FLASHBACK: Lefties Frowned As America Cheered bin Laden’s Demise

Thirteen years ago, nearly all Americans were united in celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader behind the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Yet one group stood on the sidelines and scowled: the Sourpuss Left, which fretted the “mindless jubilation” and “jingoistic hubris” of those cheering the elimination of the evil al Qaeda leader, an avowed enemy who had ordered the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

“It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar,” one Washington Post columnist huffed about the late night crowds celebrating outside the White House gates on May 1, 2011. “I think that this kind of jumping up and down, chanting ‘USA, USA,’ send a message of almost, sort of, blood lust,” another commentator mourned on PBS that week.

There was also the morally-inverted griping that Big Bad America was worse than al Qaeda. “This was not justice,” fumed journalist Allan Nairn on Democracy Now. “This was one killer killing another — a big killer, the United States government, killing another, someone who’s actually a smaller one, bin Laden.”

Mainstream liberal journalists avoided such hateful nonsense, instead touting the “heroics” of President Barack Obama, as if he had actually participated in the dangerous military operation. “Professor Obama turned into General Obama and ran this incredible, incredible raid,” gushed Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson. “That took a lot of guts, the kind of thing you do see in a Hollywood movie.”

To his credit, however, Obama didn’t listen to his then-Vice President. “Mr. President, my suggestion is: Don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there,” Joe Biden counseled his boss, as he himself related in a speech to House Democrats the following year. (Video here.)

Thirteen years later, Biden’s “don’t go” advice seems as terrible as ever (especially now that he’s handed Afghanistan back to the abhorrent Taliban), while the anti-American Left has moved on to condemning Israel’s necessary fight against similarly implacable and deadly terrorist enemy. Here’s a rundown of the worst quotes from that week, when (nearly) every citizen recognized and celebrated an American victory in the War on Terror:

■ “Some Americans celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden loudly, with chanting and frat-party revelry in the streets. Others were appalled — not by the killing, but by the celebrations…. ‘The worst kind of jingoistic hubris,’ a University of Virginia student wrote in the college newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. In blogs and online forums, some people asked: Doesn’t taking revenge and glorying in it make us look just like the terrorists?”
New York Times reporter Benedict Carey in a May 6, 2011 news story, “Celebrating a Death: Ugly, Maybe, but Only Human.”

■ “It is just and necessary that this evil man was finally punished for the mass murders he engineered on September 11, 2001. But I am repelled by the scenes of mindless jubilation, from Times Square to the park in front of the White House, that erupted after President Obama delivered the news in a properly sober tone Sunday night.”
The Washington Post’s “Spirited Atheist” blogger Susan Jacoby in a May 2, 2011 posting.

■ “At the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, thousands of people — most of them college-aged and in requisite flip-floppy collegiate gear — whipped up a raucous celebration right outside the White House gates that was one part Mardi Gras and two parts Bon Jovi concert….It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar….When I saw that folks were celebrating in the streets at the news of bin Laden’s death, my first reaction was a cringe. Remember how we all felt watching videos of those al-Qaeda guys dancing on Sept. 11?”
Washington Post “Metro” section columnist Petula Dvorak, May 3, 2011.

■ “It’s idiotic to treat these kinds of international events like sporting events, like it’s the World Cup that we’re cheering for here….I think that this kind of jumping up and down, chanting ‘USA, USA,’ sends a message of almost sort of blood lust. I think we need to be really careful about that.”
— Correspondent Jeremy Scahill of the left-wing The Nation magazine, on PBS’s Tavis Smiley, May 2.

■ “When you watch these people celebrating, how does it make us any better than those in the Mid East who celebrate when America falls?”
— ABC News religion correspondent Father Edward Beck on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor, May 3, 2011.

■ “People cheer because they thought they saw justice, but this was not justice….This was one killer killing another — a big killer, the United States government, killing another, someone who’s actually a smaller one, bin Laden….We have to stop these people, these powerful people like Obama, like Bush, like those who run the Pentagon, and who think it’s OK to take civilian life.”
— Journalist Allan Nairn on the far-left Democracy Now radio program, May 2, 2011.

■ “I’m glad he’s gone. But I just feel something has — we’ve lost something of our soul here in this country. And maybe I’m just an old school American who believes in our American judicial system…. [Snarls] ‘What do we need a trial for, just get rid of him.’ The second you say that, you’re saying that you hate being an American. You hate what we stand for, you hate what our Constitution stands for.”
— Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, May 5, 2011.

■ “So when does SEAL Unit 6, or whatever it’s called, drop in on George Bush? Bush was responsible for a lot more death, innocent death, than bin Laden.”
— Left-wing radio host and former CNN producer Mike Malloy on The Mike Malloy Show, May 2, 2011.

For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.                        

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