The End of bin Laden
The news of the death of Osama bin Laden is cause for great happiness [May 20]. Justice has been served. Yet the families and friends of the victims of 9/11 will forever have to deal with the loss of their loved ones. Therefore they must know that their struggle is ours, and even while we rejoice in this news, we do not forget that they still struggle. We are, as President Obama noted, "united as one American family."
Sardar Anees Ahmad,
Waterloo, N.Y., U.S.
I feel like a firsthand observer of bin Laden's demise, thanks to Time's excellent reporters and photographers. The events and emotions were vividly and powerfully depicted. This veteran of the World War II South Pacific campaign appreciated your special report on this historic moment.
Lopez Island, Wash., U.S.
Is the U.S. authorized to kill anyone anywhere without the consent of the sovereign government in question?
Didn't bin Laden deserve a fair trial? Far from making me feel safer, bin Laden's killing leaves me with the impression that there's a hidden force capable of eliminating any person in the world without having to give an explanation to anyone. What a shame.
Imagine if bin Laden had been taken alive and transported to Guantánamo. By now scores of Americans would have been taken hostage and threatened with having their throats slit if he were not released. Wars are difficult and bloody, and some actions immoral. Heads of state have many problems with all "bad" solutions. I'm glad I'm not Obama.
So as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, it is important that we remember it took an intelligent and steady President, not a simpleminded cowboy wannabe, to finish the job with bin Laden. Actions speak louder than words.
Our leaders and the media are grandstanding about the death of bin Laden, with ever more details about the raid being released. Why not just let terrorists wonder how we identified his hideout and not divulge that the trail began with information from Guantánamo? Why identify SEAL Team 6, enabling terrorists to seek out team members and their families for retaliation? For that matter, why have we published our rules of engagement or the limits of our interrogation techniques? We are at war. "Loose lips sink ships" is a dated slogan but a lesson we need to relearn.
Carlisle, Pa., U.S.
Frankly, I find the revelry and celebration of another human being's death disgusting, and no matter how wicked that man, there is no excuse for thoughtless execution. Bin Laden was a murderer, and I had hoped that the U.S. would not stoop to his level.
Your covers of Saddam Hussein, Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi and bin Laden, all with the dramatic red X, stand in poor contrast to the original cover of Adolf Hitler. The actions of those three, though they brought devastation, pale by comparison with Hitler's responsibility for the loss of millions of lives, the social and physical destruction caused by his warfaring and the crippling economic effects of World War II.
Darlene L. Reiter,
Sheridan, Wyo., U.S.
When you compare bin Laden's death to Hitler's demise you make it sound as if it were the end of World War III. Don't you understand that nothing has changed, that the removal of bin Laden means very little in the tragic affairs of the world? He has been of minor consequence for many years now, so his passing deserves only a simple footnote in history books.
9/11's Long Shadow
Nancy Gibbs claims we are more tolerant ["Where Victory Lies," May 20]. Were it only so. I find the mood against immigrants and people of Arab descent poisonous and gaining power. Witness Donald Trump's questioning of our President's nationality and faith. It's better than it was 60 years ago, but we're not the peaceful utopia Gibbs seems to want to present.
Covington, Ga., U.S.
Just as Gibbs' daughter Galen became aware of evil when she was a very young child, I remember having a frightening black-and-white dream when I was a 6-year-old wherein the red sun on a Japanese flag was the only object in color. I grew up in the 1940s, and we didn't have TV back then, so perhaps the image came from theater newsreels. The fear slips in whether parents are aware of it or not.
Anne M. Petty,
Missoula, Mont., U.S.
I was 9 in September 2001. I didn't know anyone who died in the attacks, but I mark it as the day I lost my innocence. I cry every year, not so much for the people who lost their lives but for kids like me who were forced to grow up a little too fast.
Scottsdale, Ariz., U.S.
Capturing the Drama
David Von Drehle's balanced, brilliantly-paced article is a testament to the importance and relevance of objective reporting, particularly on such emotive issues ["Death Comes for the Terrorist," May 20]. His piece wonderfully conveyed the Hollywoodesque drama of the capture and the subsequent fallout with admirable objectivity and restraint. That the topic is so clearly sensitive makes his achievement all the more impressive.
What About Spain?
Your graphic showing the world's major attacks by al-Qaeda failed to include the March 2004 bombings in Madrid ["A Revival in Langley," May 20]. Although no direct connection has been proved, it's clear that al-Qaeda had a big influence on the terrorists who orchestrated the attack, which killed nearly 200 people. Unfortunately, Islamist terrorism goes beyond al-Qaeda and bin Laden, but they have a worldwide influence on people who do not hesitate to perpetrate attacks on innocent people.
Borja Ruiz Iváñez,
The President's Men
I take issue only with Joe Klein's last paragraph ["Obama 1, Osama 0," May 20]. Just because the "lamestream media" are caught up in their need for constant drama, don't assume that members of the public don't get Obama. Many of us do, and we are grateful to have an intelligent, wise-beyond-his-years President in office. We simply turn off the TV whenever the cooked-up drama is served.
Alvin, Texas, U.S.
Outstanding among many other lines in your great coverage of the bin Laden episode was Klein's quoting of the conversation between Obama and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. The calm, courteous, diplomatic but firm way in which Obama urged Mubarak to move on but leave a legacy is surely how Abraham Lincoln would have handled it. You can see why Lincoln is Obama's idol. Masterly.
Klein writes that President Obama "ran an exquisite operation" to find and kill bin Laden. There is a huge distinction between authorizing an operation and running it. Those of us who have served in the military and participated in high-risk operations are perhaps more acutely aware of the distinction than those who have not. By authorizing the operation, Obama made a tough, bold decision with momentous consequences, and he deserves credit for having made the call. The operation was run, however, by the Navy SEALs. Ask the men who entered the compound who ran the operation that night and in the months leading up to it. I doubt they will answer "President Obama."
Carlsbad, Calif., U.S.
The Lessons of Terror
In "A Long Time Going," Peter Bergen states, "The jihadists will be mindful that their world has passed them by" [May 20]. Though bin Laden may be buried in seawater, the snake still lives submerged in its cave. One thing we must keep in mind at all times: while it took the U.S. 10 years to establish bin Laden's whereabouts and get him in the crosshairs, consider the years of planning that went into the execution of the first lethal strikes of Sept. 11, 2001. Bin Laden's line of succession may not be immediately apparent, but if we underestimate the resiliency of radical Islam to regenerate over time, we will be condemned to repeat history.
Cary, N.C., U.S.
Jack Bauer's Legacy
Thanks for the article by James Poniewozik reminding us of the epic TV show 24 and its inimitable terrorist-fighting hero, Jack Bauer [Tuned In, May 20]. In 2008 I went into a voting booth with a dilemma. I didn't want to vote for John McCain, whom I had disliked for years. And I certainly wasn't about to vote for the left-wing Democrat Obama. There was space for a write-in, so I voted for Bauer. I have never been sorry.