The President finally made the announcement at about 11:30 PM, 90 minutes after the White House announced it would do so, and it is official. We have killed the murderous monster Osama bin Laden.
According to the President’s statement (video link), we received intelligence last August about bin Laden’s location and worked the intelligence until some time last week, when the President decided we had enough to take action. He authorized a team of Americans to enter Pakistan, with the permission of the Pakistani government and with Pakistani intelligence officers on the ground, to raid a compound Abbotabad where the al-Qaeda leader was staying with members of his family. The President said our people, believed to be a team of Navy Seals inserted by helicopter, killed him in a “firefight”. An administration source revealed that the intelligence came from captured Islamists in September after years of work that it gained real credibility in February and that the President authorized the assault last Friday.
Tonight, our soldiers launched the assault, earlier reports in my post here. That, at least, explains why the White House called the press conference, though not why they kept the nation on tenterhooks while they polished the statement.
Still, this is a momentous day not only for the United States but for all of civilization. Osama bin Laden was a destroyer, a throwback to days that the world should have discarded many years ago. His death is a net good for everyone and I praise the President for giving the order to launch the assault. I pray that he continues to pursue al-Qaeda relentlessly and with all our strength and cleverness.
I’ve not found the transcript at this point, but when I do, I’ll update this post. In the meantime, here is the video.
I won’t quibble overmuch with what he said. I believe he stole a little credit he didn’t entirely deserve and the “not all Islamists are bad” was gratuitous and unnecessary, as was the part about how our soldiers took care not to kill civilians. Both of those seemed to be a rather backhanded swipe against his political opponents, or at least the prevailing progressive caricature of his opponents.
President Bush also released a statement in support of the President’s actions that was both brief and full of grace and thanks. He deserves a large share of the credit to tonight’s events. If not for his decisiveness and resolve, Osama bin Laden would still be killing Americans safe in Afghanistan and al Qaeda would still be a formidable force flush with millions from Saddam Hussein and with a safe haven and training ground in Iraq.
The beast is dead. Hallelujah.
UPDATE: I’m seeing a number of spontaneous celebrations outside the White House and Ground Zero on CNN right now. I don’t think it’s out of line to say that tomorrow may well feel like a national holiday. That’s as it should be. Expect, though, a number of scolds to show up and rain on the parades or insert their own ridiculous partisan political hackery. When they do, ignore them and celebrate if you feel like celebrating.