Justice prevails, at long last, for bin Laden

Freedom New Mexico

With the death of the al-Qaida mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks, Americans and, indeed, free people throughout the world can justifiably celebrate victory.

We should gird for what may be an inevitable backlash and retaliation by followers of Osama bin Laden for the killing of the leader of the international terror movement that has emboldened countless radical Islamic elements. But, after nearly a decade, Americans have received a measure of justice.

The man responsible for more than 3,000 deaths in the hijacked jetliner suicide attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, is dead, thanks to “the greatest achievement in our fight against al-Qaida,” as President Barack Obama said in his dramatic late-night statement from the White House. Or, as presidents Obama and George W. Bush both characterized the goal, bin Laden finally has been brought to justice.

The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and America’s entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.

Al-Qaida was also blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled.

Many of the particulars were not immediately revealed of how U.S. forces finally located the illusive terror mastermind and how what was described as a small team of Americans killed bin Laden and took custody of his body, or to what extent the Pakistani government aided in the effort.

Also unknown was how Muslim reaction throughout the Middle East will play out. U.S. embassies around the world were placed on alert against reprisal attacks, and the State Department advised Americans living or traveling abroad, particularly in areas that have been hit by anti-American violence in the past, that they should limit travel outside their homes and avoid large gatherings.

What we can be reasonably certain of is that this is but a chapter, albeit a vitally significant one, in what presidents Bush and Obama both have characterized as a “war” against al-Qaida. We hope that Middle Eastern nations, many of whom had their own problems with the terrorist kingpin, appreciate the benefits of ridding the world of a man President Obama described as “not a Muslim leader, but a murderer of Muslims.”

Today we celebrate that “justice has been done,” as the president said Sunday night. From this point forward, our hopes and prayers are that terrorism has been thwarted.