I, an opponent of capital punishment (and this was nothing else but a pre-emptive death sentence), sit with conflicted emotions. I am glad that the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks has finally paid for his acts. I am troubled that I can find nothing wrong with the way justice was delivered. Maybe sometimes there’s room for an exception? That is something I will have to deal with in the coming days. I can understand the crowds in the streets in various cities but, on the other hand, it has the stink of grave dancing to it. It should certainly give Obama a boost in the polls, but there are still 18 months to go before election day and the state of the economy and the state of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the adventure in Libya will also weigh heavily. The symbolic value, today, of bin Laden’s death is undoubtedly large, the practical value remains to be seen. All that being said, one unanswerable question looms large: How many people would be alive today had this been done 9 years ago? What would the state of the economy be today if the prolonged wars had been unnecessary. bin Laden’s death 9 years ago would have cut the head off a still essentially nascent organization. bin Laden’s death today is largely symbolic. As Sun Tzu said, “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” Let’s hope that today’s action at least helps to bring to end the warfare currently underway.