Mitt Romney/Bill McRaven 2012

Myth runs deeper than history because myth more deeply expresses where we come from and how we got here. It has its own form and parameters. Two features of mythical principles as they form history: History likes to start at round numbers and all historical periods end and begin again with a military commander (Washington, Grant and Eisenhower). So it is the fate of those who come to power in the last days, the 1990s, to be forgotten as were the 1890s and history will seem in time to have begun again around the year 2000. Because it did. 2001, exactly, and no millennium since the birth of the Christ has begun with such dramatic events. History started again on 9/11 with the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The Twin Towers in particular — our millennial portal — was the perfect symbol for the attack upon we the people. The perp, Osama bin Laden, will live in our mythic mind as long as Judas. Just as the soldier who gunned him down, Adm. William McRaven, will live in heroic honor.

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There has been much dog-in-the-manger this week about who gets credit for the killing of bin Laden. Some of it from prisoners of partisanship. The Navy SEALs should get credit, or George W. Bush should get credit. There has been no more difficult time in America since the 1860s. In hindsight there should be no occasion to place blame. Going from peace to war virtually overnight is a nearly impossible task. The George W. Bush administration and the Robert C. Gates initiatives brought entry and a long and difficult beginning. But credit to the mythic ending goes to the commander in chief, Barack Obama. There is no ambiguity in this.

It was an astonishing piece of the work. But this action, which will rise in decades and centuries ahead as the beginning of our American world — the beginning of our American Millennium — needs a soldier attached to it not to be forgotten; he is the gatekeeper who allows us forward progress after the tragic and traumatic events of 9/11. That is Adm. McRaven.

While most of the news agencies showed the bad taste to invite to the White House Correspondents’ dinner Hollywood types, agents of discontent and nervous distraction, The Washington Post had the inspired good sense to invite Adm. McRaven. Their columnist Kathleen Parker had the good luck to be at the table of this “unknown celebrity.” She writes: “Turns out this humble, polite man was Adm. William McRaven, leader of the Joint Special Operations Command that oversaw the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. In a recounting of the eight-month lead-up to the raid, Time magazine features McRaven as part of President Obama’s highly secret, and secretive, inner circle. He’s the guy to whom CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell was referring when he turned to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in the early planning stages and said, ‘It’s time to call in the pros.’ ”

McRaven brought to America a rite of exit through which Americans were able to climb out of the wreckage and again go forth into the world “strong and of good courage,” as it is written in the Book of Common Prayer. As Eisenhower did in 1946, as Grant did in 1865, and Washington did in 1776. He is our man and should be remembered when Romney picks his VP.