Osama bin Laden is dead, and his body has been buried at sea by the U.S. government, some 10 years after he organized the 9/11 atrocity in New York.
His death in a Pakistan home isn’t just revenge for still-angry Americans, but it is also the decapitation of the Islamist movement, whose jihadis have regarded bin Laden as their undisputed leader.
The successful killing of bin Laden will likely spur anger in some Muslim countries, especially Pakistan, whose intelligence services have long helped Al Qaeda’s allies in Afghanistan, and are now taking some credit for bin Laden’s discovery and death.
The victory will also boost President Obama’s weak public ratings. Those ratings have taken a battering during the President’s leadership in the Libyan civil-war.
In a dramatic late-night statement, President Obama declared that U.S. soldiers raided Osama’s compound in Pakistan and recovered the body. “Justice has been done,” he declared, echoing President George W. Bush’s 2001 promise to bring bin Laden to justice.
The president took time to describe the killing as a victory against bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organization, and to remind Americans, like President George W. Bush before him, that America is not at war with Islam. “The U.S. has not and never will be at war with Islam…Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass-murderer of Muslims.”
The president also took time to remind listeners around the world that the U.S. attack was not an aggressive move. “The American people did not chose this fight. It came to our shores… after 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.”
Many millions of Americans will cheer the victory — crowds were already cheering “USA! USA!” outside the White House last night at 11:12 p.m. last night.
The Saudi-born bin Laden built his Al Qaeda organization in the mountains of Afghanistan and in Sudan during the 1990s. His strategy was to attack the United States until it ended support of Middle East dictators, including Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi royal family. By attacking the “Great Satan,” bin Laden hoped the dictators would later be deposed by jihadi uprisings and a new Muslim empire — the Caliphate — would be established to restore Muslim theocracy to the Arab lands. The religious and military strategy was described in his 1998 statement, titled “Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders,” and his 1996 tract, “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.”
His death won’t end his religious and political goal, which has both lost ground and gained ground since 2001.