The Stars and Stripes, our American daily newspaper here in the Far East, is surprisingly well written and easy to read, and while all news outlets possess a certain amount of bias, it is not as lopsided in the Stars and Stripes as one might expect. Their letters-to-the-editor section occasionally has some rabid submissions, but the newspaper usually tries to balance those out by making sure that opposing points of view are represented.
One obstacle that confronts the Stars and Stripes is that of time. Because it's target audience, the American military community overseas, is spread around the globe, the print news reaches us one-to-two days after the actual event occurred - and the newspapers always reach the newsstands one day after the date printed on the cover page. So, today is Wednesday, March 4th, the paper that I purchased this morning was dated Tuesday, March 3, and the cover story was the elimination of Osama bin Laden which occurred on Monday, May 2nd (around 11:00 a.m. local time).
The issue that I purchased this morning will be a collector's item - and one of my heirs will undoubtedly have it on eBay some day. The entire front page was a photo of Osama in his dress white robe and turban - with a two-inch high caption, "AT LAST." A photo covering the front page is a rarity with this little newspaper that is anything but a tabloid. There has only been one other issue to boast that format in the year that I have been here - the March 12th issue covering the awful earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It's one-inch caption read, "HELL AND HIGH WATER."
The death of Osama bin Laden is quite a big deal in these parts. Not only did he capture the cover page of the most recent Stars and Stripes, articles related to the military and political decisions that led to his removal from the human race took up the entire first seven pages of the issue.
The Bin Laden story will surely be one of those moments in history where everyone will be able to state exactly where they were and what they were doing when the news broke. Every generation needs one of those defining moments that bring us together as a country - mine was the Kennedy assassination.
The big thing that I am taking away from this story is that military objectives can be met without all-out war and regime change. That, and the fact that the goober who threw us into two wars had absolutely nothing to do with the action that finally eliminated the man who was our stated reason for going to war in the first place. In the end, all it took was a small group of highly trained Navy SEALS and intelligent leadership.
Fighting leaner and smarter could be the key to reducing or eliminating our national debt.