Pardon me for spoiling the fun, but as we learn the details of where OBL was holing up in recent years, it brings into stark relief more questions about what our nation is doing in Afghanistan — and not in Pakistan, where reportedly there are more al-Qaeda members living anyway.
In case you missed it, Bin Laden was killed in the city of Abbottabad, in a neighborhood near the Pakistan Military Academy, the training center that has produced many of that country's most powerful military leaders. And the fact of the matter is, no Pakistani troops were involved with his capture, and the U.S. did not inform Pakistan of what we were even doing in advance.
The U.S. government's issues with the Pakistani intelligence unit, the I.S.I., have been well noted in the press for years, as the Los Angeles TImes reports
Officials in Washington have long accused the Pakistani government and its security bodies of providing sanctuary and other means of support to militant groups that were closely allied with Al Qaeda and helped the terrorist organization hide and operate there.
In July, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly accused the Pakistani government of less than full cooperation in the hunt for Bin Laden.
Clinton did not charge that top government officials were protecting the Al Qaeda leader, but instead said she believed that elements of the bureaucracy had to know where he was hiding.
This simply reinforces the point that we don't trust Pakistan, yet that is where even Vice President Joe Biden has said is where the real action is in terms of trying to snuff out the remnants of Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that a U.S. government official says that DNA matching is underway on the body of bin Laden. They report that "matching has not been completed, but there are photographs of the body with a gunshot wound to the side of the head that shows an individual that is not unrecognizable as Bin Laden." Also, that no decision has yet been made on whether to release the photographs and if so, when and how.
Considering how parts of the political right in this country wouldn't take President Obama's Certificate of Live Birth as sufficient evidence that he was born in Hawaii, something tells me worldwide that there will be those who want more proof than simply the president of the United States telling the world in a statement that the world's most notorious terrorist is dead is, well, really dead.
We hope to hear larger discussions in the public domain in the weeks and months to come on the whole "War on Terror" phrase of our bipartisan foreign policy, which has been in effect for nearly a decade.
Some analysts have written that the Arab Spring over the past few months had already rendered Bin Laden irrelevant — and let's face it — though Al Qaeda has certainly been active over the years worldwide, Bin Laden hasn't really been a part of any of that, as far as terrorism experts inform us.
As Peter Beinart in the Daily Beast, terrorism is no longer our biggest, most existential threat in this country — debt is, and think about how we have spent keeping ourselves "secure" over the last 9 1/2 years, and how much of that has been intelligently applied, vs. just simply applied.
Remember Washington Post reporter Dana Priest's expose about how our national security and intelligence system has become so big, so complex and so hard to manage, no one really knows if it's fulfilling its mission of keeping American safe?
There have been so many bad things that have happened nationally in terms of how we reacted to OBL and his 19 assassins commandeering commercial airplanes and crashing them on U.S. soil back in 2001; We're (hopefully) pulling out of the mistake that was the Iraq war by the end of this year — but the Afghan campaign continues — even though our own CIA director says that al Qaeda isn't really a presence there, but in neighboring Pakistan. Hopefully the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden is more than just a symbolic victory in understanding how to balance national security with having a smart and directed foreign policy moving forward.