Osama bin Laden: Dead

Breaking News.

All the nets are reporting:  Osama bin Laden is dead.  He was likely killed by a drone attack and his body is in US custody.

Update 1: CNN is reporting that bin Laden was killed by “US military assets” (drone not confirmed) and was killed at “a mansion” near Islamabad, Pakistan and that other bin Laden family members.

Wolf Blitzer speculated that “US military assets” could mean a CIA team.

Update 2: MSNBC is reporting that it may have been a special forces strikes.  Further, their report does not contain the mansion reference, and instead are unclear on whether the he was killed in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Update 3: President Obama confirms that Osama was killed by a US military mission at a compound in Pakistan.

Update 4 (Doug Mataconis): MSNBC reporting that the operation was carried out by a Navy SEAL team and that bin Laden was shot in the head during a firefight, after which the SEAL team took custody of his body. Whoever got off that kill shot will never have to pay for a beer again.

Update 5 (Doug Mataconis): President Obama has addressed the nation and confirmed that bin Laden is indeed dead. Additionally, former President Bush released a statement shortly after the President finished speaking.

 

FILED UNDER: US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    America…f*** yeah!!!
    You can run…you can hide…but there aren’t enough caves in the world to hide in!!!!

  2. Hey Norm says:

    If he was hit by a drone would we have his body?

  3. michael reynolds says:

    So tonight the kids get to drink a little Champagne.

  4. mantis says:

    Near Islamabad, eh? This should make things interesting with Pakistan.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    :)…

  6. This is a day of independence, for all the munchkins and their descendants. Let the glorious news be spread!

    OSAMA BIN LADEN AT LAST IS DEAD!!!

  7. Maggie Mama says:

    May those lost on 9/11 finally R.I.P.

  8. anjin-san says:

    Good news indeed. We did not forget about you pal…

  9. steve says:

    Good news for sure.

    Steve

  10. Hey Norm says:

    Well put Maggie Mama…well put.

  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    Special Forces got him 🙂

  12. Scott O. says:
  13. Hey Norm says:

    Shot in the head…couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
    Great day for America. Justice is ours.

  14. JKB says:

    Well, here’s hoping they shot him in the ass and he died of severe brain damage.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    An American shot him in the head. How happy does that make me? Really, really a lot.

  16. TG Chicago says:

    On NBC, they seem to be hinting at the story that perhaps this could lead to an easing of some of the post-9/11 security theater in the months and years ahead. Sign me on to that notion.

  17. TG,

    Zawahari isn’t dead yet.

  18. TG Chicago says:

    Doug,

    So we should keep nail clippers off of planes in fear of Zawahari? I thought a good libertarian would also get behind any reason to end the security theater. No?

  19. jb says:

    Thank God first and it’s about high time.

  20. anjin-san says:

    My guess is security will be tighter, at least for a while. Al-Qaeda will be desperate to alter the dynamic at this point.

  21. Rock says:

    I’m sure that Osama bin Laden’s last message from beyond is the Paradise is Overrated … and those 72 virgins are a damn lie !

    Congratulations to those who carried out the raid. Well done.

  22. Franklin says:

    Congratulations, fellow Americans!

  23. TG,

    I’ve written plenty about the security theater that is the TSA, but to argue that al Qaeda is now automatically no longer a potential threat strikes me as naive.

  24. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Great news!!! Good riddance to bad garbage.

  25. John Burgess says:

    I’ll criticize Obama’s speech because he focused on 9/11 too much. UBL and Al-Qaeda were responsible for the deaths of many other Americans, in African embassies and on the USS Cole; and for hundreds in Europe and Asia both before and after 9/11.

    That the world is rid of UBL, well it couldn’t make me happier!

  26. TG Chicago says:

    to argue that al Qaeda is now automatically no longer a potential threat strikes me as naive.

    I did not make that argument, silly boy.

  27. TG,

    You were talking about the moron on NBC saying that we could dial down security. That isn’t going to happen just because OBL is dead, that’s all I’m saying

  28. TG Chicago says:

    I said “security theater” in the first post.

    The security theater is about the illusion of safety. Does OBL’s death have an effect on actual security? No. Does it have an effect on the illusion? Yes. So why not use the momentum to push for an end to silly rules like no nailclippers?

  29. mannning says:

    If anything, we should dial security upwards, not downwards.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    Apparently it was SEALS who carried out the raid. Go Navy!

    And it was the Obama national security team that kept this secret for weeks, found Bin Laden, and laid the intel groundwork.

    And Mr. Obama himself who authorized what had to be a terribly risky operation. Imagine if it had failed.

  31. mannning says:

    But, I do agree that silly stuff should end.

  32. mantis says:

    The look on Obama’s face when Seth Myers made the Obama joke.

  33. mantis says:

    Aww, crap. The Osama joke.

  34. Neil Hudelson says:

    I want to see the long form death certificate.

  35. anjin-san says:

    A few thoughts:

    Coverage on CNN & Fox – terrible, than God for the internet

    Bush – gracious remarks

    Obama – quiet determination is a good thing

  36. anjin-san says:

    One more thought on the forces that got the job done – doing what they always do, putting it all on the line in the service of our country.

  37. ponce says:

    The Obama haters are melting down.

  38. Hey Norm says:

    Not a time for politics…it’s a great night for America.

  39. Ole Sarge says:

    One head of the hydra is cut off, how many more will spring up? Too soon to really celebrate, make a toast and all, but keep the powder dry, and ourselves vigilant, it ain’t over yet.

  40. Franklin says:

    I’ll criticize Obama’s speech because he focused on 9/11 too much. UBL and Al-Qaeda were responsible for the deaths of many other Americans, in African embassies and on the USS Cole; and for hundreds in Europe and Asia both before and after 9/11.

    Obama: “For over two decades, bin Laden has been al-Qaida’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.”

    But, since this is the Internet, we must criticize everything at all times …

  41. michael reynolds says:

    Sarge:

    I hear you, but I think this is bigger than that. Combine Al Qaeda’s inability to stage a second 9/11 in the US, or to gain control in Iraq, and the Arab spring, with the successful killing of Osama Bin Laden, and I think Al Qaeda’s day is past. Like a dying scorpion they may get in a last few stings, but their myth and their ideology are done.

  42. ponce says:

    T.A. Lawrence said the cycle of Islamic fanaticism starts to wane when the Muslims themselves begin to tire of the fanatics in their ranks.

  43. matt says:

    Mannning : Indeed.

    AS for the 71 virgin things. I’m very sure by about the fourth virgin the fun would wear off and you’d be screaming for a slut..

  44. gudbibi says:

    ok, so the next attack on America or elsewhere means will be by the Americans (army, navy, etc) as they got no one to put their blames on now since Osama’s demise…ch ch ch 😛 OR , even worse if they plan to come up with another fictitious organization like Al-Qaeda :O really feel for the american pplz at times…at the hands of their propagandist govt….aah.

    don’t ya know what your f*** govt. is upto?????? they’re the ACTUAL terrorists! the WORLD terrorists!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mztfFdpd1Rk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQtSjmFBUiU

  45. rodney dill says:

    Good news.

  46. jwest says:

    The Rare Comment In Which I Praise Barack Obama

    First, let’s give credit where credit is due to Bush and Cheney for their detention and aggressive interrogation program that provided the critical link to Bin Laden’s courier. For those who questioned if such tactics provide actionable intelligence, the answer is Yes.

    Wait for it…. It’s coming.

    Next, let’s all acknowledge that the death of Bin Laden would have occurred regardless of who was occupying the White House at this time. Apparently, there was no magic in the fact that Obama held the presidency, his international style didn’t charm foreign governments into giving us special access or information and the Muslim world didn’t suddenly shift their allegiances to the U.S. because of any speech he made.

    I promised it, and here it is:

    Barack Obama does deserve credit for the style of the raid carried out. Although he could have sent a drone and played it safe, he chose to approve a helicopter insertion – chillingly Carteresque – to do the job. This type of raid provided definitive proof of Bin Laden’s demise, but carried the risk of a repeat of the debacle in the desert in the failed hostage rescue attempt in Iran. Had this operation gone wrong, the damage to Obama would have been devastating.

    For having the courage to go with the SEALS, I praise our president. (yes, Michael, even though he’s black)

  47. John Burgess says:

    For those interested, here’s a picture of the ‘mansion’ in which UBL was found in Pakistan. It was a ‘luxurious compound’ by Pakistani standards.

  48. An Interested Party says:

    Had this operation gone wrong, the damage to Obama would have been devastating.

    Awww, you could only have hoped for such a debacle…how sad it is for you that there was no repeat of Operation Eagle Claw…

  49. Pug says:

    I agree with Katie Couric: “Navy SEALS rock”.

  50. jwest says:

    Interested Party,

    Actually, I’m overjoyed at the way the operation was handled and the results achieved.

    It would have been a shame if Bin Laden only experienced a microsecond of fear between the flash and concussion of a drone missile attack. The fact that he had the time to realize he was going to die at the hands of American forces is a source of ongoing pleasure to me.

    My praise for Obama is sincere. He took a chance that he didn’t need to and it worked out.

    Of course, I question the timing…..

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    This type of raid provided definitive proof of Bin Laden’s demise

    Not everyone sees it that way (link, link).

  52. sam says:

    “Of course, I question the timing…..”

    Golly, perhaps you’d share with us your intimate knowledge of the intelligence background and operational parameters of the mission. We’d all be appreciative.

  53. jwest says:

    Jukeboxgrad,

    Of course there will be a few nuts, but faking something like this is far beyond the competence level of Barack Obama.

    There will be photos, video, DNA and eyewitness accounts of Navy SEALs who aren’t in the habit of lying for a Bill Ayers trained socialist. I believe you will find the conservative side of the aisle in near unanimous acceptance of Bin Laden’s death.

  54. jwest says:

    Sam,

    That line was more humor than anything else.

    Until we start to get some details…..

  55. jukeboxgrad says:

    I believe you will find the conservative side of the aisle in near unanimous acceptance of Bin Laden’s death.

    We’ll see.

  56. sam says:

    “There will be photos, video, DNA and eyewitness accounts of Navy SEALs who aren’t in the habit of lying for a Bill Ayers trained socialist. ”

    Zing!

  57. Drew says:

    I understand the tendency to cheer, but for those of us who lived in the area at the time and are aware of people who did not come home and the devastating effect it had on the Tristate area it is more of a time of quiet and reflective satisfaction.

    Thanks should go out to the successive Administrations of Bush and Obama who pursued the policy, and the intelligence and military communities for their efforts.

  58. TG Chicago says:

    @jwest:

    First, let’s give credit where credit is due to Bush and Cheney for their detention and aggressive interrogation program that provided the critical link to Bin Laden’s courier.

    Do you have evidence of this? Obama ended the torture program, so if what you say is correct, then we’ve had the evidence since before Obama took office. Obama said they got the first tips in August 2010.

  59. G.A.Phillips says:

    I want to see the long form death certificate.

    I want to borrow his body so I can do some art:)

  60. jwest says:

    TG Chicago,

    Here’s a link to a fairly comprehensive summary:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/osama-bin-laden-is-killed-by-us-forces-in-pakistan/2011/05/01/AFXMZyVF_story.html?hpid=z2

    Our friend Jay Tea sums it up like this:

    The key intelligence that eventually led to finding Bin Laden was the nickname of his favorite courier — and we got that from a Guantanamo detainee four years ago. It took four years to take that datum and get the real name, the real identity, and then find the individual in question. Then we had to follow him, figure out his base of operations (couriers, by definition, move around a lot, and figuring what’s a base and what’s a stopping point can be tricky), prove that the compound was Bin Laden’s, and then prove that Bin Laden was there took four years. So, once again, President Obama has (quietly) embraced a Bush policy or program, and ridden it to victory. Candidate Obama would be gravely disappointed in President Obama.

    http://wizbangblog.com/content/2011/05/02/on-the-passing-of-osama-bin-laden.php

  61. jwest says:

    G.A.,
    “I want to see the long form death certificate.”

    (heh)

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  64. TG Chicago says:

    @jwest: Thanks for the link. Still not seeing evidence that the tips came through torture as opposed to standard interrogation.

  65. jwest says:
  66. TG Chicago says:

    James Fallows on the potential for a change in security theater:

    But here is potentially the greatest significance of this news, apart from the “bringing justice to our enemies” satisfaction: it holds the potential of marking an end to the otherwise un-endable “Global War or Terror.”

    Signifying an end to a “global war” does not mean the end of a threat. America faces a daily threat from crime; for the foreseeable future Americans and others will face a continuing threat of terrorist attack; the entire world faces a threat that the thousands of nuclear warheads still in existence could destroy millions, through accidental or deliberate misuse. But we classify all those as threats, requiring our continued vigilance and best efforts to prevent them. Rather than as ongoing, open-ended wars with the consequent distortions that wars can impose on our values, institutions, and public lives.

    As long as the “Global War on Terror” was defined as eliminating all threat of terrorist activity, it could never be ended. That threat — like other threats — will never completely go away. But if this admittedly symbolic victory in the “war” can be taken as closing a loop opened ten years ago (and earlier, with previous OBL-inspired attacks), perhaps it could free us to continue the vigilance while beginning to correct the decade-long warping of our values. That is another gift the commandos who carried out this mission may have given America. We will see whether Obama is willing to lead that way, and others are willing to follow.

    Not sure what Doug’s problem is with that idea.

  67. mattb says:

    Ok… I did make this comment on a different thread, but I think this is probably a better place to have this conversation. The current spin coming out of right-wing media and being reproduced here by some posters seems to be using this event as a reason to not only justify Gitmo, but “enhanced interrogation” and “extraordinary rendition” policies (aka torture).

    I think POW (or whatever the given acronym should be for “enemy combatants”) camps are something that is fundamentally unavoidable. And I’m not attempting to suggest that we should subject combatants to interrogation — that’s just dumb.

    That said — in especially the article that was just posted (http://www.startribune.com/nation/121089124.html) and in Limbaugh’s later comments from today’s broadcast (https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/rush-limbaugh-thank-god-for-president-obama/) there is a a transition from “we need to torture in order to stop the immediate threat” (aka the ticking time bomb/24 justification) to now “we need to torture in order to accomplish something ten years down the line?”

    Does anyone else find that more than a little creepy?

  68. mattb says:

    Also… interesting side question — following the Fallow’s Security Theater comment — does this provide the necessary cover not only to begin Afghanistan draw downs, but to open the possibility of not needing so large a military?

    (Of course Libya suggests that the Administration might not necessarily be interested in too many reductions).

  69. mattb says:

    One note on the connection between enhanced interrogation and this information that provided the foundation for this mission:

    Newsmax (yes that Newsmax) is reporting the following on the Courier intellegence:

    Rumsfeld Exclusive: There Was No Waterboarding of Courier Source

    Monday, 02 May 2011 01:02 PM, By Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella

    Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Newsmax the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden was obtained through “normal interrogation approaches” and says the notion that terrorist suspects were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay is a “myth.”

    http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/DonaldRumsfeld-gitmo-waterboarding-osamabinladen/2011/05/02/id/394820

    Taking him at his word (and to his credit, one could argue that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain from saying the opposite), this pretty much deflates the Limbaugh argument. We have yet to have had any significant evidence of any *major* information produced under “enhanced interrogation” (torture) that wasn’t also arrived at by different means of interrogation.

  70. An Interested Party says:

    I’m sure that it sticks in the craw of some, no matter what they might publicly say, that the “Bill Ayers trained socialist” is the C-in-C on whose watch this happened…

  71. Thomas says:

    It’s not means the terrorist attacks stop.I think.Americans will may be more attacks by terrorist ,special who oversea .