The killing of Osama bin Laden by the Navy SEALS should compel a more sober risk assessment of the terrorist threat by Congress and the Obama administration. Bin Laden himself wanted to bankrupt the US by causing overreaction to fear.
President Obama’s visit with the Navy SEALs that “got” Osama bin Laden was a moving moment of national gratitude, not only for a job well done and not simply because the raid may reduce the risk of terrorist attacks.
Rather, the SEALs also may have helped save a chunk of money for the United States – and just when it really needs to.
With the Al Qaeda leader gone, Americans have gained some peace of mind about their security. And that could bring a “peace dividend” if the price tag for the so-called “war on terror” can be reduced.
To be sure, Al Qaeda and its affiliates will likely remain active to some degree despite the death of their top jihadist. And the US still needs military assets like the SEALs, just as much as air passengers will probably need to take off their shoes for the Transportation Security Administration.
But with bin Laden’s demise, the US can more soberly assess the risks of terrorism, perhaps with less of the emotional rhetoric and partisan competition that has driven up security spending beyond a measure of reasonableness.
Bin Laden himself had come to realize that even small acts of terror can create such fear in Americans that their spending on security would help drive the US into dangerous debt. (Self-inflicted moves, like excessive spending on health entitlements and subsidies that created the housing bubble, already have done the bulk of the financial damage.)