I lack the reserves to comment on the events of the last twenty-four hours. Euphoria and contrarianism both look like unsavory options. Two of the best dispatches look past catharsis: Steve Coll’s analysis of the future of al-Qaeda and the late Osama bin Laden’s centrality in its operations; and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ solemn parsing of the tumult an event like this inspires in citizens who want justice yet recoil from the way that justice and revenge are often indistinguishable:
What actually sticks with me is Bin Laden killed mass quantities of human beings with almost regard for distinctions. It’s not that he killed Muslims. It’s that he didn’t much care who he killed.
Osama Bin Laden The body-count, in number and means, is spectacular–I think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who video-taped himself beheading human beings. I think about the hundreds of people killed in the bombing of al-Askaria Mosque, with the apparent hope of fomenting a Civil War. I think about the deaths in Nairobi, and bombing of night-clubs in Bali. It really is bigger than 9/11.
Faced with that level of callous disregard for life, I find it a little difficult to lecture 25-year olds who came of age during this time on their varied reactions. Americans are humans too.