They got the motherfucking bastard, and that makes me happy for reasons including: 1) as many of you know, I'm from New York, and events ten years ago struck quite close to home; 2) it shows the world that we don't give up and we don't forget.
I count myself among those who would have liked to have seen pictures of the body, not just to dispel the inevitable conspiracy theories, but also just for personal edification.
When I posted a couple of months ago about media coverage as a reward, some of you seemed puzzled. But now here is a great example. The American media establishment is salivating to get at those Navy SEALs. Imagine those guys on the "Today Show" answering questions like, "How did it feel to know you had a chance to kill Osama bin Laden?" Imagine them "writing" a book like A Promise To Keep or Faith Of My Fathers or (God help us all) Highest Duty dressing up their entire lives to make them a prelude to those 40 minutes. Next thing you know they're on Dancing With the Stars or locked in a cave with one of the Palin kids for our entertainment or remaking a Lady Gaga song. Seriously, this is what we've come to.
But that will never happen. We will never know who they are. We will be deprived of our hero cycle. And, if you think about it, isn't that more inspiring? Hear me out. Not only do many of us do heroic, and unacknowledged, work at our jobs (every time you watch the news about DC you are seeing the fruits of the labor of thousands of staffers whose names you will never know, heroic or not), but just raising our families and being good spouses, children, siblings, friends is the most important stuff most of us will ever do, and it goes all but unacknowledged by society. We have to seek out our satisfaction elsewhere, not from the fame machine.
Those of us who write, at some level, all want some recognition for our work - be it huge commercial success or just a small but devoted following. Our art is one thing. The rest of life is another.
I'm proud of those SEALs. I'm proud of our military in general. I'm proud we never gave up.
But to make them household names, parade them on talk shows, let them sit where the cameras can see them at the Superbowl and the State of the Union: do they need that? Do we?
They did their jobs, and the satisfaction for them is surely in that. Let's all of us seek more of our satisfaction in the same place.
As for Osama bin Laden, I can't help but think his quick death was a mercy for him. Many innocent, hardworking folks who never hurt a fly will suffer a lot more - in hospital beds, on the battlefield - before their own ends. But I'm glad we got him. And glad we never gave up. And I'm glad we'll never know who the heros are. Because they are those men, all the SEALS, all our military, and - to the extent we live up to it - all of us.