The news is spreading around the nation and the world. If you did not hear about it on Sunday night, you’ll be hearing about it now. Osama bin Laden is dead — killed in a CIA-led raid by Navy SEALs. After nearly ten years since the 9-11 attacks, America can take a bit of comfort knowing that the leader of al-Qaida has been brought to justice.
As reported in the Associated Press story on GOPUSA, U.S. intelligence officials learned that bin Laden was living inside Pakistan — not in some cave, but in a fortified compound literally in plain sight in the town of Abbottobad.
U.S. helicopters ferrying elite counter-terrorism troops into the compound identified by the CIA as bin Laden’s hideout — and back out again in less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden was shot in the head, officials said, after he and his bodyguards resisted the assault.
Three adult males were also killed in the raid, including one of bin Laden’s sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden’s sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaida. U.S. officials also said one woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant, and two other women were injured.
In remarks made late Sunday night from the White House, Barack Obama informed America of the death of bin Laden.
Obama noted that years of intelligence gathering had led to a break-through lead in August. Osama bin Laden’s location was finally determined, and Obama ordered the attack on Friday. Poor weather delayed the Saturday attack until Sunday, but the mission was accomplished.
Notable in Obama’s comments was the constant reference to America’s “war against al-Qaida.” Never did he mention a war against terror, and certainly he didn’t mention that all of this terror is from followers of radical Islam. In fact, Obama, gave the obligatory reassurance that “the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam.” I’m not exactly sure for whom that message is intended. Peaceful Muslims? Will they start hating us if he doesn’t say it? Or perhaps radical jihadists? Maybe they will stop their quest to destroy America if he makes nice?
In any case, it’s a great day for America, and the reaction speaks volumes.
Former President George W. Bush: 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.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney: The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of American forces is a victory for the United States and a tremendous achievement for the military and intelligence professionals who carried out this important mission. Their tireless work since 9/11 has made this achievement possible, and enabled us to capture or kill thousands of al Qaeda terrorists and many of their leaders. I also want to congratulate President Obama and the members of his national security team. At this moment when bin Laden has been brought to justice, we especially remember the sacrifice of the young Americans who’ve paid the ultimate price in defense of the nation, as well as the nearly 3000 Americans who lost their lives on 9/11.
House Speaker John Boehner: 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.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: Families who lost loved ones at the hands of Bin Laden and his terrorist organization have grieved for far too long and this sends a signal that America will not tolerate terrorism in any form. The men and women of our armed forces and intelligence community have fought valiantly for the last decade and this is a major victory and testament to their dedication. I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice. While this is no doubt a major event in our battle against terrorism, we will not relent in our fight against terror and our efforts to keep America safe and secure.
It should be noted that the death of bin Laden could not have been possible without first learning details about one of bin Laden’s most trusted couriers. Initial information about this courier was obtained by interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Remember those? Those “terrible” interrogation techniques taking place at the horrible place known as Guantanamo Bay. This is the prison facility that Obama vowed to shut down. It is through this intelligence that bin Laden is now dead.
America should certainly hold its head up high. A fight was taken to us, and we have shown our resolve. It is a special day. After personally seeing Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, I have waited for this day along with all of America. If you attack us, you will pay the price. The war continues, and yes, it is a war against more than al-Qaida, but along the way, there will be victories. This was one of them.