Paul A. Ibbetson
Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. forces, America should celebrate
By Paul A. Ibbetson
May 3, 2011

The inevitable has taken place. Osama bin Laden has been killed by American forces. The details are still limited but as reported by FOX News, bin Laden was killed in a firefight on the ground in Pakistan. It is reported that no Americans were injured during the firefight that took bin Laden's life. As I type this column I can hear the celebrations outside my window here in the heartland of Kansas. Celebrating the death of bin Laden calls for a short discussion on how Americans should act in the aftermath of the U.S. military operation in which a human life was taken. When it comes to the death of the nation's number one terrorist, Americans should celebrate, should be happy. Allow me to expand on this line of thinking.

There are no illusions that the death of bin Laden will end attempts by terrorists to attack America. For some time terrorists have been trying, and at times succeeding, in acts of terrorism around the world. Many of these acts have been conducted without any input by bin Laden. The death of bin Laden will not end terrorism. With that said, the symbolic nature of bin Laden to terrorists has been twofold. The first being the successful attack on America he orchestrated on September 11, 2001, and the second being this terrorist's ability to evade American forces. Bin Laden's evasion from justice has had consequences on America and other countries as he continued to release periodical threat messages that received world coverage. The message to terrorists today with bin Laden's death is that when you mess with America, it's just a matter of time before you will be brought to justice. This is a powerful piece of symbolism in America's favor that will inevitably outweigh attempts to frame bin Laden as a martyr. Now back to celebrating.

There will be some that will forward the idea that we should be restrained in our joy over the demise of a death dealer like bin Laden. Some will say that America's celebration over a dead terrorist will provoke a higher response by al-Qaeda. Americans should brace themselves for the possibility that terrorists will attempt a response to the death of their symbolic leader. However, America's avoidance of celebrating bin Laden's death would not decrease radical Islamic terrorists from wanting to kill us. These radicals always want to kill everyone who does not think exactly like them. To the radical Islamic terrorist, a breathing American is a killable offense.

Next, some people may wish to diminish celebrations because Osama bin Laden was dispatched during the presidency of Barack Obama instead of George W. Bush. I would recommend against this for two reasons. First is the notion that withholding celebration when it is warranted somehow politically hurts a president with whom many do not agree. This is a false assumption that leads to poor actions. We can see this from history when liberals turned their backs on celebrating Americans when Saddam Hussein was ripped from his rat hole and brought to justice by U.S. military forces. Liberals withheld their joy during the capture of the Iraqi dictator simply out of spite against George W. Bush. These shallow political acts should not be repeated at this historical moment.

Lastly, celebrating the death of bin Laden is a hallowed bonding process by which Americans continue to remember the war on terror that was brought to our shores and the innocent lives that were brutally taken on 9/11. It is a time for us to give thanks to our military and for the country to come together to celebrate a long-awaited moment of justice. Osama bin Laden is dead; let the celebrations begin.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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