An event of the magnitude of last night’s news was enough tear Ed Morrissey away from his vacation in Italy and compose his thoughts on the historic moment. They are offered up today in a special edition of his regularly appearing column at The Week. And he is not shy of praise for our special forces who accomplished the task.
Even more gratifying is the manner in which bin Laden was found. The trail began in the detention center of Guantanamo Bay, where the nickname of a trusted courier was first divulged to interrogators. It took two years to find the man’s real name, and another eighteen months to establish his patterns. The United States patiently deduced that bin Laden had holed up almost in plain sight near the capital of Pakistan, and then waited for the right moment to strike.
America rightly will celebrate bin Laden’s demise. After that, the question will be this: what next? We still need to find Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian who served as bin Laden’s lieutenant and who presumably will take command of Al Qaeda now. During the past couple of years, the Qaeda affiliate network of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemini-American cleric has presented more of a danger to the United States than bin Laden, and with the present unrest in Yemen, that danger will only increase.
Ed also feels this will send a powerful message, not only to our enemies, but one of inspiration and hope to those fighting against evil.
But even with that said, the targeting and destruction of the world’s most-wanted terrorist will have a deep symbolic and operational impact on Al Qaeda. For years, the network could reassure itself with the fact that the Americans hadn’t been able to touch the man who professed to be acting for Allah, and who served as their inspiration. His death at the hands of U.S. forces cannot help but to shake that faith, and that may end up being the most powerful blow America could possibly deliver to the radical Islamists who demand world domination.
If we can find and kill Osama bin Laden, we can find and kill the rest of them, too. And now they know it.
In the now traditional format of the blogosphere… read the whole thing.