On Sunday the world was again reminded that the American military, when given a clear and specific mission, is the most potent force in history. The daring mission, conducted deep inside Pakistan was the culmination of a decade-long manhunt. While the brave men on the ground enjoyed the satisfaction of killing the world's most wanted terrorist, hundreds of other military and intelligence personnel were also rewarded for countless hours of intense and stressful work.
They all have the earned their place among the country's heroes.
All Americans are grateful for their dedication, professionalism and commitment to protecting our nation and her people. So, it was no surprise that the United States Senate took time on Tuesday to honor these men and women by discussing and passing a resolution expressing the nation's thanks for a job well done.
It was also no surprise that similar resolutions were introduced in the U.S. House, the "peoples' chamber." Although slightly different, resolutions from Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, Sheila Jackson Lee and Bill Owens also expressed the nation's deep appreciation of the men and women who played a role in this dangerous mission.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to passage; House GOP leadership decided not to pass ANY resolution honoring our service personnel. They simply went about their normal business and then left town yesterday, ignoring all of the resolutions. It is unlikely the House will ever get around to, you know, saying thanks for doing such a great job.
Now, I get that resolutions are just words on a piece of paper. I also understand that our military personnel are content to let their deeds speak for themselves, without the need for honors or accolades. I also know that the House GOP Leadership has said they won't do "celebratory resolutions." But, come on, this is a very unique situation.
We're not talking about a junior high lacrosse team winning a state championship. We're talking about tracking down and killing the man responsible for the worst domestic terrorist attack in our nation's history. Our military and intelligence personnel relentlessly pursued Osama for almost ten years and staid committed to a mission the entire world expected them to fail. Through this time, they were asked to fight two major wars, root out terrorists in a hostile environment and engage in some weird kinetic thing in Libya. Yet, as overtaxed and overextended as they were, they never lost their focus on hunting down bin Laden. And, against all odds and, for many, at great risk to their own lives, they succeeded.
Their success not only delivered justice to an evil man, it also, in some small way, eased some of the grief of the families of victims of 9/11. It won't, of course, erase their suffering, but it gives them some closure and the satisfaction that the man was brought to judgement by an American soldier. It is deeply satisfying that, in his final moments, Osama realized that the American people had caught up to him.
You would think that all of this would be enough for the House GOP Leadership to suspend their cute little rule about "celebratory resolutions", and say, "Thank you for your service to our country," to these brave men and women. But, you would be wrong.
Again, I know resolutions are just words. But, words matter.