Allahpundit was hard at work until two in the morning keeping you updated on the news as it broke, so if you happened to miss that, be sure to check it out for links to most of the early resources. Some more details are beginning to filter out on the death of bin Laden, with reactions coming in from around the world. But one of the more telling responses I heard this morning came from, of all people, Peggy Noonan appearing on NBC. She said, “All other factors aside, a real monster has been removed from the face of the Earth. It’s a damn good day.”
Even though Allahpundit had the video last night, here are the prepared remarks as delivered by the President last night. I’m normally the type of curmudgeon who would grouse about being kept up an extra hour past when the White House said he would address the nation, but for news like this I think I’ll give them a pass on the delay.
By way of a teaser, Ed Morrissey checked in with me and let me know that his normal column for The Week was pulled at the last minute when the editors asked him to prepare a special one on the death of OBL. When that becomes available we’ll have a summary and link for you here at Hot Air, so stay tuned.
One of the more interesting aspects of the story which has emerged overnight is precisely how long this took, when and where it started, and who was responsible. Rather than wasting our time trying to pat one administration or the other on the back, it turns out that our intelligence agents have been following the thinnest trail of bread crumbs dating back to the Bush administration in 2007. And it all began with knowing the nickname (not even the real name) of a courier who might have been running errands for the madman.
After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “detainees gave us information on couriers. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, his pseudonym, and also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden.”
In 2007, the U.S. learned the man’s name.
In 2009, “we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. They were very careful, reinforcing belief we were on the right track.”
In August 2010, “we found their home in Abbottabad,” not in a cave, not right along the Afghanistan border, but in an affluent suburb less than 40 miles from the capital.
In the end, it was US Navy Seals who got the job done, and they were in and out without the Pakistani government even knowing we were coming. As an old sailor myself, let me just offer up a salute and say, well done, boys. The story brings up two different aspects of my reaction which pick up on what Allahpundit was discussing last night. First, while I join the rest of the nation in celebrating, I too felt kind of strangely quiet when the news broke. It was almost anticlimactic. It’s what I wanted, and yet his death still doesn’t undo all the damage he wrought in his life and it’s not going to stop his followers. It’s a symbolic, great win for our team, but it’s not the end of the war by a long shot.
Finally, it does represent a rare moment in American society, in that you rarely see this kind of celebration over someone dying. As a people we’re simply not built that way, and we tend to react more solemnly to the passing of anyone. But in this rare case, we had identified a monster so horrendous, so very far removed from anything most of us would recognize as being “human” that people from all quarters were ready to hoist up a cold one and toast the fact that this maniac was on his way to hell at last.
Further, as carefully as some people seem to be treading around the question, I think our “allies” in Pakistan are still going to have a lot of uncomfortable questions to answer when the dust settles. But I’ll leave it to wiser heads than mine to delve into those details as the tale plays out.
Food for thought. Look for more updates to this post throughout the day if we get more details or responses of interest.
UPDATE: Over at Pajamas Media, more indications that the intel came out of Gitmo.
UPDATE 2: Why did the US act alone? They really had no choice.
“Going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliates,” said Obama. But for its own geopolitical—and purely political—reasons Pakistan is likely to continue being as much part of the problem as part of the solution. At least after the Abbottabad shootout, it’s clear the administration isn’t kidding itself. When it got a shot at Bin Laden, it took it. No dithering. No dilatory diplomacy. Secrecy was maintained. The Pakistanis were cut out. And justice was done.
As we said… more questions for Pakistan to come.