Tough Enough

Tough Enough

By Joe Conason - May 7, 2011

It is always a happy moment when Americans are reminded of our country's greatness, especially when we are so often warned about its imminent decline -- and the elimination of Osama bin Laden, fanatical murderer of thousands of Christians, Jews and Muslims, was certainly such a moment.

Especially for those of us who were living in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as those who died and their families, justice was finally done. From now on, the heroic pantheon associated with that infamous date will include not only the police officers, firefighters and rescue workers of 9/11, but the Navy SEALs and the military and intelligence officers who avenged them.

Everyone who feels pride and satisfaction in bin Laden's fate must also acknowledge the bold action and sound priorities of President Obama, who has coolly and cleanly fulfilled a promise he made during his campaign. Maintaining the nation's dignity and his own, he has handled the aftermath of the mission with precise correctness and stayed focused on the policy goals that guide his administration.

Getting rid of bin Laden won't mean the instant disappearance of terrorism or the alienation that its perpetrators always exploit -- the issues that he sought to symbolize will remain. But in this country, the performance of the president and those around him should permanently dispel the perennial right-wing slur against Democratic leaders as deficient in the strength and courage to defend our security.

A standard-issue weapon in the Republican political arsenal, that canard was an artifact of the Vietnam War era, when progressives led a protest movement against a war that is now broadly acknowledged to have been an enormous waste of lives and money. Bush White House political adviser Karl Rove revived the idea that Democrats were less tough and less patriotic for strictly partisan purposes in the wake of 9/11, even as the nation yearned for unity.

1 | 2 | Next Page››

Copyright 2011, Creators Syndicate Inc.

Joe Conason

Author Archive

Follow Real Clear Politics

Latest On Twitter