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Bin Laden killing is a turning point

It was interesting to hear the varied reactions in the U.S. and around the world to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Some said it meant almost nothing, that the al Qaeda leader in hiding had become irrelevant over the years. We disagree. It meant a lot

Nearly 10 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden and his followers attacked America by commandeering planes with box cutters. The fact that terrorists were able to get control of cockpits wielding only box cutters shows what a different society we lived in at that time. Days later, President Bush stood at Ground Zero and proclaimed that the people who committed that atrocity "will hear from all of us soon."

Though it took nearly a decade, bin Laden was finally brought to justice Sunday. Some argue he should have been captured and tried, but the man claimed credit for one of the largest slaughter of innocents in American history. He bragged about it. And America would have only been inviting more terrorism and a circus by holding the most wanted man in the world in custody anywhere.

Sunday was the most important day yet in the global war on terrorism for this reason: terrorism is a method, not something we can drop a bomb on. We were attacked by bin Laden and al Qaeda. We have now captured or killed many of those responsible for planning that despicable act. What comes next? What do we still need to accomplish in Afghanistan, especially knowing that al Qaeda can "hide" out in the open in neighboring Pakistan? What's left in Iraq, other than to get out?

Our soldiers have fought long and hard for a decade with the goal of making the planners of Sept. 11 pay. On Sunday, a big piece of that fell into place. Now what? For the sake of our soldiers, who have been used as nation builders for too long, we need to declare victory and give them a well-deserved rest.

No, terrorism isn't over, and it likely never will be, the way school shootings and the war on drugs will never be "over." But any and all stated goals in the wake of Sept. 11 have now been met.

They accomplished the mission. Now it's time for our leaders to recognize this and bring our soldiers home, and stop being the world's policeman. Let's pin some medals on these young men and women, and get back to building America.

The Pioneer Journal editorial represents the collective voice of the paper's editorial board. Today's editorial was written by Steve Schulz, editor and publisher.