By Bonnie K. Goodman
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:
STATS & POLLS
- For Obama, Big Rise in Poll Numbers After Bin Laden Raid: Support for President Obama rose sharply after the killing of Osama bin Laden, with a majority now approving of his overall job performance, as well as his handling of foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The glow of national pride seemed to rise above partisan politics, as support for the president rose significantly among both Republicans and independents. In all, 57 percent said they now approved of the president’s job performance, up from 46 percent last month.
But euphoria was tempered by a sense of foreboding: more than six in 10 Americans said that killing Bin Laden was likely to increase the threat of terrorism against the United States in the short term. A large majority also said that the Qaeda leader’s death did not make them feel any safer. Just 16 percent said they personally felt more safe now…. – NYT, 5-5-11
- The Partisan Divide Over Who Gets Credit for Osama bin Laden’s Death: Who deserves the most credit for Osama bin Laden’s death? It depends whom you ask, and different partisan groups are answering the question differently. Predictably, Democrats give more credit to President Obama, while Republicans prefer to credit his predecessor, former President George W. Bush…. – The Atlantic, 5-4-11
- Overnight Polls Find Muted Improvement in Obama’s Approval Rating: In the parlor game to predict the magnitude of improvement in President Obama’s approval rating after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the weight of the evidence is with the skeptics so far. The poll receiving the most attention is a Pew Research/Washington Post survey. It shows a 9-point improvement in Mr. Obama’s approval rating — to 55 percent from 46 percent — based on polling conducted yesterday.
Other polls show more marginal gains for Mr. Obama, however. A CNN/Opinion Research survey shows Mr. Obama’s approval at 52 percent — up from just 1 point from polling conducted earlier in the weekend, and 4 points from a poll conducted in late April. A Daily Beast/Newsweek poll, conducted by Douglas E. Schoen, LLC, showed no improvement in his numbers, with his approval rating at 48 percent both before and after news of the killing. An automated poll by SurveyUSA has Mr. Obama’s approval rating at 46 percent, and one by InsiderAdvantage has it at 48 percent, although they provide no recent baseline for comparison.
On average across the five surveys conducted entirely since Bin Laden’s death, Mr. Obama’s approval rating is 50 percent, and his disapproval rating is 46 percent. By comparison, Mr. Obama’s numbers had been roughly the reverse of that — 45 percent approving, and 50 percent disapproving — based on polls conducted before Sunday night, according to the Pollster.com trendline…. – NYT, 5-3-11
- Obama: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead: Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain in his luxury hideout in Pakistan early Monday in a firefight with U.S. forces, ending a manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade.
“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama said in a dramatic announcement at the White House. A jubilant crowd of thousands gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden’s death. Hundreds more sang and waved American flags at Ground Zero in New York — where the twin towers that once stood as symbols of American economic power were brought down by bin Laden’s hijackers 10 years ago…. – AP, 5-1-11
- Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says: Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced.
In a dramatic late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea.
The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the Ground Zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” In New York City, crowds sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night.
“For over two decades, Bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” the president said in a statement televised around the world. “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”… – NYT, 5-1-11
- Official: Bin Laden buried at sea: A U.S. official says Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea. After bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan, senior administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said. Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea…. – AP, 5-1-11
- Joyous Americans gather to mark bin Laden death: Joyous at the release of a decade’s frustration, Americans streamed to the site of the World Trade Center, the gates of the White House and smaller but no less jubilant gatherings across the nation to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden — cheering, waving flags and belting the national anthem. Ground zero, more familiar these past 10 years for bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” and solemn speeches and arguments over what to build to honor the Sept. 11 dead, became, for the first time, a place of revelry…. – AP, 5-1-11
- How U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden: The mission that killed one of the world’s most notorious terrorist leaders was carried out by U.S. forces with the cooperation of Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday night.
Osama bin Laden – the longtime leader of al Qaeda – was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion about 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad along with other family members, a senior U.S. official told CNN.
Members of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, were on site in Abbottabad during the operation, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said.
Bin Laden resisted the assault and was killed in a firefight, senior administration officials said…. – CNN, 5-2-11
- US: Islamic procedure followed in bin Laden burial: The Pentagon says Osama bin Laden’s body was placed into the waters of the North Arabian Sea after adhering to traditional Islamic procedures — including washing the corpse — aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson…. The intelligence official also said that DNA analysis on Monday provided certainty that the body was that of bin Laden…. – AP, 5-2-11
- President’s Vow Fulfilled: President Obama’s announcement late Sunday that Osama bin Laden had been killed delivered not only a long-awaited prize to the United States, but also a significant victory for Mr. Obama, whose foreign policy has been the subject of persistent criticism by his rivals.
In his 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Obama bluntly declared, “We will kill Bin Laden.” But as time passed, Bin Laden’s name had gradually fallen out of presidential speeches and the political discourse, raising concern from critics that Mr. Obama’s administration was not sufficiently focused on the fight against terrorism.
In delivering the news from the East Room of the White House, as jubilant crowds gathered outside waving American flags and cheering, Mr. Obama did not address his critics or gloat about his trophy. He instead used the moment to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to issue a new call for national unity.
“Let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” Mr. Obama said. “I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”
Bin Laden’s death is certainly one of the most significant and defining moments of Mr. Obama’s presidency. It allows him to claim the biggest national security victory in a decade — something that eluded President George W. Bush for nearly eight years — and instantly burnishes his foreign policy credentials at a time when he has been questioned about his decisions on the Middle East. The gravity of the moment was impossible to minimize. At ground zero, in baseball stadiums and on college campuses across the country, elation erupted as though a war had been won.
Mr. Obama called Mr. Bush on Sunday evening to tell him that Bin Laden had been killed. Shortly after Mr. Obama’s announcement at the White House, Mr. Bush issued a statement congratulating his successor, saying, “No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”… – NYT, 5-1-11
- Obituary | Osama bin Laden, 1957-2011 The Most Wanted Face of Terrorism: Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan on Sunday, was a son of the Saudi elite whose radical, violent campaign to recreate a seventh-century Muslim empire redefined the threat of terrorism for the 21st century.
As the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, here in video recorded in 2001, waged a terror war against the United States.
With the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, Bin Laden was elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin. He was a new national enemy, his face on wanted posters, gloating on videotapes, taunting the United States and Western civilization.
“Do you want Bin Laden dead?” a reporter asked President George W. Bush six days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I want him — I want justice,” the president answered. “And there’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, Wanted: Dead or Alive.'”
It took nearly a decade before that quest finally ended in Pakistan with the death of Bin Laden during a confrontation with American forces, who attacked a compound where officials said he had been hiding…. – NYT, 5-1-11
- Osama bin Laden killed: How the world is reacting: Western leaders and Arab citizens alike said that Osama bin Laden’s death is an important symbolic victory, but does not signal an end to the threat of terrorism in the West…. – CS Monitor, 5-2-11
- Amid Cheers, a Message: ‘They Will Be Caught': In the midnight darkness, the crowds gathered, chanting and cheering, waving American flags, outside the front gates of the White House. In Times Square, tourists poured out of nearby hotels and into the streets early Monday morning to celebrate with strangers. And in the shadow of the World Trade Center site, as the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing by American special forces spread, a police car drove north on Church Street blaring the sound of bagpipes from open windows. Officers raised clenched fists in the air.
President Obama’s stunning announcement Sunday night about the death of the terrorist who had eluded capture for almost 10 years produced an outpouring of emotion around the world, from political figures and citizens alike.
“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,” said former President George W. Bush in a statement. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose city bore the brunt of the 9/11 attack, issued a statement saying: “The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation — and a tribute to the millions of men and women in our armed forces and elsewhere who have fought so hard for our nation. “New Yorkers have waited nearly 10 years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.”
Former President Bill Clinton said in a statement that this was a “profoundly important moment.” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York called the killing of Bin Laden “a major step in our country’s efforts to defeat terrorism.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said it was “a resounding triumph for justice.”… – NYT, 5-1-11
- >Clinton: Bin Laden’s death doesn’t end war on terror: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that the U.S. message to al-Qaeda remains the same today, but it “might have even greater resonance” in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death. “You cannot defeat us,” Clinton said at the State Department. She urged al-Qaeda members to renounce the terror organization and back U.S. efforts to stop violence against innocents.
Clinton said bin Laden’s death was a milestone in the war on terrorism, but stressed that the “battle to stop al-Qaeda and its syndicate of terror” is not over. She said the operation to find and kill bin Laden nearly a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks showed the U.S. would never abandon its pursuit of justice. And, she said the U.S. would continue to boost its counterterrorism cooperation with other nations, including Pakistan…. – USA Today, 5-2-11
- Osama bin Laden killed near Pakistan’s West Point. Was he really hidden?: The world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, was not hiding in a cave along the lawless border with Afghanistan, as many believed. Instead, US forces killed him 75 miles north of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad…. – CS Monitor, 5-2-11
- Bin Laden: How They Got Him — And What Happens to al Qaeda Now: The reports started coming in more than a month ago: Osama bin Laden was on the move, and the U.S. had its eye on him. Stressed by the turmoil sweeping his part of the world – tumult he had no roll in sparking – bin Laden was trying to bolster al Qaeda’s credibility as young people Tweeted and Facebooked about a future that didn’t involve him, or al Qaeda. Surprisingly, he didn’t die a standoff death from an unseen Predator drone, as most would have expected. Instead, a team of U.S. special-operations forces helicoptered into a high-walled compound deep inside Pakistan and killed him and four others in a firefight, including a son of bin Laden and a woman allegedly being used as a human shield.
Dispatching a joint Navy SEAL-CIA team of four choppers into Pakistan makes two things crystal clear: the U.S. believed its intelligence was solid, and it wanted proof he was dead; they wanted his corpse. One of the choppers involved in the raid malfunction and was destroyed; no U.S. personnel were injured in the operation, which lasted about 40 minutes. The whereabouts and fate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy, remain unknown. Whether bin Laden’s death sparks a spasm of violence – or marks the end of al Qaeda as a potent terror force – also remains unclear…. – Time, 5-2-11
- Obama’s remarkable 72-hour poker face: After giving the order to get Osama bin Laden, President Obama went about his duties without giving anything away
In a remarkable 72 hours of his presidency, Barack Obama carried a momentous secret and gave no hint of it as he consoled tornado victims, delivered a college commencement address and cracked jokes at a black-tie dinner. What few insiders knew was that Obama had given the go-ahead Friday for the military operation that would end with the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, target of the world’s most intense manhunt.
After giving his consent, Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia left the White House on a busy day of travel, with three stops in two states. In Alabama, one of several Southern states battered by fierce tornados, Obama assumed his role as consoler in chief as he and the first lady got an up-close look at communities in Tuscaloosa that had been flattened by the twisters…. – CBS News, 5-2-11
- Minute-by-minute: The operation to get bin Laden: Hours after receiving the go-ahead from President Barack Obama to perform a “surgical strike” on an expansive compound thought to house Osama bin Laden, helicopters descended out of the darkness into an affluent Pakistani neighborhood a few hours from Islamabad by car. Mr. Obama and his top advisors watched the action unfold in the Situation Room. “The minutes [in the Situation Room] passed like days,” said White House Counter Intelligence chief John Brennan at a press conference Monday. As the information from the operation flowed into the Situation Room on Sunday afternoon, the president exclaimed, “We got him,” based on what he was hearing and seeing. Bin Laden died on the scene, shot fatally in the chest and head. One official heard a commander on scene say, “Geronimo E-KIA.” Geronimo was the code name for Bin Laden; E-KIA is “enemy killed in action.”… – CBS News, 5-2-11
- First strands on bin Laden gathered in CIA prison: Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.
The news is sure to reignite debate over whether the now-closed interrogation and detention program was successful. Former president George W. Bush authorized the CIA to use the harshest interrogation tactics in U.S. history. President Barack Obama closed the prison system…. – AP, 5-2-11
- Bin Laden discovered ‘hiding in plain sight': Half an hour had passed on the ground, but the American commandos raiding Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hideaway had yet to find their long-sought target. Two of bin Laden’s protectors were already dead, shot by the Navy SEALs carrying out the raid, and one of the U.S. helicopters sat crippled in the courtyard. Pakistan’s military, which had been kept in the dark about the operation, was scrambling to respond to reports of explosions and gunfire at the one-acre compound. The commandos swept methodically through the compound’s main building, clearing one room and then another as they made their way to the upper floors where they expected to find bin Laden. As they did so, Obama administration officials in the White House Situation Room listened to the SEAL team’s conversations over secure lines.
“The minutes passed like days,” said John O. Brennan, the administration’s chief counterterrorism adviser. “It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time, I think, in the lives of the people who were assembled.” Finally, shortly before 2 a.m. in Pakistan, the commandos burst into an upstairs room. Inside, an armed bin Laden took cover behind a woman, Brennan said. With a burst of gunfire, one of the longest and costliest manhunts in modern history was over…. – WaPo, 5-2-11
- The next front: Claiming credit for Osama bin Laden’s death: The hunt for Osama bin Laden is over, but the quest for credit is just getting started. Just one day after the Navy SEALs’ daring raid, Democrats were already outlining plans to seize the opportunity to portray President Barack Obama as a decisive leader who should get full acclaim for green-lighting the assault that brought down bin Laden. But supporters of his predecessor, George W. Bush, are irked that the White House isn’t doing more to share the glory. The subtle but unmistakable jockeying provided a revealing glimpse into how official Washington thinks: Even in a rare moment of national unity, the political stakes provide a temptation – and even an imperative – for the parties to jostle for maximum advantage…. – Politico, 5-2-11
- How did U.S. confirm the body was bin Laden’s?: It took mere hours to confirm that the person killed in a compound near Pakistan’s capital was Osama bin Laden. How did officials know that the man who was shot in the head Sunday was really the world’s most wanted terrorist? Officials compared the DNA of the person killed at the Abbottabad compound with the bin Laden “family DNA” to determine that the 9/11 mastermind had in fact been killed, a senior administration official said…. – CNN, 5-2-11
- Behind the Hunt for Bin Laden: For years, the agonizing search for Osama bin Laden kept coming up empty. Then last July, Pakistanis working for the Central Intelligence Agency drove up behind a white Suzuki navigating the bustling streets near Peshawar, Pakistan, and wrote down the car’s license plate. The man in the car was Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, and over the next month C.I.A. operatives would track him throughout central Pakistan. Ultimately, administration officials said, he led them to a sprawling compound at the end of a long dirt road and surrounded by tall security fences in a wealthy hamlet 35 miles from the Pakistani capital. On a moonless night eight months later, 79 American commandos in four helicopters descended on the compound, the officials said. Shots rang out. A helicopter stalled and would not take off. Pakistani authorities, kept in the dark by their allies in Washington, scrambled forces as the American commandos rushed to finish their mission and leave before a confrontation. Of the five dead, one was a tall, bearded man with a bloodied face and a bullet in his head. A member of the Navy Seals snapped his picture with a camera and uploaded it to analysts who fed it into a facial recognition program. And just like that, history’s most expansive, expensive and exasperating manhunt was over. The inert frame of Osama bin Laden, America’s enemy No. 1, was placed in a helicopter for burial at sea, never to be seen or feared again. A nation that spent a decade tormented by its failure to catch the man responsible for nearly 3,000 fiery deaths in New York, outside Washington and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, at long last had its sense of finality, at least in this one difficult chapter…. – NYT, 5-3-11
- Experts Say DNA Match Is Likely a Parent or Child: While federal officials said that analysis of DNA from several relatives helped confirm that it was Osama bin Laden who was killed in the military raid on Sunday, they have not yet disclosed the relationships of the family members whose DNA was used. Officials said they collected multiple DNA samples from Bin Laden’s relatives in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. And they said the analysis, which was performed the day Bin Laden was killed but after his body was buried at sea, confirmed his identity with 99.9 percent accuracy. Some scientific experts said on Monday that if results really were so accurate, at least one of the sources was likely to have been a close relative, like a child or parent with whom he shared half his genes…. – NYT, 5-3-11
- Details of raid on bin Laden compound unfold: Osama bin Laden was not armed but did put up resistance when U.S. forces stormed the compound outside Islamabad where he and his family were living, then killed him, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday. Carney, reading a narrative drawn up by the Defense Department, provided new details of the events that transpired early Monday. Carney said military personnel arrived at the compound in Abbottabad, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Islamabad, aboard two helicopters. CIA Director Leon Panetta, who commanded the mission and was in contact with the 25 commandoes as it unfolded, told PBS the U.S. Navy SEALs arrived aboard two Black Hawks that landed outside the compound. “They had to breach through walls,” he said. There were no armed guards around the compound, said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because the official was not authorized to speak on the record. In an operation that lasted nearly 40 minutes, the SEALs — working in two groups — methodically cleared the compound, where three families were living, Carney said…. – CNN, 5-3-11
- Bin Laden alive? To debunk latest myth, White House near release of photo: The US had reasons to bury Osama bin Laden at sea. But now conspiracy theories are cropping up that he is not dead, adding to domestic pressure on the US to release a photo of his body…. – CS Monitor, 5-3-11
- Good Feeling Gone, in Congress, Anyway: Whatever sense of unity the nation might have felt after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it did not extend to the pressing domestic policy issues that divide Congressional Republicans and Democrats, who returned to work in earnest Tuesday. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, complained about the “excessive regulation” of business. Lawmakers were quickly back to arguing over economic and health care policy, trading blame for high gasoline prices and positioning themselves for the fight over raising the federal debt limit. The Senate found itself at multiple impasses over a small-business bill and judicial confirmations. There was even division within Congress over whether to pass a resolution recognizing the military and intelligence operatives who pulled off the strike on Bin Laden. Members of the Senate, standing formally at their desks, voted 97 to 0 to approve a measure commending “the men and women of the United States armed forces and the United States intelligence community for the tremendous commitment, perseverance, professionalism and sacrifice they displayed in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.”… – NYT, 5-3-11
- How U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden: Under the cover of night, U.S. helicopters steered toward a secure compound in Pakistan on a mission to capture or kill the world’s most-notorious terrorist. Less than 40 minutes later — early Monday morning in Pakistan — Osama bin Laden was dead, along with others inside the complex, and U.S. forces departed with the slain al Qaeda leader’s body, fulfilling a vow that originated shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. “It was a staggering undertaking and there was no one else, I believe, other than an American group of military warriors who could do it. And the world is a safer place today, not only for the American people but for all people,” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday, in his first remarks on the death of bin Laden. Officials on Tuesday offered new details about that raid, clarifying accounts of events given earlier…. – CNN, 5-4-11
- AG: Killing of bin Laden marks historic progress: Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Tuesday that the killing of Osama bin Laden marks historic progress by the U.S. government in protecting the American people from terrorism. Holder’s comments to the House Judiciary Committee marked the first appearance before Congress by an Obama administration Cabinet official since the mission targeting bin Laden was carried out successfully. The attorney general told the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee that the completion of the hunt for bin Laden was the result of an almost decade-long effort that spanned two administrations…. – AP, 5-4-11
- U.S. officials combing data from bin Laden compound, Holder says: Attorney General Eric Holder predicted Wednesday more names will be added to U.S. terrorist watch lists as law enforcement agencies review the evidence gathered in Pakistan after the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound on Monday. “The material that was seized from that residence is being reviewed by an inter-agency team: CIA, Justice, other intelligence agencies, other law enforcement agencies are contributing people and machines to go through that material. As we glean information from that material, we will make appropriate decisions with regard to who might we add to the terrorist watch list, the No Fly list, all those things,” Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, asked, “You expect you probably will add people as a result of what you got?” Holder replied, “My guess is that we probably will.”… – CNN, 5-4-11
- In NH, Romney praises Obama for bin Laden’s death: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama deserves credit for authorizing the military operation that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death. Before starting a round-table discussion with New Hampshire business owners Tuesday, Romney thanked Obama, U.S. military forces and the intelligence community for finding and killing the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks…. – AP, 5-4-11
- Obama giving NY its moment of justice on bin Laden: From the heart of the shocking terror strike on America, President Barack Obama will try to bury the memory of Osama bin Laden by honoring those who died in the fiery Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. In private talks with families and a somber ceremony at ground zero, Obama is out to let New York have its own moment of justice. Obama heads to New York City on Thursday after sharply rejecting calls for him to release photos of a slain bin Laden so the world could see some proof of death. The president said he would not risk giving propaganda to extremists or gloat by publicizing grotesque photos of a terrorist leader shot in the head. To those who keep on doubting, Obama said, “You will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again.”… – AP, 5-5-11
- Cables: U.S. near bin Laden in ’08, didn’t know it: U.S. troops were unwittingly within a few hundreds yards of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in October 2008, WikiLeaks cables reveal. According to a report in the Guardian, diplomatic cables show the U.S. military was “training the trainers” of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps. Abbottabad is home to the Pakistan Military Academy. The compound where bin Laden was tracked down and killed by Navy SEALs is near the academy. On Tuesday, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said that bin Laden was likely in the highly fortified compound for five or six years, meaning that the U.S. military presence in the city overlapped with his…. – CBS News, 5-4-11
- Seal Team 6’s secret weapon in Bin Laden hunt: a dog Canine member of elite US Navy Seals team that found al-Qaida leader was probably a German shepherd or Belgian Malinois: There has already been a good deal of slightly fevered speculation about the training and tactics of the 79 elite US Navy Seals who raided Osama bin Laden’s hideout. Now this has extended to the less-heralded final member of their team: a military dog. According to a series of reports, the so far unidentified canine was lowered into the compound from a helicopter while strapped to a human member of the team. It was most likely needed to check for hidden explosives, or perhaps to seek Bin Laden if the house contained a secret hiding place. While the dog’s presence emerged immediately after the assault, some new details have emerged. The courageous canine was most likely a German shepherd or the similar-looking Belgian Malinois, the New York Times said, quoting unnamed military sources…. – Guardian UK, 5-5-11
- Bin Laden fallout: How Abbottabad tweets reveal changes in modern warfare: Governments are having to change how they carry out and report military operations because of the rise of social media, and the strike on Osama bin Laden was a prime example…. – CS Monitor, 5-5-11
- Bin Laden, two others didn’t fire on SEALs: sources: Only one of four principal targets shot dead by U.S. commandos in the raid which killed Osama bin Laden was involved in any hostile fire, a person familiar with the latest U.S. government reporting on the raid told Reuters on Thursday. The account of Monday’s daring 40-minute raid has new descriptions of the event, including that Navy SEALs shot an occupant of the compound who they thought was armed, but apparently was not. It confirms that bin Laden was not armed when he was shot dead, nor are there indications that he directly threatened his attackers, according to the first source and a second U.S. government source who is familiar with briefings on the raid…. – Reuters, 5-5-11
- Bush feels Obama ignoring ex-president’s role in Osama Bin Laden strike for ‘victory lap': source: George W. Bush won’t be at Ground Zero with President Obama Thursday in part because he feels his team is getting short shrift in the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. “[Bush] viewed this as an Obama victory lap,” a highly-placed source told the Daily News Wednesday. Bush’s visit to the rubble after the 9/11 attacks was the emotional high point of his presidency, but associates say the invitation to return with his successor was a non-starter.
“He doesn’t feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama’s claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it,” the source added. “Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.”
Bush spokesman David Sherzer said Bush “appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight.” Associates familiar with his thinking say Bush does not believe Obama or his handlers wanted to exploit his presence. But the tag-team idea “was for the benefit of Obama, and Obama withheld credit from people Bush believes deserved it,” a source said…. – NY Daily News, 5-4-11
- Sarah Palin tells Obama to stop ‘pussy-footing around’ with release of Bin Laden death photos: Sarah Palin is bashing President Obama’s decision not to release Osama Bin Laden’s death photos, comparing it to holding back his birth certificate. In a speech in Alabama, the Tea Party darling said denying the world a look at the ghoulish photos of the Al Qaeda chief was akin to “pussy-footing around.” “Don’t do kind of that birth certificate whole mocking of Americans for asking for it,” Palin said in a speech in Point Clear, Ala., hours before Obama put the kibosh on releasing the photos.
After resisting for years, Obama released his long-form birth certificate last week to silence those who doubted he is American born. Earlier Wednesday, Obama told CBS “60 Minutes” that he’s barring release of the Osama photos to avoid inciting “additional violence” or to have them used as a “propaganda tool.” “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Obama said…. – NY Daily News, 5-4-11
- Obama in NY: We never forget, we mean what we say: Solemnly honoring victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, President Barack Obama hugged survivors, thanked the heroes of one of the nation’s darkest days and declared Thursday that the killing of Osama bin Laden after all these years was an American message to the world: “When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say.” On a brilliant blue-sky day, one of reflection more than celebration, Obama offered New Yorkers a moment of their own. Standing at the gritty construction site of ground zero, where the towers fell and a memorial now rises, the president laid a wreath of red, white and blue flowers for the nearly 3,000 who died as he marked a turning point for the nation and this city of steely resilience. For Obama, the day was about the importance of being in New York in the aftermath of the successful raid to find and kill bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader. Obama addressed families who have watched and wondered for nearly a decade whether the government would track down its most infamous enemy…. – AP, 5-5-11
- In NYC, Obama says Osama mission ‘sent a message': Visiting New York just days after the mastermind of the 2001 attack on the city was killed U.S. special forces, President Obama on Thursday told police and firefighters the terrorist’s death is proof that American justice has a long reach. In surprise visits to the “Pride of Midtown” firehouse, which lost 15 men in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nearly a decade ago, and then later at the 1st Precinct police station in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Obama said the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden Sunday in Pakistan did it “in the name of your brothers that were lost.”
“What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say,” the president told the firefighters. He also visited with family members of victims of the attack and laid a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. Along the roads his motorcade was greeted by cheering crowds… – Washington Times, 5-5-11
- After bin Laden death, Obama visits Ground Zero: Days after the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama met New York firefighters and police on Thursday and visited Ground Zero to offer comfort to a city still scarred by the September 11 attacks. His predecessor, George W. Bush, just three days after hijacked planes destroyed the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, had stood bullhorn in hand in the smoldering wreckage to declare, “The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” Almost a decade later, in a bookend to that historic visit, Obama came to New York to say that promise had been kept. He said the killing of bin Laden told the world “that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say.”
Obama visited Engine 54 in midtown, which with 15 deaths lost more members on 9/11 than any other firehouse, before heading to Lower Manhattan to talk with police and lay a wreath at Ground Zero, the Twin Towers site, where he also met with victims’ families. Obama told firefighters at the “Pride of Manhattan” firehouse, “I wanted to just come here to thank you.” “This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago,” he said. “It didn’t matter who was in charge, we were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act — ‘ that they received justice…. – Reuters, 5-5-11
- The President in NYC: “When We Say We Will Never Forget, We Mean What We Say”:
To the firefighters: This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago. Obviously we can’t bring back your friends that were lost, and I know that each and every one of you not only grieve for them, but have also over the last 10 years dealt with their family, their children, trying to give them comfort, trying to give them support.
What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say; that our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party; it didn’t matter which administration was in, it didn’t matter who was in charge, we were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act — that they received justice.
So it’s some comfort, I hope, to all of you to know that when those guys took those extraordinary risks going into Pakistan, that they were doing it in part because of the sacrifices that were made in the States. They were doing it in the name of your brothers that were lost.To the police: And so since that time I know a lot of you have probably comforted loved ones of those who were lost. A lot of you have probably looked after kids who grew up without a parent. And a lot of you continue to do extraordinary — extraordinarily courageous acts without a lot of fanfare. What we did on Sunday was directly connected to what you do every single day. And I know I speak for the military teams, the intelligence teams that helped get bin Laden in saying that we know the sacrifices and courage that you show as well, and that you are part of the team that helped us achieve our goal, but also help us keep our citizens safe each and every day.
So I couldn’t be prouder of all of you. I couldn’t be more grateful to you. And I hope that you know that the country will continue to stand behind you going forward, because there are still going to be threats out there and you’re still going to be called on to take courageous actions and to remain vigilant, and you’re going to have an entire country behind you when you do it. – WH, 5-5-11
- Live Video of President Obama’s Address – NYT, 5-1-11
- Text Obama’s Remarks on Bin Laden’s Killing: Following is the text of President Obama’s remarks Sunday night announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden, as released by the White House… – NYT, 5-1-11
- REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON OSAMA BIN LADEN East Room 11:35 P.M. EDT:
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. – WH, 5-1-11
- World leaders react to news of bin Laden’s death: World reaction poured in early Monday after President Barack Obama’s announcement that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. The U.S. put its diplomatic facilities around the world on high alert and issued a global travel warning for Americans…. – CNN, 5-1-11
- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard: “Our fight against terrorism does not end with bin Laden’s death. We must remain vigilant against the threat posed by al Qaeda and the groups it has inspired.” “We will continue our support for the counterterrorism efforts of the United States and our partners, and we will continue our efforts in Afghanistan to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe haven for terrorism.”
- British Prime Minister David Cameron: “Osama bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen — for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives. This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones,” he said. “It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism.”
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Israel joins in the joy of the American people on this historic day in which Osama bin Laden was killed. … This is a resounding victory for justice, freedom and for the joint values of all the countries that fight side by side determinedly against terror.”
- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak: “The U.S. proved determination and operational prowess in this operation. Again we learn that the fight against terror is shared by all leading democracies in the world and will be won with joint effort that is not over yet.”
- Pakistan Foreign Ministry: “In an intelligence driven operation, Osama bin Laden was killed in the surroundings of Abbotabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found in the world.” “Earlier today, President Obama telephoned President Zardari on the successful U.S. operation which resulted in killing of Osama bin Laden.”
- Afghan leader: bin Laden strike is blow to terror: Afghanistan’s president lauded Osama bin Laden’s death as a serious blow to terrorism Monday and argued that the strike in Pakistan proves the real fight against terrorists is outside his country’s borders.
“This is a very important day. Maybe you have already heard on the television or on the radio that American forces have killed Osama bin Laden, delivering him his due punishment,” President Hamid Karzai told an assembly of district government officials in Kabul, as the hall erupted in applause. “For years we have said that the fight against terrorism is not in Afghan villages and houses,” said Karzai. “It is in safe havens, and today that was shown to be true.”… – AP, 5-1-11
- House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, called the death of bin Laden “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.” Boehner commended Obama “and his team, as well as President (George W.) Bush for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.”
- Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld congratulate President Obama: Cheney said in a statement early Monday morning that bin Laden’s death was “a victory for the United States and a tremendous achievement for the military and intelligence professionals who carried out this important mission.” In a statement released later in the morning, Rumsfeld called it “an achievement of which our country can be proud.” Cheney – who played a central role in the Bush administration’s efforts to capture or kill bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – thanked those whose “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.”
“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,” Cheney said. Cheney offered his appreciation to the Obama administration. “I also want to congratulate President Obama and the members of his national security team,” he said. “Al Qaeda remains a dangerous enemy. Though bin Laden is dead, the war goes on,” Cheney said. “We must remain vigiliant, especially now, and we must continue to support our men and women in uniform who are fighting on the front lines of this war every day. Today, the message our forces have sent is clear — if you attack the United States, we will find you and bring you to justice.”
Rumsfeld, who served in the Bush administration from 2001 to 2006, also praised the Obama administration, but not before celebrating his own. “All of this was made possible by the relentless, sustained pressure on al Qaeda that the Bush administration initiated after 9/11 and that the Obama administration has wisely chosen to continue,” he said. The former defense secretary also noted that interrogations of suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay — something he supported — “may have played an essential role in this success.” Rumsfeld, meanwhile, cautioned that “the struggle will go on. We must not have any illusions that it ends today or that America can afford to let down its guard tomorrow.” – Politico, 5-2-11
- Obama: I won’t release bin Laden death photos: In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s “60 Minutes” conducted today, President Obama said he won’t release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death. “It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” said the president. “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Mr. Obama added. “The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received.”
In explaining his choice not to release the photo, Mr. Obama said that “we don’t need to spike the football.” He said that “given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk.” “We discussed this internally,” he said. “Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We’ve done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.” When Kroft noted that there are people in Pakistan and elsewhere who believe bin Laden is still alive, the president said “we we monitoring worldwide reaction.” “There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead,” he said. “Certainly there is no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead. So we don’t think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference.” “There are going to be some folks who deny it,” he added. “The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again.”… – CBS News, 5-5-11 — TRANSCRIPT: Obama discusses decision not to release images on CBS’s “60 Minutes”
HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS
- Osama bin Laden’s death will boost Obama approval rating, but for how long?: Amid bipartisan praise for the bin Laden mission, the Obama approval rating will get a bump, but the feel-good moment won’t last forever. In the 2012 election, economic recovery will be the issue.
“Obviously [the death of bin Laden] is a big mission accomplished, and the exuberance will clearly benefit Obama,” says Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. “There will be a moment of celebration, but then the partisanship will continue. It doesn’t insulate him from those kinds of attacks down the line.” Still, Mr. Zelizer adds, the elimination of Mr. bin Laden is not just a foreign policy and military achievement; the war on terror is one of the big issues of our era, and bin Laden was enemy No. 1. “Clearly,” he says, “it’s something Republicans are aware is going to loom large in the public’s mind – that he was the president to do it.”… – CS Monitor, 5-2-11
- Jeremi Suri: Reaction to Bin Laden: Osama bin Laden is dead – and a U-W Madison professor said it took a sensitive-and-complex operation for American forces to pull it off. The mastermind of the September 11th terrorist attacks from 2001 was shot-to-death yesterday in a firefight with U-S troops in Pakistan. Madison history professor Jeremi Suri said it required the combining of intelligence, diplomacy, and the military – as well as a keen understanding of Middle East affairs. Suri told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel it took a long time but the result shows that quote, “The United States has the capabilities to do this.” Bin Laden was thought for years to be in Pakistan, but U-S intelligence had lost his trail for most of the time since 9-11. But America got a fresh tip last August. President Obama said late last night that it took months to confirm everything – and he was finally able to approve a secret military operation last week. U-W professor Suri called it one of the most successful operations of this kind in the Muslim world. But Marquette professor Phillip Naylor says new leaders have emerged in al-Qaida, and there are still challenges to snuff them out. Naylor calls bin Laden’s death an historic event but quote, “extremism is still out there.” – University of Wisconsin – Madison, WHBL, 5-2-11
- Bin Laden’s death doesn’t end war on terror: “Decapitation does not mean the end of the movement,” said Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman, who has studied terrorism and insurgencies for more than three decades. Hoffman said al-Qaeda’s surviving franchises are likely to be joined by other aspiring groups jockeying to fill a leadership void left in the wake of bin Laden’s death. “Some may see this as an opportunity to steal the limelight,” Hoffman said. “While the risk may go up, the good news is that in the rush to do something, some of these (attacks) may go off half-cocked” and allow U.S. officials to learn more about the surviving terror networks…..
Mark Lytle, Bard College historian and co-author of the American history textbook, Nation of Nations, called the killing of bin Laden “a shot in the arm for America’s image,” especially compared to the debacle that resulted when President Jimmy Carter mounted a similar effort to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980. “Americans can take a certain comfort that we were able to do this, especially in a period that’s been pretty grim for the average citizen,” he said Monday. But for all the euphoria, Lytle said bin Laden’s demise probably seems more important now than it will in retrospect. “This is sweet revenge, but it won’t change much,” he said. “Sept. 11 will be remembered because so much changed.” – USA Today, 5-2-11
- Officials warn that bin Laden’s death does not end war on terror: “It remains to be seen whether al Qaeda will come up with another leader of the magnetism that bin Laden had,” said Peter Mansoor, a professor of military history at Ohio State who as an army colonel served as Petraeus’ executive officer in Iraq. “If it does, it will continue. If not, it will splinter into a lot of operations.”
Even though administration officials said Sunday night the White House did not reveal the operation to Pakistani officials until after the attack, Mansoor guessed that “this was coordinated” with Pakistani government officials. “I think it would be highly unusual for us to do a military operation in Pakistan without letting them know,” Mansoor said. “Even all the drone strikes (inside Pakistan) are coordinated,” adding that the Pakistanis “don’t want to admit it, but they are.” Mansoor also said “it makes sense” that the U.S. buried bin Laden at sea. “You don’t want the grave to become a shrine for Islamic militants or vandalized by people who hate Osama bin Laden. It’s the same reason Hitler doesn’t have a grave.”… – The Columbus Dispatch, 5-2-11
- Joel Beinin, professor of Middle East history at Stanford: KTVU watched President Obama’s speech with Joel Beinin, a professor of Middle East history at Stanford. He said bin Laden’s death was a blow to would-be terrorists and mostly symbolic. He also said there was a very important piece missing from the President’s speech. “He did not once mention any cooperation from Pakistan intelligence or government, so indirectly it seems to me the speech indicated there was not collaboration on this,” said Prof. Beinin. “Historically there have been links between Pakistan and Al Qaeda.” That fact was an important one, according to Beinin, because Pakistan is a U.S. ally, but a difficult one with its own interests. – KTVU, 5-2-11
- A Survey of Books About Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda: The Al Qaeda leader was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan in a firefight during a “targeted operation” Mr. Obama ordered. Since 9/11, there has been an outpouring of books about Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan. Here is an annotated list of some of the more useful books on those subjects….
THE LONGEST WAR: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda (2011) By Peter L. Bergen.
OSAMA: The Making of a Terrorist (2004). By Jonathan Randal.
THE BIN LADENS: An Arabian Family in the American Century (2008). By Steve Coll.
HOLY WAR, INC.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (2001). By Peter L. Bergen.
OSAMA BIN LADEN (2011). By Michael Scheuer.
THE LOOMING TOWER: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (2006) By Lawrence Wright.
IN THE GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES: America’s War in Afghanistan (2009). By Seth G. Jones.
GHOST WARS: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004). By Steve Coll. – NYT, 5-2-11
- The War on Terror After Osama bin Laden: The killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan caused jubilation in the United States. In announcing Bin Laden’s death on Sunday, President Obama said that it “marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.” But, the president continued, “there’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.” What does the death mean for the future of United States involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and how does it affect the direction of the global war on terror?… – NYT, 5-2-11 –
Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution: A Limited Demoralizing Effect –
Juan Zarate, former counterterrorism official: Al Qaeda’s Internal Divisions
C. Christine Fair, Georgetown University: The Taliban Is Not the Enemy –
Mark Quarterman, Center for Strategic and International Studies: More Powerful Dead Than Alive? – Gilles Dorronsoro Gilles Dorronsoro, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Finding New Recruits
- Bruce Buchanan: Inside the Beltway: “He was matter-of-fact, he was perfunctory in his delivery of very serious news, and that worked for him,” Bruce Buchanan, a University of Texas presidential historian, tells Inside the Beltway.
“Mr. Obama was the one who got to pull the trigger on this rather than President George W. Bush, though there is a certain luck of the draw involved. Still, Mr. Obama gets only a short-term political boost,” Mr. Buchanan says. “We are still far, far away from the 2012 election, and those public passions can fade very quickly.” – Washington Times