The announcement late last night...
In a rare, late-night statement from the White House Sunday at 11:35 p.m., President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a firefight Sunday, in "a compound deep inside Pakistan."
How, When and Where....
According to Obama, the U.S. acquired the initial intelligence it needed to locate, and ultimately kill, Bin Laden last August. After working in conjunction with Pakistani intelligence forces, Obama gave the green light Friday to the operation that resulted in the deadly Sunday raid. Bin Laden was located by the CIA in a massive, fortified compound north of Islamabad, Pakistan, and killed by U.S. military forces.
No Americans were killed or injured in the raid. A woman at the site being used as a human shield died, according to a senior administration official on a conference call with reporters. Bin Laden is said to have resisted the assault force and been killed in an ensuing firefight. Intelligence officials in other countries, including Pakistan, were only informed of the raid after it had been conducted.
The United States lost a helicopter to mechanical failure and intentionally destroyed the disabled aircraft during the mission.
If this is all true, it is good news. Even though Bin Laden's death will not stop Islamic extremism, the head of the snake, as it were, has now been cut off. But I must also say.....it's been a long time coming.
Bin Laden and two U.S. presidents....
Before he was elected President, Obama vowed to capture and kill Bin Laden. Early in his Presidency, George W. Bush claimed at a press conference that he'd largely lost interest in Bin Laden's whereabouts. His administration's inability to locate Bin Laden became a major political liability until he left office.
This is as good a time as any to review what has happened since 9-11.
The events of 9-11, 2001 led the U.S. to invade Afghanistan, allegedly to pursue those people responsible for contracting, masterminding and leading the criminal acts which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3000 Americans. Taliban leadership was quickly driven out of power in the poor nation....and a new government quickly propped up under Harmid Karzai.
Before the end of December, 2001....General Tommy Franks was ordered by President George W. Bush to begin moving U.S. military assets away from Afghanistan. That marked the beginning of the Iraq war.
It is during this time that U.S.-held detainees first began to be tortured and Guantanamo first opened for business. The justification for the torture, we were told later, was to obtain new information of pending strikes by al-Qaeda against the U.S. and the West. Torture is meant to coerce false confessions. Colin Powell used information from just such a false confession as he made his phony case to invade Iraq before the U.N.
The Bush administration, after "selling" Tony Blair, the American people and Congress on attacking Iraq during the entire year of 2002, finally announced the beginnings of the U.S. invasion in March, 2003. This after openly lying to Americans in a January State of the Union address. This, after having ordered the international weapons inspectors to get out of Iraq.
Bush lost interest in Bin Laden, right or wrong, at least partly because his administration's top foreign policy goal before coming into office was Iraq. A map of Iraq's oil fields was sprawled over a desk at Bush's very first principals meeting in February, 2001. Removing Saddam was very important to the Project for the New American Century, an extreme group of neo-conservatives of which Cheney and Rumsfeld were members.
While the Bush administration dithered in Afghanistan and took their eye off of Bin Laden.....the Taliban in Afghanistan regrouped and our U.S. military is still fighting them today, 10 years later. Our longest war....ever.
I'm sure that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld had their own reasons for what they did......but whatever those might be, what I've briefly described here is what happened...now leading up to the apparent killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces Sunday night.
We should be glad that Bin Laden has finally been eliminated. He has finally been brought to justice for the many acts of violence he has planned and carried out.
But we should also recognize how it was that the greatest superpower history has ever known took 10 years to finish the job.
More details on how Bin Laden was hunted down and finally killed here.
Let the conspiracy theories begin.
Lest we forget the words of The Decider....March, 2002....
"We haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is," Bush said during the 2002 news conference. "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run.
"I was concerned about him when he had taken over a country," Bush continued. "I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban. But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became -- we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his Al Qaeda killers anymore."
More info here.
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