Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces Monday, then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.President Obama said: "Justice has been done." Here is the President's full address:
Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy. The stunning news of his death prompted relief and euphoria outside the White House and around the globe, yet also deepening fears of terrorist reprisals against the United States and its allies.
...The military operation took mere minutes, and there were no U.S. casualties.
U.S. Blackhawk helicopters ferried about two dozen troops from Navy SEAL Team Six, a top military counter-terrorism unit, into the compound identified by the CIA as bin Laden's hideout — and back out again in less than 40 minutes. Bin Laden was shot in the head, officials said, after he and his bodyguards resisted the assault.
[The full transcript is here.]
Obama also called former President George W. Bush to let him know bin Laden had been killed. In what's probably the classiest thing he's ever done, Bush released a statement congratulating Obama "and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude."
If I were inclined to use every opportunity possible to embarrass Bush as the criminally incompetent dipshit he is, this is the place I would remind everyone how he once said: "I wouldn't necessarily say [bin Laden]'s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I—I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." But I'm clearly above such spitefulness. Ahem.
Anyway, I don't know what else to say about this. It's good, I guess...? I have a hard time feeling awesome about anyone being killed, even if it's someone who I recognize would kill me and everyone I love in a hot second, given half a chance. It's just a weird thing to celebrate.
And, via some combination of my natural inclination to question everything, the US government's history of bullshitting, the relationship between defense successes and presidential ratings, and Osama bin Laden having been treated like a ghostly boogeyman for the last decade, there's some part of me that feels like this whole thing is sort of...unreal.
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