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Monday, May 2, 2011

America's Most Wanted: Who's Next?

Nearly a decade ago, on September 11th, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history claimed more than 3,000 lives.  It was announced yesterday that Osama Bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind behind the attacks, was located and killed in a raid, thanks to intelligence obtained 8 months ago.  On Friday, April 29th, President Obama signed the order to carry out the mission which occurred May 1st in the late night hours in Bin Laden's Pakistan compound.  No U.S. personnel were killed in the raid; four adult males were killed: bin Laden, his son, and his two couriers.  This event will not end the war on terrorism, but it is the single most significant victory in America's fight, and for those who lost family and friends on the day that is known worldwide only as "9/11", it is certainly welcome news that may not bring closure but will mean justice.  This victory sends a very important message that our persistence will always prevail against those who challenge us and threaten our Freedom.  Al-Qaida may not dissemble immediately but the death of their founder will certainly take its toll, along with our continued pursuit of any new leaders who may step into his role. 

Every generation has events that are etched into their memory, such where they were when they heard the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and now our generation will remember where we were on the day that the most hated man in America was killed.  Last night, as we arrived home from dinner for my wife's birthday, her parents had been listening to Fox News on the radio and her Dad told us "They killed Bin Laden".  We watched as President Obama announced the news; He praised U.S. military and intelligence professionals for working “tirelessly to achieve this outcome.” To the families of 9/11 victims, he noted that the U.S. has “never forgotten your loss.”  He called former President George W. Bush to give him the news. 

On the drive to work this morning, expecting to hear more details about the events and listeners calling in to celebrate, I was disappointed to hear many accuse Obama of accepting sole credit for this achievement.  Osama Bin Laden has been a target during both the Clinton and Bush administrations, well before the 9/11 attacks, and while Bush dedicated his entire time in office to the capture of Bin Laden, he was not successful, but not for lack of trying.  The simple fact is we didn't have the right intelligence that led to a successful capture until August of last year, when two of Bin Laden's most trusted couriers were tracked, leading us to the compound where he was hiding out.  Obama was briefed on this intelligence and once there was enough confidence in that location, he ordered the raid.  I watched the same news report that everyone else saw, and heard the same words directly from Obama himself, and at no point did I hear the words "I have killed Osama Bin Laden", or "I have won the fight against terrorism."  Regardless of who is in office or who signed the order, justice has been served and this is what Americans should be focusing on.  This victory belongs to none other than our Armed Forces, who have sacrificed and fought and will continue to fight.

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