Season ticket on a one-way ride
Let's call this the obligatory "Osama is dead" post.
Much better coverage is available all over the internets. Washington Post, of all places, has a good writeup of the breakdown... although, I have two GLARING criticisms.
1. They just can;t help their petty little liberal hearts, but they have to get in a dig at President Bush, and the fucking "Mission Accomplished" banner at his speech marking the end of major combat operations in the invasion of Iraq - a war they spent barrels of ink telling us had nothing to do with 9/11 and Osama. Now, of course, when they can contrast it against Obama to make him look like some sort of conquering hero, they'll trot that out for one more haggard lap.
2. Wa-Po mentions the September 11 attacks NINE TIMES before a short list of the other terror attacks bin Laden was involved in planning. Sadly, at least those twisted news goblins even deigned to mention that the US isn't the only country in the world that's suffered attacks from AQ. There's the London and Madrid train bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, not to mention the thousands of innocent civilians butchered by AQ in Iraq and Africa - most of whom are Muslims.
Did anyone hear Obama issue a peep about any of those horrible events, or even mention the countless blood and treasure that our numerous allies have given up to bring that evil bastard to justice? Because I sure as hell didn't.
Since actual gratitude from President "Look at ME!" won't be coming any time soon - if ever, I'll take it upon myself to send out thanks to all of the servicemembers around the world who contributed in ways large and small to bringing about this day.
Those who lost troops:
United States: 4,436
United Kingdom: 179
El Salvador: 5
South Korea: 1
Czech Republic: 1
Those who also sent troops:
* Moldova: 24 peak
* Albania: 240 troops
* Japan: 600 troops
* Tonga: 55 troops
* Singapore: 175 offshore
* Bosnia and Herzegovina: 85 peak
* Armenia: 46 troops
* Norway: 150 troops
* Portugal: 128 troops
* New Zealand: 61 troops
* Philippines: 51 troops
* Honduras: 368 troops
* Dominican Republic: 302 troops
* Nicaragua: 230 troops
* Iceland: 2 troops
* Macedonia: 77 peak
* Mongolia: 180 peak
Most of these nations didn't have the economic wherewithal to prosecute a decade-long war against a shadowy and elusive enemy, and were forced to withdraw their forces. But there are those who stood fast, and saw that they had the ability to fight, and that they had a duty to humanity to see bin Laden brought to justice, or at least to bring justice to him.
And so they did.
Some of those nations listed above lost their nerve when the going got rough. Some of them gave in to fear, and attempted to bargain with the terrorists when their troops were captured. While I don't blame the individual troops for the actions of their governments, it definitely cheapens their service, and takes the dignity and pride of service away from those who served. Benjamin Franklin said it best: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Fortunately for the rest of the free world, their betters stood ready to defend the rest of us, regardless of the cost.
One last thing. bin Laden is but one man. Sure, he was the head of the organization, and obviously well-connected and in a good deal of control of their operations, but even with him gone, the fight is far from over. Iraq remains a struggling democracy - though one with citizens fiercely committed to its success. The legions of purple-fingered civilians who turn out for elections there, despite very real threats to their lives and livelihoods are nothing short of amazing. They make the same sacrifices now that American colonists did during the Revolution, and for largely the same reason.
Afghanistan is still a basket case. Much of the population still regards bin Laden as a folk hero, and may never hear of his death, or may not believe it to be true. That country has a long climb out of its self-imposed islamic stone-age into the modern world... and until the people can see concrete improvements in their lives, they won't buy-in to jettisoning the Taliban. Granted, they can't buy-in to the modern world if they get shot for flying kites or listening to music.
The road ahead is rough, but our steps are lighter upon it today. Today we can celebrate.