Osama Bin LadenAfter nearly 10 years of searching US forces finally found and killed Osama Bin Laden (1957-2011) the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, top leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network, hero of the anti-American Muslim world population, and general thorn in the side of the US military.

US officials confirmed yesterday that Bin Laden, was killed during a raid by US forces on a mansion and compound in Pakistan yesterday where Bin Laden had been staying for an unspecified period of time.

President Barack Obama spoke to the nation last night and said that Osama bin Laden was killed by “a small team of Americans” during a raid on a safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. “After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” Obama said. No US personnel were killed during the operation. According to multiple sources, “senior US officials” have said the operation was conducted by US NAVY SEALs inserted by multiple helicopters, one of which crashed due to mechanical failure. At least 3 other people, including one of bin Laden’s sons, were also killed in the firefight.

Obama, the humble, took full credit for the kill, of course. Notice the use of “I” in pretty much every place he could use it. I kept waiting for him to say he called play by play instructions in while the hit was going down. I found it distasteful and slightly offensive that he would imply that it was only after he became President that our forces were directed to actually find Bin Laden…as if Bush never had the idea and we haven’t spent the last ten years looking for him. And then Obama implies that it was because of his leadership that we somehow managed to find Bin Laden. Listen, Mickey Mouse could be President right now and we still would have found Bin Laden in exactly the same way. Obama didn’t do anything to find Bin Laden that Bush didn’t do and he didn’t do anything that John McCain or any other President would have done.

My wife is the one who told me about the news and she lead by saying “Obama just got reelected.” She had a good point and one which I was inclined to agree with in the moments after learning about Bin Laden’s death. After some careful thought, however, I’ve decided his reelection might not be a foregone conclusion.

One thing that leads me to believe this is the groundswell of voices already calling for us to pull out and end the war. Thinking people know, of course, that the war doesn’t just end when one person dies…especially this war that probably wasn’t being led by Bin Laden in the first place. However, that won’t stop people from wishing an end to all of this and for Obama to bring our troops home. It’s very unlikely that Obama is capable of doing so or will do so. We’ll have to keep fighting and this could definitely hurt Obama in the long run. Someone like Donald Trump could come out, guns blazing, demanding that Obama bring our troops home and Obama would have little to counter with except common sense which seldom wins in a war of words. Obama will have to play President and this could result in some blowback from the public. Conversely, Obama could immediately start pulling troops back. Of course, if he did that he would then be attacked for giving up the fight before it’s finished. Neither position is enviable for Obama.

At any rate, our long national nightmare is over (sort of) and Bin Laden is dead. Crowds outside of the Whitehouse chanted “USA” long into the night. President Bush posted this on his Facebook page:

Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

I wish Bush could have found Bin Laden on his watch but it is what it is. At least Bin Laden is dead, buried at sea, and will not be planning any other attacks. Americans are celebrating but it remains to be seen if al Qaeda has the strength to retaliate.

I think Charles Krauthammer might have summed it up best:

It’s a great day, and it’s a great moment for America, and I think the principal effect, and there will be many, but the most important is to demonstrate the reach, the power and the efficiency of the United States Military.

That I think is going to reverberate around the world.

We have suffered over the last decade or so, and longer…we were attacked in 1998 by al-Qaeda for the first time in a major way, and after a indecisive war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it looks like we are losing, or at least sliding backwards with the operation in Libya, and I think the world had this fantasy that the United States didn’t have the power, did not have the efficiency, it did not have the might.

The way the world saw us right after Iraq, the Gulf War, the war in 1991 where there was this awe about what America could do, and this tells the world, that it could take a decade, you could be hiding anywhere in the world, we will stay on the trail, we will find you, and we will kill you.

And it’s like the Entebbe raid the Israeli’s pulled off in 1976 where they reached all the way into Uganda and extracted all the hostages and killed the hostage takers, the demonstrations of strength is the most important effect.

…it reinforces the symbolism here because al-Qaeda attacked all those different countries but the only one that could do, the only one that had the power, the reach, the global scope, the wherewithal to do it is the United States, and in a way acting in the name of the world in a way only we can do, which is how we have been seen since the fall of the soviet union, early on in that period, again after the gulf way, as the only one who could do it easily and with great triumph, lately people have been thinking America has slipped, I think this is a great restoration of that image.