After bin Laden: Obama should invite Bush to ground zero visit

The gesture at ground zero on Thursday would do much to show that solving big problems requires persistence and the work of both political parties.

(Credit: Eric Draper/Eric Draper /White House via CNP/Newscom)
Standing on the ashes of the terrorist attack upon the World Trade Center in New York, New York, on Sept. 14, 2001, President George W. Bush pledges that the voices from across America calling for justice will be heard.

First, the royal wedding. Then, the good news that US Navy SEALs had pulled off a spectacularly successful mission that took out the world's most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden. The two events hardly go together, except that they both united a weary world and left people feeling hopeful again.

This week President Obama has an opportunity to prolong the unity. What if, when he visits ground zero on Thursday, he invites President Bush?

It took the work of both administrations to finally catch up with the terrorist who took responsibility for 9/11. The intel tip that led to the courier that led to the house that bin Laden built goes back to 2005. President Obama called President Bush to personally deliver the news of the successful mission. Obama people have shared the credit with the Bush people, and vice versa.

Last night, at a bipartisan dinner with leaders of Congress, Mr. Obama talked about bin Laden and the unity that followed his death. "It is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face," he said.

Having President Bush by his side just might help him do that. Can you imagine Obama and Bush joining hands over something like this? Not a royal wedding, exactly, but an unforgettable image of what's possible with persistence and cooperation.

(For the Monitor's coverage of the bin Laden mission and its aftermath, click here.)

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