Hallelujah! If one word best sums up the reaction of most Americans in the wake of Sunday night’s news that terror mastermind Usama bin Laden has finally met justice, that’s probably it.
The throngs of men and women who marked the occasion at Times Square, Ground Zero and outside the White House seemingly did so for all of us. And for many of those who lost loved ones in the dastardly attacks a decade ago, have friends or family who have served in our nation’s armed forces in the months and years that followed, or have any personal connection to that fateful day whatsoever, Sunday night’s revelation helped deliver a long overdue sense of closure. Hallelujah, indeed.
Questions about how the world’s top terrorist was allowed and possibly enabled to call Abbottabad, Pakistan home by that country are already being asked. As well they should. But when it comes to the issue of where the credit lies in ultimately bringing down bin Laden, no question is necessary.
The men and women of the U.S. military have always answered the call when our nation needed them most. Such has been the case since we were attacked in 2001 by terrorists seeking to destroy us and our way of life.
Working in concert with our country’s intelligence community, these brave heroes have taken the fight to Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks around the globe while strategically smoking out their leadership along the way. Despite many in the media’s best attempts to say otherwise, it’s an effort that is working and winning. Usama bin Laden’s death at the hands of an American-led operation executed by Navy Seals is pretty compelling evidence to that end.
President Obama should also be commended for signing off on the high-risk military operation that led to bin Laden’s demise and for not wavering when the chips were down. His leadership in the operation made a difference.
As for those in his administration who seem anxious to shamelessly score political points, however, they should tread very carefully. Remember, this is the same Barack Obama who campaigned vigorously in 2008 against many of the methods and tools which led to Sunday’s success.
And sadly, far too many of the actions he’s taken as president suggest Mr. Obama is less interested in delivering justice to terrorist thugs than delivering political correctness to the masses. Dumping the term, "War on Terror,' in favor of "Overseas Contingency Operation" (or is it ‘Man-Made Disasters’ this week?); pledging until just last month to try 9/11-conspirator Khalid Shaikh Mohammed before a civilian jury in New York City; signing orders to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; and making speeches abroad apologizing for U.S. foreign relations are probably not the best ways to support our troops and convey conviction in the mission.
By the way, there’s one other person who deserves gratitude for helping ensure Usama bin Laden’s downfall at the wrong end of a Navy SEAL’s rifle. I’m thinking of the person who said in October of 2001, “We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.” It’s also the same person who gave our courageous military members their marching orders as commander-in-chief almost 10 years ago: President George W. Bush.
It’s worth noting, Al Qaeda did not become a nemesis to our nation and the free world during President Bush’s time in office. The fingerprints of the terrorist network were on the 1993 attempted bombing of the World Trade Center that ultimately killed six and the 2000 attack against the USS Cole that left 17 sailors dead and over 30 injured. Both occurred on Bill Clinton’s watch as president.
It was, however, President Bush who led our nation through the aftermath of 9/11 by declaring an unequivocal ‘War on Terror;’ making and honoring every commitment to support it despite the political consequences; and keeping our country safe until the day he left office. Not surprisingly, reports now suggest that the intelligence which helped seal bin Laden’s fate was rooted in enhanced interrogation work and results that took place during President Bush’s administration.
Sunday’s successful operation was a major victory in the ongoing battle to defeat the murderous terrorists who continue to have the United States in their crosshairs. And President Obama’s role with it is an encouraging sign for many reasons. Here’s hoping he’s finally realized his predecessor’s tough stance on terrorism was right all along.
Van D. Hipp Jr. is chairman of American Defense International, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm specializing in government affairs, business development and public relations. He is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army.