Monday, May 02, 2011

The American people did not choose this fight

It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who's been gravely wounded. So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done.--President Obama
A few quick thoughts:
  1. This has taken a long time.  Almost a decade since September 11, 2001, and the intelligence on the Abbottabad first surfacing last summer.  While intelligence and special operations are complex and challenging, I still wonder how much of the time was in careful deliberation and how much was in the limits of intel.
  2. Hopefully this will strengthen the resolve of the administration when it comes to foreign policy and negotiation.  Peace comes through strength as well as a balanced view of varied interests; not through avoidance, enabling, or capitulation.
  3. The competence of the execution of this operation promotes the Obama legacy over Jimmy Carter's to me.  I worried about this back in 2008.  So did others.  I hope this administration's legacy outperforms noticably and measurably.
  4. There is a higher police presence in the subway stations, as I saw from my morning commute.  I am sure that this success of U.S. policy will incite and rally al Qaeda sympathies around the world, and bring higher risks of terrorist events against U.S. citizens and on U.S. soil.  But there is no better alternative.  There must be consequences for terrorist actions.
  5. The quick disposition of Bin Laden's body at sea begs some questions.  I am certain that photos and probably video of his body exist; but as much as journalists would want to verify the evidence of his death, the controversy they would add is a tradeoff I am sure the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. worked hard to price, and avoid.

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