Honestly, I was hoping to do a big hard news article using several sources and recounting much of the history of the U.S hunt for Osama Bin Laden, news of the raid, and how it affected U.S policy over the last ten years, but I forgot to save the post.
Hopefully this much more modest and personal post will suffice.
As we all know, late Sunday night President Barack Obama in a televised address from the East Room of the White House, announced that Al-Queda mastermind Osama Bin Laden was killed in a U.S raid. News on the death of Osama Bin Laden is no doubt on the minds of many today. And in a time of high unemployment, near $4.00 a gallon gas, trends painting a grim picture of America’s future, and extremely unpopular wars; there was dare I say a malaise. A feeling that nothing has gone right. Yes, we all needed to know that amidst the diminished expectations and grim forecasts that seem to lay ahead for America, we can still accomplish great things.
For nearly a decade many have waited for the moment when news of Bin Laden’s capture or death would be released, and Sunday night that time came. The time when those who lost loved ones on 9/11, in the two wars that 9/11 had spawned in Iraq and Afghanistan and have cost us so much in lives and money; that moment arrived last night.
From the details about this operation that have been divulged, it seems it was by no means a guarentee that all would work out as sucessfully as it had. It easily could have been a well-intended seemingly fool proof plan that once carried out, would all unravel with troop casualties in something reminiscent of the Desert One fiasco back in 1980, when a similar operation was launched to rescue the U.S hostages held in Iran, that resulted in a helicopter downed by strong winds and the deaths ofs everal troops. We should all be thankful it went as triumphant as we had with no U.S and few civilian casualties.
Celebrations occurred outside the White House, in New York City, and locally on the campus of UMASS, with spontaneous widespread celebration not seen since Obama’s election in 2008.
The threat though has not vanished. Security measures are tightening in many cities as some Al-Queda members and thier janizaries have vowed revenge. But that sense that justice will be served and that America if it puts its power and might behind any task, a feeling that many Americans began to disbelieve was resurrected Sunday night.
That announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s death will likely not end our fight and struggle with terrorism, but it was is and will be in the anals of history be defining moment in our national story and the story of the first decade of the 21st century. We now look forward into the ages, always vigilant like watchmen of the peace but a little more optimistic than we were on Sunday morning.
Below are reactions from high profile officials.
“History will record that bin Ladin’s death came at a time of great movements toward freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations. There is no better rebuke to al-Qaeda and its heinous ideology.
“All over the world we will press forward, bolstering our partnerships, strengthening our networks, investing in a positive vision of peace and progress, and relentlessly pursuing the murderers who target innocent people. The fight continues, and we will never waver. Now I know there are some who doubted this day would ever come, who questioned our resolve and our reach. But let us remind ourselves, this is America. We rise to the challenge, we persevere, and we get the job done.
“I am reminded especially today of the heroism and humanity that marked the difficult days after 9/11. In New York, where I was a senator, our community was devastated; but we pulled through. Ten years later, that American spirit remains as powerful as ever, and it will continue to prevail. So this is a day, not only for Americans, but also for people all over the world who look to a more peaceful and secure future — yes, with continued vigilance, but more so with growing hope and renewed faith in what is possible.Sen.
“The people of the world can feel relief and satisfaction that a monster has been brought to justice. Justice has a long memory and a long arm.
“I stand in awe and appreciation of the men and women of our military and our intelligence community, who have once again demonstrated their amazing courage and competence. Their heroism is a stark contrast to bin Laden, who while sending his underlings to die or huddle in mountain caves has been living in the comfort of a villa in Pakistan. Surely this will help puncture the myth of Osama bin Laden.
“This is a great victory in the fight against terrorism. But it is not the final victory.
“These events also bring back to us the pain of the terrible loss we suffered on Sept. 11, 2001, and of the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have been lost or wounded in the years since. It is their heroism, and not bin Laden’s hatred, that endures.”
“The killing of Osama bin Laden closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world. We are a nation of peace and laws, and people everywhere should understand that our ten-year manhunt was in search of justice not revenge. Terrorists everywhere must never doubt that the United States will hunt them down no matter where they are, no matter how long it takes.
“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women of our intelligence agencies and our military for their tireless dedication and enormous sacrifice to bring justice to a man responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11 and thousands more men, women, and children around the world.
“I commend President Obama and his national security team for never forgetting the need to secure justice for those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago and for those who have lost their lives in the war against extremism that continues today.
“A single death does not end the threat from Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups. We must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the world safe and secure.”
“Ten years after Osama bin Laden murdered nearly three thousand innocent men, women and children, justice has been served. Our courageous counter-terror professionals risked their lives to rid the world this mass murderer. The United States has rid the world of the mastermind of 9/11. But the fight against Al Qa’ida does not end with the death of its leader. The effort continues and we remain committed to fighting terrorism in any form. We should be grateful to the extraordinary troops and intelligence professionals who have pursued bin Laden and everyone else who would do us harm. Let us thank those who serve our nation for the sacrifices they make for our — and the world’s — safety and security. Tonight and always, our thoughts and prayers are with the families whose loved ones were taken away by bin Laden.”
“Late last night we learned the news we’d been longing to hear since the worst morning in our memory: an American operation brought Osama bin Laden to justice.
“This was an American mission – ordered by President Obama and accomplished by America’s brave and brilliant military and intelligence professionals.
“Last night’s news stunned the world – but this operation’s success should surprise no one. America’s special forces and intelligence operatives are the best – the best trained, the best equipped, the best led. Every day of every year, they risk their lives for our sake, for our safety.
“They are the most professional and proficient forces on the planet, and yesterday they brought down the most wanted mass murderer on Earth.
“Their success is the most significant victory yet in our fight against Al Qaeda and terrorism. It sends a strong and unmistakable message to terrorists who threaten our country, our people and our interests.
“This success is a direct result of President Obama’s leadership, from the national-security priorities he outlined when he took office to the green light he gave our forces this weekend.
“President Obama insisted that we refocus on Afghanistan and Pakistan as the central battlefields in our fight against terrorism. Those tremendous military, diplomatic, intelligence and economic efforts are the reason we woke up this morning in a world that is no longer home to Osama bin Laden.
“But the end of his life is not the end of this fight. Yesterday’s operation is indeed a measure of justice. But it is only one measure of justice. It absolutely is a definitive victory, but it does not define absolute victory.
“America welcomes the success of our fellow citizens’ extraordinary mission. Even as we breathe a sigh of relief, though, we are not relieved of our duty to be vigilant, to be persistent, to defeat our enemy and to make our nation stronger.
“The leader of Al Qaeda is gone, but his organization is not. We know our enemy is widespread and motivated – and the truth is, it may be more motivated today than it was yesterday.
“Our troops continue to fight. Our intelligence professionals continue to work. Their families continue to sacrifice. We continue to support all of them, and each other.
“We also pause today to once again lend a shoulder to those whose grief never ends – not with time, not with bin Laden’s demise, not ever.
“This significant measure of justice is but a small measure of comfort to those who lost loved ones at bin Laden’s direction – in America and around the world, in New York and Virginia and Pennsylvania, aboard the U.S.S. Cole, at American embassies in Africa, on trains in London and Madrid, and in so many other places.
“Bin Laden’s death does not bring back the thousands of innocent people his thugs killed, or make whole families that will forever be incomplete.
“But it is an important milestone that reminds the world America does not suffer the wicked and will not submit to evil. Our resolve is strengthened when it is challenged, and our unity – though it, too, is often tested – is unbreakable.
“Because of the hard work of courageous Americans in our military, intelligence, diplomatic and law-enforcement communities, a long and painful chapter in our nation’s history closed yesterday. Today we welcome a spring of new optimism and renewed patriotism.
“The chapter now behind us ended with justice. We hope the chapter ahead of us will bring security and peace.
“While the nation and the world absorb this crucial development, the work of the Senate continues.
“Today we begin a new month and a new work period and a new opportunity to come together to create jobs.
“I hope this month will be a productive one. There are several important and time-sensitive items on our plate.
“One, I hope to wrap up the small-business jobs bill. This has been on the floor for far too long, and we need to resolve it so we can move on to other matters.
“Two, we will have the same debate in the Senate that the American people are having at home. That is the question of whether we should keep giving away money to oil companies who clearly don’t need taxpayer handouts. That will be part of a larger debate we will continue having about how best to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and invest better and smarter in clean energy.
“Three, we will vote on the House-passed budget. A majority of the House has embraced it, a majority of the American people has rejected it, and the Senate will soon have its say, too.
“Finally, we will confirm judicial nominees, many of whom have waited too long for the Senate to act. If the minority forces us to file cloture on these nominees in order to get to a final vote, I will file cloture. We cannot waste any more time or play these games any longer. The country needs these empty benches filled.
“We also have other nominations to confirm, including the Attorney General’s top deputy, Jim Cole.
“The Deputy Attorney General runs the day-to-day operations of the Department of Justice. He also is the person who signs the critical warrants that permit our intelligence officials to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists. But he can’t do that unless the Senate confirms him – so we must do that soon.
“Especially given last night’s developments, it is unthinkable that partisanship and legislative ploys are keeping a well-qualified nominee out of this important national-security role.
“A moment ago we began this remarkable new day in the Senate the same way we begin every day in session: with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. Its closing words were the powerful closing words of President Obama’s address to the nation last night, and their meaning is even more profound today, the first day of this new era.
“Those words – ‘liberty and justice for all’ – represent America’s purpose. This weekend, in the name and pursuit of liberty, heroic Americans halfway around the world secured justice – for an evil man’s victims, for the survivors of his terror, for Americans, for our allies and for the entire world. Liberty and justice, for all.”
“Today, Americans and all who long for justice woke to the news: nearly 10 years after the United States set out to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden, justice has been done. The man who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks and who reveled in the horror of that day is dead. And those who follow his twisted vision are again on notice: America is in pursuit.
“This was a long time coming.
“For two decades, Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network he created, sustained, and led has been at war with the United States. The path of terror extended from the first World Trade Center bombing to the bombing of the Khobar Towers and the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, to the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, to the horrors of 9/11, and through two long and difficult wars that followed.
“9/11 may have been the day that this pattern of violence became suddenly and undeniably clear. But bin Laden’s destructive path was already long by then, and for the past 10 years, America has been determined to bring this monster to justice.
“From the beginning of this fight, the mission has been clear: to deny Al Qaeda and any of its affiliates around the world a sanctuary from which they could plan, prepare, or launch another attack on U.S. soil. And the effort to prevent that long-feared attack has been an undeniable success under two administrations in the ongoing War on Terror.
“And yet a few short years after 9/11 Al Qaeda had regained enough strength to once again pose a serious threat to the United States.
“Meanwhile, the Taliban had reestablished its headquarters in Pakistan and had gained enough strength to return to Afghanistan and to risk the success of our mission there.
“And as the years went by, Osama bin Laden’s ability to elude capture had become a greater source of frustration to us, and a source of propaganda to his followers.
“Over the years, Americans had become all too familiar with bin Laden’s dark pronouncements — from his perverse declaration three years before 9/11 that it was the obligation of every Muslim `to kill and fight Americans and their allies, whether civilian or military in any country,’ to his declaration after 9/11 that he had calculated the number of innocents he could kill that morning, and that he was the most optimistic planner of them all.
“Last night, those proud pronouncements ended at the barrel of a gun. The last thing Osama bin Laden saw on this earth was the small team of Americans who shot him.
“So Americans can be proud of the efforts of our military and intelligence communities, and the focused efforts of two administrations in fighting Al Qaeda, and now, in capturing, its self-appointed leader. This is indeed a signal achievement, a huge victory in the war against terrorism, and a day of great pride for our country. The President made the right call, and we thank him for it.
“We can never bring back those who died on 9/11, or those who have given their lives in this long and difficult war. But all Americans can say with renewed confidence today that we have kept our pledge, and that this is a war we will win.
“Some will recall that Osama bin Laden launched this war many years ago on the false assumption that America didn’t have the stomach for the fight. And while it may have taken longer than we hoped, last night he and his followers learned just how wrong he was. We take great satisfaction in knowing that Osama bin Laden will no longer be able to carry out his evil plans, that he has made his last video, and that whenever someone suggests that the U.S. has grown weary and complacent in this war, we have shown how determined we are to fight it to the end.
“History is full of fallen despots and madmen who underestimated the resolve of the United States of America. Last night we added one more to their ranks.
“But we don’t rest, because we know Al Qaeda’s determination to attack the United States didn’t end on September 11th, 2001. And it didn’t end last night.
“We continue the fight, knowing that Al Qaeda remains committed to attacking our homeland and our allies. We were reminded of this just last week, when police in Germany arrested three men associated with Al Qaeda who were planning an attack there.
“Since the very beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, we have matched the terrorist threat with the valor of our armed services and counterterrorism professionals. The men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center have unselfishly devoted themselves to preventing attacks against us, and in hunting down bin Laden. Last night their determined efforts met with success. And we’re deeply grateful for their efforts.
“As for the broader war, the death of bin Laden may create the opportunity to renew our efforts with Pakistan to bring fresh pressure on Al Qaeda’s senior leadership. President Obama noted in his remarks of last night that it is essential for Pakistan to join us in this fight. Today is the day to redouble our efforts in pursuit of al Qaeda.
“In the coming weeks and months, these same counter terrorism professionals will focus on determining what bin Laden’s death means for the threat posed by Al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, Yemen, North Africa, and for the remainder of Al Qaeda’s senior leadership.
“But today, the world knows once again that wherever Al Qaeda lurks, we will find them. It may not be days from now. It may not be months. But those who plot harm to innocent Americans and our allies will be captured or killed. For them too, justice will be done.
“Anyone who lived through the horror of 9/11 remembers exactly where they were on that terrible September day. Now they will remember where they were when they first heard the news that the man behind it had been killed by brave American forces inside Pakistan. We’ll remember where we were when, after years of effort, we finally got our man.
“America didn’t seek this fight. It came to us. But ever since 9/11, we’ve been determined to fight Al Qaeda to the end. We knew from the start it would require patience and great sacrifice. And that effort has paid off. Thanks to the skill and perseverance of many brave men and women, we have done what we said. America has not wavered. It has not lost sight of the mission. And we will prevail.”
“This is a great day for America and our allies across the free world. Osama Bin Laden has finally gotten the justice he deserved. I commend President Obama, former President Bush and the highly capable men and women in our military and intelligence community whose tireless work over the last decade made this day possible. It is also a time to reflect on the victims of 9/11 and their families, as well as those who have died across the world fighting terrorism. Let this be a lesson that there is no sanctuary in the world for America’s enemies.”
|“This is a historic event that serves as proof that the United States will not tolerate the random and indiscriminate killing of human beings by anyone. I salute the intelligence community and our military forces for their tireless work in successfully carrying out this mission. Osama bin Laden has been the face of global terrorism for many years, and we must now build on his death to reduce terrorism around the world. This will take continued preparedness, resiliency, resourcefulness, international cooperation, and diplomacy. I will work with President Obama and congressional leaders as we take additional steps to reduce terrorism.”|
Congressman Richard Neal (D- MA 2): (statement to wwlp)
“The American people need to remain vigilant, as I’ve indicated, this is but a short-term victory in what is a long-term confrontation with those who would do great harm to America. So we can not afford to let down our guard,” Neal said.
“This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world. We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people. I want to congratulate — and thank — the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success. I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.”
“The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaeda. I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. It is a testament to the professionalism of our dedicated national security professionals that no American lives were lost in this operation.
“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I hope that today’s action provides some comfort to the 9/11 families who lost loved ones in the devastating attacks on our shores.
“Though the death of Osama bin Laden is historic, it does not diminish our relentless pursuit of terrorists who threaten our country.”
Fmr President George W .Bush- (via the Houston Chronicle):
“Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden,” Bush said in a statement released late Sunday.
Bush said he congratulated President Obama and the U.S. forces “who devoted their lives to this mission” to find bin Laden.
“This momentous achievement marks a victory for America,” Bush said.
The former president said Obama and American forces “have our everlasting gratitude.”
But he warned that bin Laden’s death does not end what he famously named the “Global War on Terror.”
The fight against terror goes on,” Bush said, “but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
Fmr. President Bill Clinton- (via the ‘State Column’):
“I congratulate the President, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaida attacks.”
The National Review has this roundup of reaction from many of the 2010 Republican hopefuls:
This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere.
Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the
president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden’s many
thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid
down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.
This is terrific news for freedom and justice. In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice — and we did. I want to congratulate America’s armed forces and President Obama for a job well done. Let history show that the perseverance of the US military and the American people never wavered. America will never shrink from the fight and ultimately those who seek to harm us face only defeat. Today, justice is done, but the fight against radical Islamic terrorism is not yet over.
“I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done,” Trump said in a statement to ABC News.
I am so proud to see Americans standing shoulder to shoulder, waving the American flag in celebration of this great victory,” he added. “We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those currently fighting for our freedom. God Bless America!”
Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring Bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy.
This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda’s other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world.
May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America!
“It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama Bin Laden is dead. The leader of Al Qaeda— responsible for the deaths of 3000 innocent citizens on September 11, 2001, and whose maniacal hate is responsible for the deaths of thousands of US servicemen and women was killed by U.S. military. President Obama confirmed the announcement late last night. DNA tests confirmed his death and his body is in the possession of the U. S.
It has taken a long time for this monster to be brought to justice. Welcome to hell, bin Laden. Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over that the United States will be relentless in tracking down and terminating those who would inflict terror, mayhem and death on any of our citizens.”
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence community. Their persistence and dedicated service has yielded success in a mission that has gripped our nation since the terrible events of 9/11. Tonight’s news does not bring back the lives of the thousands of innocent people who were killed that day by Osama bin Laden’s horrific plan, and it does not end the threat posed by terrorists, but it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism.”
“This is extraordinary news for all freedom loving people of the world, and I commend all those involved for this historic triumph. Americans have waited nearly ten years for the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. And while this is a very significant objective that cannot be minimized, the threat from Jihadism does not die with bin Laden. As we were vigilant in taking him out we need to demonstrate we will continue to be vigilant until the enemy has been subdued.”
The killing of Osama bin Laden is a significant victory in the long struggle between radical Islamists and modern civilization.
This victory is a tribute to the patient endurance of American justice. I commend both President George W. Bush who led the campaign against our enemies through seven long years and President Obama who continued and intensified the campaign in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We should remember to thank those who made this possible. Without the courage and professionalism of our men and women in uniform and in the intelligence services, this victory would not have been achieved.
This victory is only a milestone in a long war. We must also recognize the long struggle ahead. Radical Islamism did not start with bin Laden and it will not end with his death. This is the 32nd year since the Iranian dictatorship seized our diplomats illegally and held them hostage for 444 days. It has been 28 years since Iranian-supported terrorists killed 241 servicemen in Beirut in 1983.
As long as there are schools teaching children to hate; as long as there are state-supported terrorist systems; as long as several countries actively recruit children to be suicide bombers; this war will continue.
The world is a better place without Osama bin Laden, but his just demise cannot erase the loss and suffering of the families and friends of those who died on September 11 or died fighting in the war since September 11. So while we are celebrating this victory, we should take time to remember all who suffered and sacrificed and pray for them.
“Our success in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice is a tribute to our entire intelligence and military infrastructure,” Huntsman said. “I applaud the President’s handling of the mission.”
Huntsman, a likely presidential candidate who arguably has more foreign policy experience than any other contender currently in the potential GOP field, returned to the U.S. this weekend after serving as the country’s top diplomat in Beijing.
“In Utah, the hardest part of my job was presiding over the funerals of our brave National Guard soldiers,” Huntsman, the former Republican governor of the state, said. “This is a reminder that the lives that have been lost fighting the War on Terror were not lost in vain. We are so grateful for their sacrifice and for the service of all our young men and women in the armed forces.”
Also interestingly enough, the Huffington Post has a photo gallery of tweets from celebrities on their reactions to Bin Laden’s death. As with everything celebrity related , they are on the bizarre side.
Update (05/03/11)- In the litany of reactions I posted to the death of Bin Laden, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) was reffered to as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Though Rockefeller previously held the Chairmanship, it is now Senator Dianne Fienstien (D-CA) who holds the chairmanship of that committee.