Helicopters descended out of darkness on the most important counterterrorism mission in U.S. history. It was an operation so secret, only a select few U.S. officials knew what was about to happen.
The location was a fortified compound in an affluent Pakistani town two hours outside Islamabad. The target was Osama bin Laden.
Intelligence officials discovered the compound in August while monitoring an al-Qaida courier. The CIA had been hunting that courier for years, ever since detainees told interrogators that the courier was so trusted by bin Laden that he might very well be living with the al-Qaida leader.
Nestled in an affluent neighborhood, the compound was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet, topped with barbed wire. Two security gates guarded the only way in. A third-floor terrace was shielded by a seven-foot privacy wall. No phone lines or Internet cables ran to the property. The residents burned their garbage rather than put it out for collection. Intelligence officials believed the million-dollar compound was built five years ago to protect a major terrorist figure. The question was, who?
The CIA asked itself again and again who might be living behind those walls. Each time, they concluded it was almost certainly bin Laden
Monday, May 2, 2011
At last, an Obama Administration initiative that I can get behind. A team of Navy SEALS has killed Osama Bin Laden
This is a great day, of course. (and I know that the hunt for Bin Laden was not an exclusive effort by the Obama administration. Far from it), but too long in coming. Hard to believe, but it's been nearly 10 years since 9/11. Should it really have taken so long to find this guy? We not only had missed opportunities on the battlefield. We had the entire left side of the American political spectrum working against the intelligence and military communities that were tasked with finding the Bin Laden needle in the Af-Pak haystack. Maybe that's just the way democracy works: it's messier than you might like. OK, but does fealty to democratic principles mean we had to listen to Dick Durbin and others call US troops "Nazis," among other scurrilous moments? Other reax:
1. Our military, especially the Special Forces, is one of the few institutions in American society that still works as advertised. That the Navy SEALS have to compete for funds with ACORN and Planned Parenthood is a sign of how far conservatives have to go to re-balance and re-organize the government.
2. Not sure how "gutsy" it was for Obama to make the call to kill Bin Laden - what else could he have done? - but give him a lot of credit for sending in a team to shoot Bin Laden in the head, rather than dump a Clintonesque pile of ordinance into his lap.
3. Bin Laden was a cartoon villain to the end. He ever used a woman as a human shield, just like Snidely Whiplash! Why didn't he tie her to the railroad tracks?
4. Would I have preferred that Bin Laden had been killed during the Bush-Cheney years? Sure, but sometimes things don't work out that way. We can take grim satisfaction in seeing the Left's "constitution shredders" celebrate a killing that was brought about by the sort of enhanced interrogations and secret prisons that pompous leftists spent years actively working against .
5. I thought this USA Today headline was ... peculiar
First of all, there's the unfortunate Obama/Osama parallel. Then there's the peculiarly dismissive tone. "Obama says" Osama is dead? Was Obama alone in taking this singular position? Did Bin Laden issue a denial? A simple "Death Of Bin Laden" headline would have been more appropriate.
6. We may be close to going through the looking glass in our relationships with many Muslim nations. Pakistan was harboring Bin Laden. Can there be any doubt about this? Some are already suggesting that there was never an al-Qaeda, but rather a series of front groups for the ISI and other Middle Eastern intelligence services.
7. What a peculiar life Bin Laden led. After a few years attacking US interests, and then inspiring the greatest ever act of terrorism on American soil, he spent a couple years on the run, gamely carrying on the Hassan i Sabbah "Man In The Mountains" role, before retiring to his Pakistani mansion/compound. What did he do all day? Raise pigeons? He certainly wasn't fomenting further terrorist activity.
8. As with the end of the Cold War, liberals are standing around taking credit for a result they largely resisted every step of the way.
9. Buried at sea????? In accordance with Islamic Law???? Did the Obamites have Islamic burial rites confused with a Viking funeral? This was the one fiasco in this affair. We should have at least displayed the body to (1) deflate the Osama Myth and (2) show proof of death. We've missed both chances.
10. Is this the end of the war of terror? Dunno, but it sure feels like something has come to an end.