Joining my colleague’s post on the big news with one of my own.
He’s dead. And U.S. action is the cause. Details are sketchy at this time but we know he’s dead:
U.S. President Barack Obama was to make the announcement shortly that after searching in vain for bin Laden since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist is dead, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Details of the death were sparse. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke with the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation in Pakistan, not by a Predator drone. The official said it happened last week.
CNN and Reuters reported that the al-Qaida leader was killed in a mansion outside Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.
At 11:35 PM, Obama is announcing the death to the nation.
Small team of Americans responsible (likely a SEAL team but not announced at this time). No American casualties. It’s great news but, as my brother the law enforcement officer has just texted me in a note and as Obama has just repeated, we must remain vigilant in the coming days for retribution attacks. His death may very well trigger actions long planned.
Obama announces at 11:43 PM: “Justice has been done”.
And indeed it has. Hats off to our servicemen and women and especially that small team who will likely remain nameless. And yes, hats off to President Obama.
At 11:47 PM, President Bush has released a statement declaring a victory for America. Tonight, America has sent an unmistakeable message, no matter how long it takes, justice will be done.
UPDATE: A number of developments overnight. The first of which is sure to jazz up the conspiracy theorists:
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.
I think this to be a mistake, a decision made under the duress of political correctness. Stupid in my opinion.
There’s also news about the compound, one that brings plenty of questions that need to be directed toward Pakistan:
Contrary to repeated speculation over the last decade that bin Laden was living in one of the remote tribal areas of Pakistan or even across the border in Afghanistan, the al-Qaida leader was found in an affluent suburb of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
The walls were 12- to 18ft high, topped with barbed wire. Access to the compound was severely restricted. The main part of the residence was three storeys high but had few windows. It was valued at about $1m but had no phone or internet connection. It was a custom-built terrorist hideaway.
Finally, I’d like to post President Bush’s words on Bin Laden’s death in their entirety:
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.