published Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Obama gets Osama

  • photo
    Osama bin Laden, pictured in an April 1998 file photo in Afghanistan. (AP File Photo)

President Obama’s late Sunday announcement that Osama bin Laden, the world’s most-wanted fugitive terrorist, had been killed in Pakistan by an American special forces unit marked a uniquely symbolic and long-sought victory against terrorism and a defining moment, as well, for the president and for the families of the victims who died on Sept. 11, 2001. It will not extinguish acts of terrorism by al-Qaida extremists and those on its fringes, but it makes good on this nation’s pledge of unrelenting pursuit of justice for the murders of innocents and their assaults on the United States and our citizens.

The announcement prompted spontaneous celebrations in the streets of New York and the nation’s capital, the cities where more than 3,000 died when the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were struck by the airliners commandeered by the 9/11 terrorists in a plot masterminded by bin Laden.

If it was not surprising that the raid that led to his death came in Pakistan, the circumstances surrounding the raid were. Bin Laden’s lair was not in the notorious tribal lands of Pakistan’s mountainous northwest border region. He was found, instead, in mid-sized city just an hour’s drive north of Pakistan’s capital, residing in a high-walled compound close to both a Pakistani military academy and a large military base.

Final preparations for the raid on the compound were reviewed in the White House by intelligence, military and administration officials in a series of five meetings beginning in mid-March, all chaired by President Obama. He signed off on the raid last Friday morning just before he left to see the tornado damage in Alabama. Once Obama received word of the mission’s success, he called his predecessor — George W. Bush — to inform him of bin Laden’s demise.

The irony of the mission’s success is striking on several levels. Bush announced the hunt for bin Laden, but quickly shifted his war focus from Afghanistan to a complicated and needless war in Iraq, where bin Laden then had no adherents and al-Qaida no base. Bush’s efforts to capture or kill bin Laden never paid off. It was Obama, who took office promising to “kill” bin Laden, who reorganized and re-energized the intelligence infrastructure and made the hunt for bin Laden a top priority.

Obama’s critics, moreover, have charged that his foreign policy and anti-terrorism policies were weak. In fact, he has proved far more willing than Bush to prod Pakistan to quit its under-handed support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, and to keep searching in Pakistan for bin Laden despite that country’s insistence that bin Laden was not there.

The nature of the raid underscored Obama’s focus on both goals. He has pursued an intensive campaign of drone attacks on suspected Taliban retreats in Pakistan despite Pakistani resentment. And he wisely withheld information from Pakistan’s two-faced government about the raid on bin Laden’s hideout until it was over.

Though some Obama critics now may be likely to question the proof that bin Laden was killed because his body was quickly buried at sea, DNA proof is said to have confirmed his death. Burial of his body at sea seems wise; it deprives his followers of a shrine to terrorism.

Obama correctly emphasized, to be sure, that al-Qaida extremists may try to retaliate for the death of bin Laden. Yet bin Laden’s legacy of terrorism and his vision of re-creating a seventh century style of Islamic extremism never found wide purchase. Ordinary Muslims never embraced it. Indeed, al-Qaida actions have killed far more Muslims than the extremists ever converted to their warped cause.

The revolutions and protests for democratic reform in Muslim lands across the Middle East in recent months, moreover, have demonstrably invalidated bin Laden’s vision. Political and individual liberties, not radical extremism, are the evident goal of ordinary Muslims.

Bin Laden’s extremism never resonated. Bringing him to justice is the end he deserved.

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librul said...

Few have the right to speak to this event with more authority than Chris Hedges.

May 3, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Oh yeah, President Obama raised the gun, wait, no he raised the gum and watched as someone else did the dangerous work. It was not Obama but our elite Military forces and an organization you on the left side of the paper disdain who got the needed information and got Osama.

May 3, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.

Thank you Barry Obama for giving the go ahead, cutting short your golf game, and staying out of the way. If that's what you call "gets" then fine.

May 3, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.
Legend said...

The above morons are ignorant beyond reason. What leader of any country has ever personally gone after the bad guy or guys of another country? That IS and always has been the job of the military. Otherwise why bother to even have a military? Of which any U.S. president is the COMMANDER IN CHIEF! Just pretend it was Bush, Rumsfelder or Cheney, then you'll feel good heaping on the praise. F&^%! IDIOTS!

Did your then president personally go after Hitler? FOOLS!

May 3, 2011 at 2:56 p.m.
Sailorman said...

Quoted from another forum - I like it:

"I am comforted by the fact that Osama heard the helicopters coming. He heard the gunfire getting closer. He heard the door being breached and the orders being given in english.

In the end, I am comforted by the fact that he knew it was an American fighting man who was about to put a bullet in his head.

Obama's small part in this is irrelevant to me."

May 3, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.
librul said...

Osama bin Laden was nothing more than the equivalent of a Pit Bulldog adopted at a young age whose purpose was to intimidate the neighbors. In the Middle East, his usefullness was used to help drive out Russian intruders in Afghanistan where we might want to put in oil pipelines or mine rare-earth minerals or establish military bases to expand our burgeoning empire. Then, when the Russians gave up on their ill-fated conquest, we thought we could just leave the country in rubble and say "so long suckers" until we "needed" it.

Well, the bulldog then came to realize that his "owner" was no different than the other intruders since we were proceeding to establish bases and put boots on the ground all around the Middle East. So as they so often do, the Pit Bull turned and attacked. After which, jingo idiocy ensued and the frat boy from Texas and his neocon handlers led us into the interventionist swamp where we remain mired today with whole packs of Pit Bulls closing in.

Face it - our economy is prostrate, we are in debt up to our ears, our country runs on oil most of which is owned by the Pit Bulls; we are regarded quite rightly more as a nation of selfish, fat, lazy, arrogant, greedy, bullies who think they own the world. Look around, the world is becoming a dog-fighting ring and we are in the middle of it with whole countries in the bleachers cheering on those who hope to chew us to pieces.

And what addle-brained idiot was it who adopted and paid for the Pit Bull? That senile ideologue Ronald Reagan. He's left us with a "trickle down" effect allright - only it's blood, not money.

May 4, 2011 at 11:53 a.m.
chet123 said...

dont break the hearts of these haters...oh St Ronnie...his own son (Ronald ReaganJR)cant support his phoniness...the original protector of rich and greedy...trickle down lol lol it was a trick alright

May 4, 2011 at 6:26 p.m.
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