(I'm breaking with my self-imposed blog protocol here. But this just hits too close to home.)
My first reaction was relief. Super huge relief. A little less evil in the world. Thank God.
Then the relief quickly gave way to a strange feeling of pride--almost smirky-- a kind of “hell yeah, we are that badass” sort of feeling. You mess with us, we mess with you. And we will mess with you until the job has been done and justice has been served. Hooray for the CIA! Hooray for the SEALS! Hooray for President Obama!
But the sense of relief and the feelings of strange pride were far more fleeting than I would have thought. Frustration stepped right in. I was--and am--frustrated because I know that, despite this huge success, my husband will still be leaving for yet another RLBT sooner than I care to admit. And it will still take years until we can get all of our service men and women back home.*
In a perfect world, the news of this man's death would mean that we could be done with our military involvement in the Middle East. Yes, I know. The world is not perfect, and I am not that naive. But really. “They” came to our country and did something terrible to us. We then found as many of “them” as we could and we retaliated. I would like for this to be done now. Especially since he was found neither in Iraq nor Afghanistan, what are we REALLY going to be doing in those countries now? Can't we just pack up and go home? (I know the official answers, but they don't assuage my feelings.)
And that, of course, is where the fear comes in. Fear of what will happen to us next. Fear of what it will mean to “them” to see the pictures of our very young citizens partying and whooping it up in the streets like we won the super bowl. Celebrating just as we’ve seen “them” do. What it might incite.
Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s wrong for Americans to be psyched about this. Heck, I’m psyched about it. But there are people very near and dear to my heart in Afghanistan right now. They can’t afford to rejoice or feel relieved. They must stay vigilant.
Still. Couldn’t we just be done? Couldn’t we just say we got the bastards who got us and we are going home now? Couldn’t we just say “the hearts and minds” are YOUR problem, not ours?
It has been a long ten years. And I am tired. And proud. And relieved. And just plain ready to be done.
*(I am also frustrated that this event--huge for our country--is being used by some to create even more division along political party lines. This should be a time of unity, as we share our satisfaction. It should be a time to put aside differences. Maybe it is for some. But I am now on a self-imposed Facebook-reading moratorium because of the crazy things some people are posting, and also because of the things I feel like writing back. But that is another story.)