President Bush, standing on the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center buildings three days after 9/11 was speaking to Ground Zero rescue workers and said "I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!"
Today, bin Laden finally heard that message. Loud and clear through a Navy SEAL shot fired through his skull. A team of 20 to 25 SEALS, backed by CIA, took bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing Osama after an intense firefight.
This victory is a long time coming, nearly 10 years after that tragic day in September when many Americans first became aware of Osama bin Laden. His reign of terror, which we now know dates back to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, came to an abrupt end, but it was not a short journey.
The operation had been years in the making, going back to the search for one man, the courier who ultimately led US forces to bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad.
Since 9/11, the CIA gathered leads on those in bin Laden’s inner circle, including personal couriers. During interrogations and questioning, various detainees flagged individuals who may have been providing support to OBL and Zawahiri. One courier in particularly was identified by detainees as one of the few al Qaeda couriers who had bin Laden’s trust. He was identified as a “protégé” of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al –Libbi, the former #3 of al Qaeda, who was captured in 2005. There were even indications the courier may have been living with bin Laden.
They eventually tracked the location of the compound through the courier.
According to the Washington Post, it was exactly as they thought it would be:
Then, in August, U.S. officials found the compound that turned out to be bin Laden’s hiding spot. It was described as an extraordinary place, custom-made for him, with 12- to 18-foot security walls, multiple interior walls dividing the property and massive privacy walls blocking even a third-story balcony. Despite being valued at $1 million, the property had no Internet or phone service, the official said. “When we saw the compound . . . we were shocked by what we saw,” the official told reporters, describing it as “an extraordinarily unique compound,” built perhaps in 2005 and expressly for bin Laden. “Everything we saw . . . was perfectly consistent with what our experts expected bin Laden’s hideout to look like.”
The lion's share of credit for this victory goes to the US military and intelligence service officers who put their lives on the line combating the evil of al Qaeda and terrorism. It is a victory for all Americans, Bush and Obama.
But without the intelligence from detainees, which likely didn't come over a cup of tea, this operation would never have happened. The courier's two mentors: Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, and Faraj al-Libbi, al Qaeda's former #3, were both brought to Guatanamo Bay under President Bush. Through President Bush’s tough and relentless approach to the War on Terror the path to bin Laden’s end began.
President Obama deserves a great deal of credit for authorizing this operation, despite the challenges and risk, to take out bin Laden on Pakistani soil. This operation came to fruition due in part to his policy of stepped up operations in Pakistan through Predator drone strikes and intelligence gathering. For that fortitude and forsight, he deserves our praise and thanks.
It's been a long path to wiping this Evil off of the planet and it was accomplished through the good works and leadership of two Presidents. It is a victory for both men.
This victory is perhaps best crystallized by Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction when he recites Ezekiel 25:17
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.