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Local reaction of relief over bin Laden death

By Staff | May 3, 2011

The first decade of the millenium, in the United States at least, will likely be remembered for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the war in Afghanistan that followed, our country’s longest.

Some regarded news of the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday with shock. Others joy. Some thought it was a hoax.

But bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, is no more.

“I was relieved,” said Rep. John Wittneben on hearing the news. However, Wittneben doesn’t think bin Laden’s death will change how America’s war on terrorism in conducted. And he has concerns about retaliation.

He believes though that the U.S. should continue to help rebuild Afghanistan which many believe was crippled more when it was ruled by the Taliban than it was by war. Wittneben believes too that our country should continue to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

“When you have a large percentage of people that have nothing, you’re going to have terrorism because they have nothing to lose,” Wittneben said. “That’s why we need to care globally.”

Howard Croner, who served in the Army Air Corps in the European Theater of operations in World War II, expressed similar feelings about the elimination of bin Laden.

“I think that’s great,” Croner said. “I think he should have been found a long time ago.”

Croner believes U.S. troops should now come home. “It depends on if there’s any revenge over there,” Croner said.

Emmet County Attorney Doug Hansen, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam, expressed similar feelings about bin Laden.

“It’s about time,” Hansen said. “I think it’s a very good thing. It’s too bad it took 10 years.”

Hansen is suspicious that bin Laden was killed just 30 miles from Pakistan’s capital “which leads me to think that Pakistanis knew where he’s been for the last 10 years,” Hansen said. “Justice has been served.”

Like many, Hansen believes the U.S. took its eyes off the ball when it was diverted to Iraq at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.

“I was totally against Iraq,” Hansen said. “Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11.”

And, as far as Afghanistan is concerned, said Hansen, “To me it looks like a war without end.”

Hansen sees parallels between the difficulty of trying to democratize Vietnam – a country which has never really known democracy in the form that we know it – and Iraq and Afghanistan. “It’s just folly,” Hansen said.