Nothing beats revenge for pure, undiluted satisfaction, so here’s to a serious feel-good moment for the home team. Though there’s no comparison in the amount of misery and mayhem each of them managed to sow, as an embodiment of evil this feels akin to Hitler finally meeting his end, even though this time we had the pleasure of direct responsibility for the physical annihilation of the evil one.
Obama gets a fair amount of credit for this, if early reports are correct that he ordered Leon Panetta at CIA in June 2009 to come up in thirty days with a plan of operation to kill Bin Laden (no one in the American government ever believed he would be captured) and then remained closely involved in the development and evolution of the operation all along.
What stands out initially in this accomplishment is the degree to which, despite the bizarre distraction of the pointless fiasco in Iraq, and the chest-thumping bellicosity of the previous administration in regards to the use of the military, in the end, this result reinforces what many, including myself have long said, which is that rather than torture or invasions the key to the security of the United States is essentially old fashioned police work, the law enforcement tools of investigation and gathering evidence. In this case, the institutions that have always protected the United States and always will be its first real line of defense against terrorists, who by definition have no military capability, is the intelligence apparatus, including the CIA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which carefully, tenaciously and skillfully gather information and cultivate sources and track down targets. With information in hand, our highly trained forces in special operations can, with Jason Bourne like proficiency get their man, as they just did.
To repeat the message seen on a sign at Ground Zero last night as the celebration was televised: Obama 1 Osama 0.