The curse has been lifted, and 40 Navy SEALs did it. They went deep into the duplicitous Pakistan and captured and killed Usama Bin Laden, the ‘head of the snake of Al Qaeda. In so doing, they have change the narrative. America is strong. America is back. And America is the future.
Since September 2001 it seemed we’ve been unable to do much right. Thousands of innocent citizens were killed on the soil of their homeland on September 11.
Their killer, Usama bin Laden, slipped through our hands in Afghanistan in December 2001. We’re still there and having a hard time of it.
The Iraq war got bogged down and although we ultimately reversed a disaster, we’re still leaving behind a fragile Iraqi state, not a strong U.S. ally.
We lead a coalition of western powers against a Libyan dictator, but the best we seem capable of is a stalemate.
Countries like Pakistan are playing us for fools. The Iranians are toying with us over the nuclear weapons program.
The U.S. economy came close to near collapse, and unemployment remains at historic highs.
We’ve spent a trillion dollars to date yet seem unable to defeat a group of radical 14th century Islamists who started the war from a cave.
The majority of the American people feel our best days are behind us. The world thinks America is a power on the decline.
It may be too soon to call this a watershed event, but for the first time in a decade, we have a major, unequivocal win.
Military analyst Bing West says in every war there is an event that in retrospect was the tipping point. In the Civil War it was Gettysburg. In the Iraq War it was the Anbar Awakening. In the war against Islamic Jihad, and in Afghanistan, it may be the killing of Usama Bin Laden. And it may have significant long term effects.
Usama bin Laden himself said that if there is a weak horse and a strong horse people will always favor the strong horse. Usama claimed he was the strong horse. No longer. We in the United States and in the West always root for the underdog, or the guy who sticks by his principles even in the face of defeat. In the Middle East, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, people want to be on the winning side.
If the Pakistani leadership in government, the military, the intelligence services decide that Al Qaeda is the weak horse, they could stop hedging their bets, stop playing their double game, and come out in support of the United States. They might clean out the Taliban safe havens in the tribal areas. If the Afghan government concludes the same, they might be willing to do what’s necessary to rally the country around their leadership, and take over more and more of the fight against the Taliban.
The war in Afghanistan is a three legged stool. One leg is the military operation on the ground in Agghanistan. The Petraeus plan has a chance of success. But the other two legs are the long term viability of the Afghan government in Kabul, and the willingness and ability of the Pakistani government to go after the Taliban safe havens in the tribal areas. Those two legs always seemed wobbly, and no stool can stand on only one leg. The death of Usama Bin Laden, so dramatically and successfully and skillfully accomplished at the hands of just 40 American seals, could stiffen those two wobbly legs. Then Afghanistan, like Iraq, might be a qualified success.
And, if the United States leaves Iraq this year, and starts drawing down from Afghanistan and in both cases leaves behind countries able to provide their own security, then the curse will really be lifted. And the decade of darkness will be over, and it will be morning again in America.
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com Live's "DEFCON3." She served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger's November 1984 "Principles of War Speech," which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET on FoxNews.com's "DEFCON3" already one of the Web's most watched national security programs. For more, visit ktmcfarland.com.