Reporter's Note: I’ve been writing too many serious letters to the president lately, but we’ve had some pretty serious news. So there you have it. Here is today’s.
Dear Mr. President,
It’s funny how a small thing can make a huge difference.
Do you remember that old poem? Something like “for want of nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the soldier was lost,” and on it goes until the war is lost. The point is that a tiny item gone awry may seem inconsequential, but over time can cost you everything. (As a side light, I’ve never been crazy about horses. They are pretty, and I’ve ridden some that I liked, but others seem as cantankerous as cats and just as prone to bite. Of course, I might be too if my shoes were nailed on.)
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how a small thing brought down Osama bin Laden: A single guy, a trusted courier, who, step-by-incautious-step, accidentally led the SEALs to bin Laden’s door in the middle of the night.
Certainly bin Laden had to suspect that his greatest vulnerability rested in the people who knew his address. After all, even a successful game of hide and seek depends on no one else knowing where you are, even the other hiders. And yet, what could he do about it?
Almost all of us, including the most hard-hearted ideologues have ties to other humans. Even the Unabomber with his cabin in the woods, weed whacker haircut, and maniacal manifesto was eventually discovered because his brother realized what he was up to and called the cops.
But just as a weak link can expose our enemies, such a weakness can also expose us. That’s why I hope the death of bin Laden is also a cautionary tale. As surely as we were able to find a lose nail in his defense and exploit it, so too, our enemies are looking for soft spots on our side, and perhaps never more than now.
Hope all is well.
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.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with