Reporter's Note: The news to start this week is huge: Osama bin Laden has been killed.
Dear Mr. President,
I was writing an entirely different letter to you about the big correspondents’ dinner and my latest marathon (Excellent run up in Gettysburg…lovely town and wonderful race. Congrats to them!) but now comes the word of Osama bin Laden’s death.
This is obviously a very long awaited event, and I’m sure we’ll hear all sorts of details over the next few days. It will certainly bring some satisfaction for some of the people who lost family and friends on 9/11, and frankly a lot of our fellow Americans everywhere will be happy.
And yet, here is something we must bear in mind: While it is symbolically important that we finally caught up with him, this doesn’t really change things in a practical sense. Yes, it is a blow to al Qaeda and to terrorist organizations in general, but what has made these groups so dangerous and difficult to battle, is that fact that they do not follow the lead of one man nor depend on a top down command structure.
For some years there have been indications that bin Laden has been surpassed by other, younger leaders who presumably pose a greater threat to our nation and others. In short, this is a war of ideologies and such things don’t die with the death of one individual.
Don’t get me wrong: There is no doubt that many in your administration and across this land have reason to feel satisfied that this deed has been accomplished and a terrible foe is gone. But the threats to America and so many other places continue –threats driven by a fierce clash of cultural and religious ideas, which remains alive and vigorous. They may even gain new energy in the wake of this news, at least for a while.
This success is, in other words, a good reason to keep our guard up, and not to let it down.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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