A really terrible case of 'armchair quarterbacking'

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today will come and go for most Americans, but for some it holds a very special meaning. This day marks a year since the world learned of the death of the mastermind behind the worst sneak attack ever launched against the United States.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden was personally responsible for giving the orders which led the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans. The only crime these innocent people committed was that they were Americans -- nothing more. In bin Laden's twisted mind, they merely represented targets with which to lash out in pure hatred.

But as this one-year anniversary drew near, the commentary on both sides of the political fence illustrated a horrible case of "armchair quarterbacking" in which everyone wanted a piece of the action.

On one side of the fence, people were questioning whether Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney would've made the same decision to kill bin Laden. On the other, questions arose on whether the president was actually the one that gave the "kill" order.

Throughout all of this political rambling and questioning, no one really seemed to give a moment's thought to give credit to the ones that had planned for months (perhaps years) to carry out this mission. Under the cloak of darkness, veiled in total secrecy, the nation's elite Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. With surgical precision, they ended the life of a man whose very soul was corrupted by hatred and intolerance.

In the days that followed that mission, Americans seemed to breathe a huge sigh of relief that the world's most wanted terrorist had faced the justice he so richly deserved for so many years.

With bin Laden gone into hiding for so long, the news helped bring a sense of closure to this nation, especially to those who lost loved ones in the aftermath of 9/11.

But reading the news headlines this week, we wonder if anything positive came out of this mission. It seemed that everyone was so wrapped up in their own political agendas that they had forgotten the deeper meaning this anniversary represented.

It proved that the United States is relentless in its pursuit of justice and will seek out those who threaten its borders and its citizens, regardless of where it leads. It also emphasized that no place on Earth is safe from the most lethal fighting force in the world -- the men and women of the U.S. military.

Instead, this anniversary represents how quickly politicians and the national media can whip up the bandwagon whenever it suits their own agendas. With the presidential election a mere five months away, Republicans and Democrats alike seemed to use this major victory to wage their own self-centered style of war in hopes of scoring huge victories come this November.

Unfortunately, both sides have it all wrong. They need to use it to unify this country and to emphasize that the United States will not give in to terrorists. Instead, they are pulling this nation apart by the seams in the pursuit of political gains.

Most important, our elected officials needed to extend a huge debt of gratitude to the brave men and women in uniform who make tremendous sacrifices every day in the pursuit of freedom and the ideals of democracy.

Instead, our elected leaders simply proved once again how childish the political game has become. And in the end, neither side of the political fence won.

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Changing directions entirely, the Mountain Home News want to give another heads up to our readers. Starting this Friday, the newspaper will move up its submissions deadlines due to changes in our publication procedures.

Story submissions and news briefs as well as all advertising submissions and payments are now due to the Mountain Home News office by 1 p.m. each Friday for both the city newspaper as well as the Mountain Home Patriot.

While we understand this might cause some frustration initially, we think the change to this new process will make things run much smoother in the years to come.

-- Brian S. Orban