If Pakistan cannot or will not take out these high-level terrorists targets and we have actionable intelligence about where they are, then I would take action to protect the American people. I firmly believe that if we know the whereabouts of bin Laden and his deputies and we have exhausted all other options, we must take them out.

Sen. Barack Obama
Op-Ed in the Globe Gazette
Mason City, Iowa
Aug. 12, 2007

On Sunday night, President Obama made good on that promise, announcing that a team of elite Navy SEALs had taken out Osama bin Laden for good with two bullets, one to the chest and one to the head. The surprise attack on Public Enemy No. 1 took place shortly before 2 a.m. in Pakistan, ending one of the longest and most frustrating worldwide manhunts in history.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, a subdued President Obama said, “Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

Jubilant, flag-waving Americans gathered in front of the White House and at Ground Zero in New York to celebrate. The New York Daily News carried a photo of bin Laden the next day with the headline, “Rot in Hell.”

When presented with the option of bombing the compound, Obama rejected it and instead favored a riskier plan to airlift Navy SEALS by helicopter, having them storm the compound and conduct a room-by-room search for the terrorist mastermind. On Sunday, the operation was carried out in secrecy as Obama and his close circle of security advisers watched on a secure hookup.

Instead of being boastful, Obama struck a somber tone, praising those who had carried out the mission, both Democrats and Republicans and declaring, “Justice has been done.” In order to minimize the inevitable pushback from some Muslims in Arab countries, the administration noted that they had observed the Muslim practice of washing bin Laden’s body and wrapping it in a white garb before dumping it in the Arabian Sea within 24 hours of his death.

On Monday, at a previously scheduled White House dinner of political leaders and their mates, President Obama tried to rekindle the national unity that was on display immediately following the September 11 attack.

“I know that the unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illusions about the difficulties of the debates that we’ll have to be engaged in, in the weeks ahead and months to come,” he said. “But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family, whether it was the tragedy in Tucson or, most recently, our unified response to the terrible storms that have taken place in the South. Last night was one of those moments. And so tonight, it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face.”

If Obama had entertained any illusions about duplicating the short-lived post 9/11 unity, they would have quickly dissolved.

Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times carried the headline, “Bin Laden’s sea burial fuels conspiracy theories.”

The story observed, “Conspiracy theorists on both the left and the right were quick to insist that bin Laden was either still alive or had been dead for years, pouncing on the government’s decision to slide the body of the world’s most wanted man off a board into the Arabian Sea.”

The new conspiracy theories about bin Laden emerged before the old ones about where Obama was born were put to rest.

On Monday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena granted a client of birther litigator Orly Taitza an opportunity to challenge the summary dismissal of a case heard two years ago questioning whether President Obama was born in Hawaii. Despite the White House release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate and mountains of additional evidence, some conspiracy buffs refuse to drop the issue. For local views, go to www.ourweekly.com Obama got Osama.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine. Special to the NNPA from the DefenderOnline.com. He can be reached through his website, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.