Amazin news.........inspiring......uplifting....satisfying.......Usama bin Laden is dead! Archenemy, if the US ever had one, is bested, defeated, and sent to the depths of the Arabian Sea. For all Americans, from those to whom 9/11 was as close as the War on Terror got to those who have spent years away from home killing and being killed, this is just and proper.
With UBL's demise the professional and lay speculation about the future of AQ and the global jihad is in full bloom. While "voices of reason" such as Sec. Napolitano are starting to warn that this is not the end of the War and that his end, though symbolic and fitting, does not mean GWOT is won and done, others are no less prophetic about the loss of faith the average mujahid may suffer, stuck as he is between the stone age and a democratic new middle-east (the NYT seemingly devoted the entire Op-Ed section on 2 May to the debate).
There is a voice that begs for redefinition when something momentous happens. Something that says "tomorrow is different than yesterday". Yet we must let history be the wax in our ears against this Siren's song. UBL was a leader in a 'global jihad'. 9/11 was the most successfull attack of a decade-old 'struggle against the Great Satan' (e.g. 1993 WTC bombing, 1998 Embassy bombings, USS Cole, etc). The Mujahid is the man that must be disuaded from fighting, persuaded to help, and/or killed and his wife must be likewise, for she instills the virtues of the jihad in her sons. The lessons of the coming weeks will shed some light on the pervasive divide between CT and COIN. Is it enough to physically hurt the agents of terror or must we "convert" the agents and their mothers away from it until some tolerable threshhold is reached?
I suspect the results will hardly solve anything. Our tendency to hyperbole and oversimplification will effectively and predictably guide us to "answers" that will hold until another defining moment that leads us to fear or jubilation. Or so the tendency has been. The Napolitano's of the world who see global terrorism as an endemic condition to last a lifetime are perhaps on the right side of the scale, although their tendencies have weaknesses a-plenty. InshAllah, we will overcome our tendencies. Then again, let's enjoy the moment and then go about our business.