Even in victory, our mission continues
May 4, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- When our commander in chief, President Barack Obama, made the announcement Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a special operations mission, the nation immediately rejoiced, knowing that the United States had notched its greatest victory against terrorism since the war began almost 10 years ago.
Knowing that bin Laden himself can no longer mastermind any attacks definitely spells relief for all Americans. This is certainly a time for America to feel good and realize that justice has finally been served, but it's definitely not the time to let our guard down and think that our mission is complete.
Bin Laden is dead, but al-Qaida and terrorism aren't. With bin Laden's death, there is potentially a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives, all around the world, salivating with their twisted thoughts of a chance to go down in infamy. So, unfortunately, our mission is far from being over. We still have much work to do, which means we must be stay prepared and ready and keep our heads in the game and our eyes on the ball.
Right after the news broke Sunday evening, the State Department issued an alert to U.S. travelers, urging them to exercise caution. Early Monday, U.S. embassies were put on alert and warned about possible anti-American backlash around the world. Meanwhile, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta, suggested that al-Qaida "almost certainly" will try to avenge the killing of bin Laden.
As far as the military is concerned, our mission remains the same - we must continue to take the fight to the Taliban and the terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
It's natural after a big victory to kick back and savor the moment, and we should all be thankful for the determined effort to find bin Laden and the success of the recent operation to eliminate him. But, we dare not rest on our laurels, as there is plenty of work to do. We must continue the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we will. At Fort Jackson, we will continue our mission of executing Initial Entry Training for our newest civilian volunteers as we have been doing for our almost 94 years of existence. And, we'll continue to provide the best possible quality of life and service to our deserving Soldiers and families.
Winning one major battle - as we have done with removing the world's most-wanted terrorist - does not translate into having won the war.
There is much to be done to see this effort through, as we are in an era of persistent conflict against a determined enemy whose stated purpose is to deny us the freedoms and way of life we enjoy.
There will be no gloating, no looking for the light at the end of the tunnel as we continue to do what we do best - serve in the Army of the greatest nation in the history of the world.