President Obama has just announced that the United States killed Osama bin Laden today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and recovered his body. It has been nine years and seven months since Osama orchestrated 9/11, but an American team finally killed him. His body is in American hands. This is revenge, but it’s also deterrence and also means that bin Laden won’t kill any more Americans. This is the single most important success the United States has had in its war against Al Qaeda.
So what does this mean? First, it is good for the United States reputation, power and influence that we finally got bin Laden. Bin Laden’s ability to escape from the U.S., and his apparent impunity, fed an image in some Islamist quarters of America as a paper tiger — and that encouraged extremists. Bin Laden himself once said that people bet on the strong horse, the horse that will win, and the killing underscores that it’s the United States that is the horse to bet on. Moreover, this sends a message that you mess with America at your peril, and that there will be consequences for a terror attack on the United States.