Americans Celebrate Following bin Laden DeathAs news circulated on Sunday night about the death of al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Americans responded to the end of the manhunt with expressions of joy, satisfaction and patriotism.
No new Rasmussen Reports polling has been done since the news emerged, but a review of Twitter and Facebook reaction shows that the news relayed by President Obama was received in a celebratory fashion. Many comments specifically expressed gratitude for military and Special Forces personnel. Others paired their positive comments with expressions of caution that the fight against al Qaeda is not over.
Still, the mood of the moment was more about celebrating the good news rather than anything else. The New York Post captured the mood with an online headline saying "Justice at Last." A print version front page simply said "Got 'Em." The New York Daily News print headline was "Rot in Hell." Similar headlines were found around the country. Newspaper reports say that those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks responded with a mixture of cheers and tears.
Still, polling last fall found that only 23% of Americans think capturing or killing bin Laden will make the United States safer. Most disagreed and said it would have no impact, but that strategic perspective is clearly in the background today.
It is impossible to know what ongoing impact this news will have. When Saddam Hussein was captured, investor confidence soared, and there was an uptick in confidence about U.S. success in the War on Terror. Last month, confidence in the War on Terror fell to a four-and-a-half-year low.
Following 9/11, the U.S. launched military operations against Afghanistan. That has become America's longest running war, and most Americans now want to see U.S. troops come home from that battlefield.
U.S. officials have said that bin Laden's body was buried at sea to avoid creating a shrine in his memory. In Cambodia, mass murder Pol Pot's burial site has become a shrine despite his brutal takeover of that country decades ago.
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Posted: May 2, 2011
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