In what has to be a combined vindication (of sorts) for former President George W. Bush, redemption (also of sorts) for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a popularity boost for current President Barack Obama, the United States finally got its man. Public Enemy No. 1, that Master of Mid-Morning Mayhem, that status quo shaker-upper extraordinaire, leader…that is former leader of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden was killed in a surgical military operation by US Special Forces last week.
The success of the long-awaited operation, part of the larger War on Terror began in Afghanistan by former President Bush, was the result of intelligence acquired by the CIA via the “enhanced interrogation techniques” of high value detainees of Al Qaeda, and which have often been criticized by opponents of the use of torture by the U.S. (but endorsed by Beyond The Political Spectrum in a previous posting for the sake of extracting information to prevent another potential terrorist attack on the scale of September 11th - http://beyond-the-political-spectrum.blogspot.com/2009/04/whats-wrong-with-doing-right-part-1.html). To no one’s surprise, Bin Laden and a couple of trusted cohorts were found in a reinforced compound located in an area of Pakistan known as a retirement haven for former soldiers of the Pakistani military, an arrangement which could conceivably reinforce the belief Bin Laden and Al Qaeda has/have sympathizers within elements of the Pakistani government (including the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI). Further fueling this speculation is the fact that the Pakistani government was not informed by the American government in regards to having knowledge of Bin Laden’s suspected whereabouts in its country, or that an impending strike was to be shortly underway on its soil in an effort to capture the worlds most (formerly) wanted man.
This action was a welcome (and rare) successful accomplishment by the CIA, which had been stained for years by failures, the least of which was the connecting of the intelligence clues and the sharing of information with other government law-enforcement agencies of the impending September 11th attacks. But much of this operation’s success can be directly attributed to the streamlining of intelligence gathering and sharing by America’s security apparatus initiated by the Bush Administration following the intelligence failure resulting in the success of the attacks by Al Qaeda. In addition to Bin Laden's death, the raid on the terrorist leader's hideout yielded a treasure trove of electronic and hand written notes regarding the late leader's terrorist organization and potential terrorist plots. Government officials hope that this combined eradication and information windfall will go far toward breaking the back of Al Qaeda in the long run.
The news of Bin Laden’s death touched off celebratory cheering in both Washington DC and New York Cities, both locations the sites of the 2001 attacks which Bin Laden ordered. While in certain quarters of the Middle East, Bin Laden’s death elicited threats of retaliation from among his supporters, although to date, there have been no particular threats—credible or otherwise—known to be underway as a result of the terrorist leader’s demise. Still, the specter of retaliation, especially by so-called “lone wolf” radical adherents to extremist Muslim doctrines is an issue. While Bin laden lived, he was an inspiration to such individuals such as Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be airline bomber thwarted on Christmas Day in 2009 in Detroit by both passengers and his own incompetence. As a potential martyr, he could become a rallying symbol for a greater effort on the part of America’s enemies to (potentially unrelentingly) attack American interests, including those here on American soil.
As of this writing, details of the raid are still trickling into various media outlets. It is suspected however, that execution of the raid itself was carried out by U.S. navy SEAL commandos.
With the symbolic victory of Osama Bin Laden’s death is something of a boost for America’s beleaguered military, intelligence, and current presidential administration, the true victory still lays ahead…successful vigilance against foreign foes hell-bent on bringing mass bloodshed to the shores of America.