Hallelujah! Americans gathering outside of the White House last night, shouting “USA! USA!,” were celebrating the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead – brought to justice for his crimes against humanity by the bullets of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command forces in a mission ordered by President Obama. Upon taking office, President Obama had made the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda. Now we have killed the monster and captured his body.
The al Qaeda leader responsible for the loss of nearly 3000 innocent lives on 9/11, and the deaths of thousands of other victims all over the world, was cowering to his last day in a $1 million compound in Pakistan, with elaborate security and 12 to 18 foot walls topped with barbed wire. A woman used as a human shield met the same fate as Bin Laden, along with two al Qaeda couriers and one of Bin Laden’s adult sons.
Congratulations to our brave special forces countrymen who carried out this successful mission. And President Obama deserves credit for never letting up on pursuing Bin Laden in Pakistan, as well as launching multiple drone attacks on Pakistan soil that have killed other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and have disrupted their operations.
Obama did not bow to pressure from the Pakistani government to stop the drone attacks. And given the fact that the compound in which Osama bin Laden was hiding was only about 1000 feet from Pakistan’s premier military academy and not very far from the Pakistani capital of Islamibad, it is suspected that members of the Pakistani military and intelligence services were aware that Bin Laden was hiding in their midst and did nothing about it. We did. Proving that nothing succeeds like success, the hypocritical Pakistan government issued a statement regarding the news of Bin Laden’s demise praising the operation:
Osama bin Ladin’s death illustrates the resolve of the international community including Pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism. It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world.
While we have every reason to savor this victory, we also must not lose sight of the fact that killing Bin Laden does not mean the end of our battle against al Qaeda, which has decentralized its operations. There is a particularly deadly terrorist cell in Yemen from which attempted attacks on American soil have been launched in the last couple of years.
As Winston Churchill once said,
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Unfortunately, President Obama continues to focus on the symptoms rather than the root cause of the existential problem we are facing. Our enemy is not just al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations. It is the ideology of radical Islam, which animates the terrorists and inspires many more millions of Islamists who aim to conquer our institutions and subvert our freedoms by stealth.
In his speech to the nation announcing the killing of bin Laden, President Obama emphasized, as he has done in the past, that
the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam
We may not be at war with Islam per se, but the Islamists who feed on Islamist supremist ideology are at war with the United States and the free world. And they hate us because of who we are, not for any alleged harm that we’ve ever caused them.
Only three years after the United States won its independence, when there was no Jewish state for Muslims to resent, and no American troops on Muslim soil, Thomas Jefferson, then US ambassador to France, and John Adams, then US Ambassador to Britain, learned from a Muslim ambassador to Britain why the Muslims were so hostile towards Americans even at the infancy of our country.
Jefferson and Adams were attempting to negotiate a peace treaty with the Muslim Barbary pirates, an exercise that ultimately proved to be futile.
As Jefferson and Adams later reported to Congress, the Muslim ambassador explained to them that Islam
was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.
This hostility, so intense then, has not abated more than two hundred years later. Violent Islamic terrorism and non-violent “stealth” jihadism are two sides of the same coin. Sadly, President Obama fails to grasp that the supremist, sharia-inspired ideology underlying both threats is one and the same. So is the Islamists’ end-game, even if their methods may vary amongst them.
Let’s celebrate the momentous occasion of Bin Laden’s dispatch to the land of 72 virgins. But let’s also not forget that we are engaged in a very long war on many fronts.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam