Osama bin Laden is dead. God bless America and our fantastic fighting men and women! According to reports, a Navy SEAL team got him (GO NAVY!!), one of his sons, and Osama's youngest wife who, in the tradition of cowardly terrorists everywhere, was used as a human shield.
Interestingly, bin Laden was found at a massive fortress deep in Pakistan. Apparently, he was in a million dollar complex complete with 18 foot tall, barbed-wire topped walls in Abbottabad, Pakistan. If the Pakistani government didn't know he was there, I'll eat my hat, since Abbottabad is an affluent suburb about 35 miles outside of Pakistan's capitol of Islamabad. On top of that, the compound was a few hundred yards from a Pakistani military training center. Go figure. Some of the questions we will be demanding answers to in the coming days will certainly include a few on who in the Pakistani government knew what and when.
There were parties going on last night in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at the campuses of both West Point and Annapolis. One would imagine the Annapolis celebration will be going on for quite a while - the Navy certainly has a prize scalp to bolster morale and they will surely be revelling in it.
Reports are still conflicting, but what seems to be coming clear is that this victory is going to bring up some hard truths that some on the left might not like. Most importantly, much of the intelligence that got us this victory started out, four years ago, as information received from Gitmo detainees at the hands of interrogators. It will be interesting to see how that narrative develops in the coming weeks. Hopefully those practices will be seen as the necessary evil that they are now that they have been instrumental in bringing Public Enemy #1 to justice.
This victory has many fathers - most notably the CIA and SEAL Team Six, who developed the intel and kept their eyes on the prize. The lion's share of credit goes to them, along with the thanks of a grateful nation. Credit should also be given to both the Obama administration for making the call to go into Pakistan (quite a risky call, to be sure - kudos, Mr. President) and the Bush administration for extracting the initial information four years ago that put us on the path to Abbottabad in the first place.
The joyous crowds filling the streets of NYC and Washington DC last night were just the beginning. As people wake up to the news today, there are sure to be many more celebrations across the country. This event has come at a time when we desperately needed unity. The divisiveness of the political scene and the economic fears gripping the nation will be put aside, at least for today, so that we can celebrate this major victory and remember that we're all in it together. This surge of pride in America is a welcome thing, and something that hopefully will not fade away any time soon.
In five months, we will be observing the 10th anniversary of September 11th. While the observances will be solemn, they will have a new undercurrent this year. We the people have gotten a certain measure of closure with the death of bin Laden. Will it take away the pain inflicted on 9/11? No, but it sure does go far towards banishing that helpless feeling many Americans have felt for the past nine years. Perhaps now the real healing can begin.
This isn't the end of this conflict by any means, but this is a watershed moment for sure. There will be much to discuss in the coming weeks as more information comes out. There will surely be controversy over bin Laden's burial at sea - a necessary thing, in my opinion, which will keep his tomb from becoming a pilgrimage site for future jihadis - and the role Pakistani officials may have played in keeping his whereabouts secret, but for now, let's just savor the flavor of sweet, sweet victory. Democrats, independents and republicans will put aside their differences today and celebrate this great triumph against an evil man.
God bless America!
UPDATE: HotAir has a great roundup of last night's celebrations.
UPDATE II: Initial reports had a police station near the OBL compound; turns out it is the Pakistani version of West Point instead. I've changed it in the post.
UPDATE III: Questions already arising from the burial at sea, as expected. Imams are claiming it wasn't a sufficient burial, others are saying the body should have been brought back here. Why? To display it like a trophy - perhaps mount his head on a spike atop the ever-growing Freedom Tower? Burial at sea ensures no shrine to the martyr's tomb. As it is, one will most likely crop up in Abbottabad. They should release the pictures, though, for sure - gore and all. The wound can be blurred to make it more palatable. DNA tests might prove there's a 99.9% chance it's him, but I, for one, want to see him with my own eyes. And from the spontaneous outbursts of joyful patriotism breaking out all over the country, I don't think I'm alone.