Terrorist’s death brings closure

Terrorist’s death brings closure
It was closure to a long quest for the man behind the organization that sent the World Trade Towers tumbling on September 11, 2001. After almost ten years, US forces had finally located the head of Al Qaeda, the terrorist group that had trained under the protection of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was dead.
Hardly anywhere in the country remains untouched by the events of 9-11 and the conflicts it set in motion. Weakley County is no different.  A freshman at UT Martin who is old enough to serve in Afghanistan today would have been ten or eleven when 9-11 blazed across the television screens.
Hardly old enough to understand how it all started and why.
Over 1500 US soldiers, according to icasualty.org have died in Afghanistan since President George W. Bush sent troops into the country soon after 9-11 to rout out Al Qaeda.
“I am sure that there are a lot of soldiers who are pumped up in Afghanistan today,” offers Lt. Col. Timothy Marshall, Professor of Military Science and Leadership at UT Martin. “But does it change what they are doing? It goes without saying that on a day to day basis they are still going about their mission.”
The linkage to Iraq is more complicated as Al Qaeda offshoots later joined up with insurgents exacerbating sectarian strife between Sunni and Shia religious groups there. Though not as significant an event world-wide as the killing of Osama bin Laden, the death of the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq in June 2006 was also hailed as a monumental event “It was all about Zarqawi (Jordanian born Abu Musab al Zarqawi) then,” remembers Marshall who was serving in Iraq at the time.
National Guard units in the NW Tennessee region have done multiple tours in Iraq. All together, the US has suffered over 4400 deaths since that war started in 2003.
Brent Morel of Martin is the father of one of those men who was killed in action in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq.  Marine Captain Brent Morel received a Navy Cross for his bravery. Today, Morel says he is “feeling vindication” with the death of the Al Qaeda leader.
Nevertheless all men and women in uniform, whether they be on reserve or active duty, may not have time to think too much about the celebrated Navy Seal operation to find bin Laden in Pakistan.
There are other issues to think about including readying for possible reprisals for the bin Laden kill.
And then there are the rising Missisippi, Ohio and Cumberland rivers to worry about as National Guard units stand alert to help out if evacuation or other services are needed as floodwaters hit northwest Tennessee.
wcp 5/3/11

Leave a Comment