort, begun by Bush.
Finally, the NBC worship of O on the lead-in was mentally and morally repugnant. They used this as an example to bash Bush, mocking the fact that eight years ago to the day Bush had been photographed under a mission accomplished sign, without reference to the fact that the sign referred to Iraq, not Afghan, not the GWoT. And that Obama's course in his presidency has been made so much easier by virtue of the fact that Bush won the war that Obama and his cohort so opposed and yearned for our defeat in.
Drop that partisan prism, Nancy Pelosi! Now!
On all things related to bin Laden, I trust Steve Coll, whose first reaction to yesterday's events is here.