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'A good day for America'

Mark Mardell | 21:06 UK time, Monday, 2 May 2011

America has waited a long time, more than 10 years, for this moment of justice and revenge. President Barack Obama is making the most of it. He has said: "I think we can all agree, this is a good day for America. Our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done. The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama Bin Laden."


The US has had agonised debates about the wars it has been involved in and its role on the world stage. The American reaction to Bin Laden's crimes, the invasion of Afghanistan, the Iraq War, have riven the nation. But most will see the killing of Bin Laden very simply, as an act without shades of ambiguity. The good guys shot the bad guy dead. Mr Obama is trying to use it to repeat one of his main messages: how the country should come together.

"Today we are reminded that as a nation there's nothing we can't do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together, when we remember the sense of unity that defines us as Americans."

He praised the people who celebrated.

"We've seen that spirit, that patriotism in the crowds that have gathered here outside the White House, at Ground Zero in New York, and across the country, people holding candles, waving the flag, singing the national anthem, people proud to live in the United States of America."

But there is an interesting word of warning in a thoughtful article for NPR by Foreign Policy writer David Rothkopf. The author reflects: "Sept 11 was not Pearl Harbor. Al-Qaida was not and is not a historic enemy like World War II's Axis powers. Bin Laden is not Hitler."

It is a point worth making. Bin Laden could create terrible suffering and appalling disruption, but he could never actually have won. If World War II had gone a different way, Hitler or his henchmen could have ruled from Downing Street. There was never any danger of Bin Laden taking over the White House.

America has had its moment of justice. Maybe it is a moment of closure too.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    What a limited perspective. The majority of Americans are not celebrating. While our brothers, sons, boyfriends, husbands are deployed fighting wars we did not ask for and we do not support there is no reason to celebrate. "the good guys shot the bad guy dead", if that is true, why aren't ALL of our troops on transport home right at this moment. There may be closure for the families of the 9/11 victims, at least the ones who aren't conspiracy theorists who believe the government was behind it anyway. This is not one of the monumental moments of American unity the press and government is making it out to be. The people celebrating are definitely in the minority. When terrorism is no longer a threat and our economy is functioning at full speed, then there is cause for celebration!

  • Comment number 2.


    Al-Qaida may not be Imperial Japan, but they don't have to be. All they need is a nuclear device and a delivery system.

    Now, where would they find someone crazy enough to blow themselves up?

  • Comment number 3.

    I couldn't agree more with Mr. Mardell. My fear is that my countrymen will view this exactly as Mr. Rothkopf suggests, that we have actually done something to stop terrorism. We have wrought vengeance on a malefactor. What this will actually mean has little to do with addressing anger at inequities which fuels terrorism is dubious. The meaning lies with those who perceive it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Nahara07, (#1. At 22:08pm 2nd May 2011)

    "... The majority of Americans are not celebrating ..."
    Can you provide any evidence to support your claim?

  • Comment number 5.

    "... The majority of Americans are not celebrating ..."
    Can you provide any evidence to support your claim?
    ---------------------------------
    Yes. Look out your window. Do you see people dancing in the streets?

  • Comment number 6.

    What a ridiculously narrow perspective. So when the SAS shot eight IRA terrorists at Loughgall was that the end of the troubles in Northern Ireland? Terrorism must be fought until it is no longer a threat, however that has to be achieved, whether it is hearts and minds or just killing all the bad guys. This war is a long way from won, lowering our guard now would just get more of our people killed.

  • Comment number 7.

    @Chryses

    No, sadly the media isn't reporting on the millions of Americans at work today doing their jobs and not racing to the streets because it is a bit boring and not the image they want to portray.

    I haven't heard of any parades organized VJ or VE day style. The tweets and facebook posts I see all suggest there is still a long road ahead and therefore too early to celebrate. And a lot want to see photos of the body.

  • Comment number 8.

    @7.
    But I think youre right Nahara07. Even if its quiet, reflective celebration, the majority are celebrating.
    All is fair, in love and war.

  • Comment number 9.

    Obama talks eloquently about American sensitivities and justifies their actions on the grounds of justice (really retribution). There is no acknowledgement of the British lives being lost in Afghanistan or what effect this action may have on those forces on the ground.
    Did he consult with his allies? I doubt it very much.

    America would help its cause by being consistent in its foreign policy and in considering its allies upon who it relies for PR purposes at the very least.

  • Comment number 10.

    A feeling of sympathy for those who have again been forced to remember 9/11 --10 years on is more appropriate.

    ---- Nationalism is what is tasteless-- it rubs salt in the wounds of the grieving.

  • Comment number 11.

    Scott_WV, (#5. At 22:25pm 2nd May 2011)

    "... Look out your window. Do you see people dancing in the streets?
    Now, now. Don't be silly. Nahara07 made the claim twice in post #1, so it is up to him - or his supporters - to substantiate the claim.

    Incidentally, it was just about the only topic of conversation at work today, and the commentary was uniformly positive - to a degree that I cannot post many of the comments. So, nope, the evidence I am aware of contradicts his/your claim.

    So where's your evidence? Hmmm?

  • Comment number 12.

    Not being American myself but recently graduating from an American university I can say that a lot of my friends in America, whether American or not, are glad about this. I think that everybody celebrates in their own way but the sheer number of facebook comments that I have seen would reflect that a lot of Americans are happy about this. Not all may have the time or ability to go out and celebrate as those did in Washington D.C. and NYC but I believe that even those who go about their normal daily routine are still happy about it. And we all know that the media generally only ever reports the sensational not the mundane so even if it is only the minority celebrating, the reporting of it should not come as a shock.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am so depressed by this.

    I am so depressed about the blanket coverage of this so obviously contrived story.

    The capture and secret execution of a make-believe terrorist who orchestrated 911 from a cave. A so called terrorist who was able ensure for the first time in its history a complete mismanagement of NORAD scrambling to assist and intervene before the second plane struck. A foreign national who was able to connive the discovery within the ruins of the twin towers, of US patented military grade thermite that NOONE in the world would have access to (much less middle eastern risk states).

    .. and then 'they' tell us the US government, this paranoid apple-pie loving home-security obsessed government with its war on terrorism .."OBSERVED ISLAMIC TRADITION" and immediately buried at sea, the perpetrator they accuse of the most heinous crimes against US citizens in recent memory.

    But most of all I am depressed by the fact that most people who believe their news agencies have integrity will wake up and swallow this BS.

    My God I did not believe how small and lacking in backbone the BBC could be .. I cant find the words to understand how any reporter could stand up with a microphone and spew out this verbiage with any conviction.

    There is only one American you should be paraphrasing at a time like this. Abe Lincoln: "You cant fool all the people all of the time.."

  • Comment number 14.

    The death of OBL is an accomplishment and a milestone.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mr. Rothkopf's piece is actually a blistering attack on the strategy deployed by the Bush Administration following 9/11, which he says did immense damage to the USA and its interests around the world.

    This is something that the Obama admistration seems to have taken fully on board, hence their very cautious approach to issues such as Libya.

    I was in NYC soon after 9/11 and well remember the shock, horror, loss and anger but senior politicians have to take a very detached, unemotional view of these events, at least in private whilst they sort out their counter-strategy.

    Obama and his team appear to be doing just that although as Rothkopf points out, it is a decade and thousands of lives and trillions of dollars late.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bush used the attacks and Bin Laden as an excuse to carry out regime changes and fill the pockets of special interest groups which supported him and his administration/regime. Many people believed Bush wanted Osama alive to justify his corporate, yes corporate military escapades. Obama is going to use Bin Laden's destruction to get reelected. It's clear that has been a priority for some time. Personally I'm not so sure today is any better a day for America than yesterday or the day before. We have the same bankrupt government beholden to the banking elite that run our economic system and the same two-party system which is impervious to actual reform.

  • Comment number 17.

    When terrorism is no longer a threat* and our economy is functioning at full speed**, then there is cause for celebration!
    ==================================================
    (*) That will be the day we die and the world ends which won't be so happy clappy.
    (**) full speed economical functionality will only be maintained through usual fraud, theft, exploitation and unadulterated capitalistic greed, plus at least 2 more oil wars

  • Comment number 18.

    I live in Washington DC and went to the White House last night. It’s true that most were students and youth and that everyone showed up at work this morning like any other Monday. However, you feel the buzz of excitement and anticipation on the streets and in the corridors. This was indeed a good day for America.

    Many other spectacular events happened this week as well: NATO’s “accidental” killing of Gaddafi’s son, Egypt’s request to the United States to support the declaration of an independent Palestinian state following the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s failure to sign an agreement which would see his stepping down from office, and Syria’s continued attacks on its citizens, and then – following the killing of Bin Laden – Mrs. Clinton’s invitation to the Taliban “to abandon al-Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process’’. It also remains to be seen how the Pakistanis will react to the news that Bin Laden seems to have been living in Abbottabad next to the military academy and that the US took him out - seemingly without consultation or assistance of the Pakistani Government.

    An optimist will see the many opportunities for resolving issues that have been gridlocked for years. A pessimist will fear the dangers in doing so. President Obama has shown exceptional leadership over the last two years. He has his work cut out.

  • Comment number 19.

    Closure? Hardly. Bin Laden's legacy wasn't just the three reaction to it and the undermining of our liberty from within by our own government. Warrantless searches, unlimited detention without trial, expanded "intelligence gathering (i.e., spying) on not just Americans but people around the world, turning just getting to your flight into an ordeal bad enough to discourage travel, the mistrust of the outside world that turned obtaining an American tourist via from a simple process of your travel agent filling out a form into an inquisition by the American State Dept.--all of those are Bin Laden's legacy.

  • Comment number 20.

    "What a limited perspective. The majority of Americans are not celebrating."

    You're the one with a limited perspective. I couldn't be there to celebrate in DC or New York, but I was there in spirit. Do you know how it feels to be overcome with joy & relief? To want to scream out to the world that the butcher and liar of mankind is dead? In my mind that man was responsible for every death in the war on terror since 9/11. Yes there is still work to be done, but to deny us the satisfaction of Osama's death is tasteless & even cruel. If you're offended by it then turn away. It will all be over very soon anyways because most of us have jobs & classes to attend. God bless America & her allies today & forever!

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm surprised by the reaction in the US. They obviously don't understand the nature of terrorism. So let's look at this in terms of money - an American obsession. Over the last 10 years, the US has spent roughly 3.4% of its TOTAL income for the period on the hunt for bin Laden - $455 billion dollars on invading and tenuously holding Afghanistan - or nearly 50 times more than its aid to Israel over the same period. This is madness! If America had spent one tenth of this on bribing Isreal to behave like a civilised country towards the Palestinians, then 9/11 would never have happened. And bin Laden would have remained what he really was; an insane, incompetent nonentity playing with guns in the desert.

  • Comment number 22.

    Bin Laden is the most prominent of a number of older men who send impressionable younger men out to lose their lives - and many others - in suicide attacks. They themselves seem to value their own lives as extremely precious, and take elaborate steps to protect themselves.

    If nothing else, this will show such men that they are not immune from retribution.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am a college student at an American university, and with the exception of a few scattered groups, no one really feels a sense of closure. Obama made pretty clear last night that the War on Terror is not finished. My friends and family fighting oversees will remain deployed. Moreover, the wars have grown to be such a weight that this only adds to the sense that my country has become mired in the Middle East. What should be a military victory is salt in our wounds at this point-it changes nothing when it should change everything.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    It is understandable that Americans would want to cheer because 9/11 was personal to them, even though there were many citizens of other countries killed that day, but we should never lok at it as more than that.
    To say it's some kind of closure to any but the Americans is foolish indeed because that suscribes to the theory that the fight was against Al Qaida or that Afghanistan is a war against the Taliban or every other group, that we over-simply describe as terrorists. The truth is we are not fighting a specific country or group of countries but an idealogy, spawned from extreme Islam. As such it will mourn Bin Laden but will not cease what is to them a quest with no timelines, and one that does not accept that any one man is greater than the cause.

  • Comment number 26.

    9. At 22:48pm 2nd May 2011, marcusaulerias wrote:

    "Obama talks eloquently".


    Unfortunately that's all he does. However he might have done better by saying the world is relatively saferer. Al-Qaeda's number 2, Ayman al-Zawahri is still at large.

  • Comment number 27.

    Fascinating stuff. Well done the American Special Forces!

    Agree with Mark (whom I suspect isn't a big fan of Obama) that Obama's leadership meant very little to the operation - although there isn't a politician in the world who wouldn't milk this in his position.

    Also with Obama, we can be grateful that he will deal with Pakistan in a calm and measured way. The talk of Pakistan being a "key ally" will end as soon as we don't need them, and that's where it'll get very, very interesting.

    For OBL to be found that close to Pakistans military academy, with an obviously conspicous "fortress", and the fact he's been there since at least August - makes a very compelling argument that Pakistan's gov (or at least the ISI) were entirely complicit in harbouring Bin Laden. That's no better than the Taleban, and I feel a lesser president, in charge of a less war-weary nation, would absolutely batter Pakistan for this.

    In fact, I'd go as far as saying that the Pakistani people, who have suffered so much and shown such extraordinary dignity, may batter their government for this.

  • Comment number 28.

    sarah @ 23

    With respect to the Middle East, Americans should be starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

    America is rapidly disengaging from Iraq and is scheduled to run down its forces in AfPak over the next few years.

    The Obama adminstration is being very cautious and measured in its approach to other conflicts in the region, many of which have self-combusted as the 'Arab Spring'.

    There will almost certainly be a horrific blood-letting between the Shia and Sunnis Muslims at some point within the next decade but that won't be America's direct problem.

    If Obama is kept on as POTUS for a second term, then I think Americans will ultimately have many reasons to be cheerful (once the deficit is shrunk to more manageable levels).

  • Comment number 29.

    TominExeter, (#21. At 23:47pm 2nd May 2011)

    "... If America had spent one tenth of this on bribing Isreal to behave like a civilised country towards the Palestinians, then 9/11 would never have happened ..."
    Do you have any evidence to support your claim?

  • Comment number 30.

    28. At 00:05am 3rd May 2011, JohnConstable wrote:

    "If Obama is kept on as POTUS for a second term, then I think Americans will ultimately have many reasons to be cheerful (once the deficit is shrunk to more manageable levels)."


    As long as he remains POTUS that's not going to happen but that's really for another thread.

  • Comment number 31.

    Without wanting to remonstrate too strongly with the phrase: 'back and to the left'

    How is it scientifically impossible for 12 tons of steel and titanium to be vaporized by jet fuel?
    Why was US military grade thermite found in the ruins of the twin towers?
    Why were there rivers of molten steel flowing weeks after the twin towers collapsed?
    Why did the remaining steel support girders display the clean angular slice attributed to industrial controlled demolitions?
    Why wont the FBI release the 80 or so items of CCTV footage clearly showing what crashed into the Pentagon?
    How was it possible to mismanage NORAD to such an extent that it could not scramble in time to engage and intervene before the second plane attacked?

    and last but not least ..

    Why wont the government engage and destroy once and for all the so called conspiracy theories by just simply answer the questions posed by concerned engineers, architects and academics who have the knowledge and experience and who are gravely concerned that there is something much more darker...

    Just simply answer the questions and put to bed these so called conspiracies.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    TheCynicalSasquatch, (#13. At 23:23pm 2nd May 2011)

    "... I am so depressed about the blanket coverage of this so obviously contrived story ..."
    Oh yes? "Obviously contrived?" This might be interesting.

    "... The capture and secret execution ..."
    As the execution was announced by the POTUS, we can safely conclude that it was not secret.

    "... a make-believe terrorist who orchestrated 911 from a cave. A so called terrorist who was able ensure for the first time in its history a complete mismanagement of NORAD scrambling to assist and intervene before the second plane struck ..."
    I always enjoy the obliquely racist comments used to devalue someone else's achievement. Something along the lines of, "Don't consider this a success! I mean, it isn't as if he were a real adversary, is he? I mean he's just an Arab for heaven's sake!"

    "... A foreign national who was able to connive the discovery within the ruins of the twin towers, of US patented military grade thermite that NOONE in the world would have access to (much less middle eastern risk states) ..."
    More of the same nonsense!
    I can almost hear the conversation now ... OBL to al-Zawahri: "Now remember, we must abide by the international patent laws when purchasing the weapons and munitions you will use to murder civilians. If we don't abide by the law, we may be prosecuted for patent violation!"

    "... "OBSERVED ISLAMIC TRADITION" and immediately buried at sea, the perpetrator they accuse of the most heinous crimes against US citizens in recent memory ..."
    A nice touch, I thought. Ensuring that there is no rational basis for the claim that the adversary's cultural norms were not accommodated (religious burial rites observed), and ensuring that the remains were made forever unavailable for a monument to be erected around and above (no physical focal point available).

    "... But most of all I am depressed by the fact that most people who believe their news agencies have integrity will wake up and swallow this BS ..."
    You have, I presume, some evidence to support your contention that the report is "BS?"

    "... My God I did not believe how small and lacking in backbone the BBC could be ..."
    While that may or may not be true, their reporting of this story would only support your contention that it is "small and lacking in backbone" if and only if you first substantiated your claim the report is "BS." Can you do so?

    "... how any reporter could stand up with a microphone and spew out this verbiage with any conviction."
    Possibly because he or she knows considerably more about the subject material than do you.

  • Comment number 34.

    Mark, your opening sentence sets the tone of your rather odd piece. This is nothing to do with "revenge" and to describe it as such really debases the current struggle to defeat the terrorists. The term 'war on terrorism' has fallen out favour somewhat, but people should not forget that it was the terrorists who first declared that war. You say "there was never any danger of Bin Laden taking over the White House." Oh, so that's all right then! That was never part of his game plan, so I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. Perhaps you don't think Al-Qaida poses much of threat? Perhaps you're not hearing what the extremists are actually wanting in their new world order? You suggest this ought to be a 'moment of closure'. Well, it is certainly a moment of closure as far as the hunt for OBL is concerned. But as for the rest, are the extremists prepared to see this as 'closure'? Will they now lay down their arms? It would be nice to think so, but we'll have to wait and see. In the end, what the West thinks isn't really the issue. Is it?

  • Comment number 35.

    sorry, but terrorism is not an 'enemy' to be 'fought'. it is a problem to be solved. the death of OBL means nothing, but it means everything. we can judge the operational impact now i.e minimal, but the propaganda effect will take time. it could be the end of AQ as a political force -- it could mean a vengeful and resurgent threat. too much is fluid at the moment to make any conclusion - and any attempt to do so is naive.

  • Comment number 36.

    Boom boom boom boom. Symbolically, a very good day.

    But, perhaps, in the bigger picture -- much ado about snuffing?

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Not even a swab for the database
    10 years looking for the geezer then they destroy all DNA evidence that they found him and popped his cap off like in the New Jack City gang warfare..

  • Comment number 40.

    chronophobe, (#36. At 00:52am 3rd May 2011)

    "... much ado about snuffing?"
    LOL! Good one!

  • Comment number 41.

    Jackturk, (#38. At 00:58am 3rd May 2011)

    "I look forward to the day that G W Bush, another of the world's terrorists, far worse than Bin-Laden, is brought to justice, along with Tony Blair his accomplice."
    You'll first need to convice the rest of the world they are.
    Good luck with that!

  • Comment number 42.

    #33 Chryses
    "..Possibly because he or she knows considerably more about the subject material than do you..."


    ..and there Ladies and Gentleman is the very reason why and how you can be manipulated and told whatever you need to be told. Because you do not have the mental faculty to question when something does not ring true.

    Stick you head back in the popcorn and keep switching the channels Bubba .. there is nothing for you to understand here .. you are free to do what you are allowed to.

  • Comment number 43.

    "Bin Laden could create terrible suffering and appalling disruption, but he could never actually have won. If World War II had gone a different way, Hitler or his henchmen could have ruled from Downing Street. There was never any danger of Bin Laden taking over the White House."


    Truth be told, there was little danger Hitler would take the White House, either. On the other hand, the world is better if you have friends and neighbors whose essential decency you can rely on.

  • Comment number 44.

    When GWB performed his Presidential hand over brief to BHO did he really tell him btw 911 was an inside job by the CIA and Mosad and Lockerbie was not initiated by Gadaffi either but was another CIA job performed for reasons of National Security, which you are sworn to secrecy, chum.

    p.s. re : evidence to support this
    people in the know get snuffed out just like the internet links that keep getting posted

  • Comment number 45.

    41. At 01:10am 3rd May 2011, Chryses

    "I look forward to the day that G W Bush, another of the world's terrorists, far worse than Bin-Laden, is brought to justice, along with Tony Blair his accomplice."
    You'll first need to convice the rest of the world they are.
    Good luck with that!

    Wrong! Those who would administer justice 'American style' are already convinced.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    It was a good day for Bush and an even better one for President Obama; a job well done IMO. I'm a little critical about shooting Osama in the left eye though. I would have preferred a more bipartisan approach and had him shot between the eyes instead, leaving politics out of it.

  • Comment number 48.

    Jackturk, (#45. At 01:29am 3rd May 2011)

    ”I look forward to the day ...
    ‘You'll first need to convice the rest of the world they are ...
    ...Wrong! Those who would administer justice 'American style' are already convinced.”

    A non sequitur. Amusing, but none the less, a non sequitur.

  • Comment number 49.

    I don't see what all the noise is about. From what I saw of the coverage (across several channels) was a small group in front of the white house singing a few patriotic songs in memorial, soon over run by a bunch of bored and roudy teenagers, many looking to young to even remember 9/11 or even know who OBL is, just wanting to let out some steam and be on national television. It's amazing how they came out of the woodwork. It's not like that area of DC (actually any part of DC) is 15-25 year old hang out on a Sunday night. clown town Carney tweeted and the teenies came running for a photo op.
    As for NYC, that was largely a very somber gathering, a memorial. I saw very few people "dancing around and singing". Even if they were, so what. NYC has the right to commemorate the death of OBL any way they choose. They bear the brunt of dead fireman and policeman, and many still sick and dying from the after affect.
    Most of the rest of the country bought a few rounds, hugged a neighbor, sighed a big sigh of relief, and poked a wry smile of out of their mouth, then went back to business.
    You Brits on this board tell us Americans endlessly how we should run our economy, our politics, our health care, our welfare, our military...now you're gonna tell us how we should feel? Do I even need to go into how disgusting, selfish, and ignorant that is?

  • Comment number 50.

    This site practices censorship, not moderation.

  • Comment number 51.

    TheCynicalSasquatch, (#42. At 01:11am 3rd May 2011)

    "... there Ladies and Gentleman is the very reason why and how you can be manipulated and told whatever you need to be told. Because you do not have the mental faculty to question when something does not ring true.
    Stick you head back in the popcorn and keep switching the channels Bubba .. there is nothing for you to understand here .. you are free to do what you are allowed to"


    OMG! It has been a long, long time since I have experienced such scintillating prose! I am so stunned by the compelling nature of your post that I cannot tell if it was
    a. the power of your subtle arguments: "you do not have the mental faculty to question," and "keep switching the channels Bubba"
    or
    b. the vast, overwhelming quantity of evidence you offer: " "


    ... that gave me the greater chuckle!

  • Comment number 52.

    It Was A Good Day
    ------------------------
    Just waking up in the morning gotta thank God
    I don't know but today seems kinda odd
    No barking from the dog, no smog
    And momma cooked a breakfast with no hog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWfbGGZE07M

  • Comment number 53.

    Little Johnny Wonder aka Little John, (#44. At 01:28am 3rd May 2011)

    "When GWB performed his Presidential hand over brief to BHO did he really tell him btw 911 was an inside job by the CIA and Mosad and Lockerbie was not initiated by Gadaffi either but was another CIA job performed for reasons of National Security, which you are sworn to secrecy, chum ..."

    Is this yet another empty claim, or will you provide evidence this time? (as if! LOL!)

  • Comment number 54.

    A good day for America?, Maybe not.

    As to large numbers of Americans, much less all Americans, celebrating in the streets I would like to suggest that the UK/EU posters consider the following statistics.

    Population of the UK 62,008,048 size 243,610KM
    Population of the US 300,000,000 size 9,826,675 KM

    Now what proportion of the UK population consists of Yobs, lager louts, “footie” hooligans and beery students? Apply this percentage to the US population and you will better appreciate that what you see on your TV is no more a good representation of our entire population than they are of yours.

    Last night in Boston there were demonstrations on and near some of our many campuses and one smallish one on Boston Common. Today there were no signs of public exuberance on the common, in the streets, on the subway or at work. I am sure Bin Laden deserves what he got, but mindful of possible negative consequences. I won't celebrate, but certainly won't mourn.

    I don’t pretend that all Americans feel or act the same way, nor should you, any more than you would expect all parts of the UK or EU to react alike.

    What shocks me is the hostility, ahistoricity and exaggeration on the “Bin Laden’s Death” string. This criticism is aimed at both sides of the Atlantic. It seems that Churchill was right about the US and UK being two countries divided by a common language, and he might have mention divided by a common history and culture.

    It appears that, unfortunately, the commonality is diminishing.
    Americans do not view things the same way as UK/EU folks do, and telling the other side that they are wrong or barbarians or oversophisticated makes the dissonance worse. We should be going for mutual understanding if not agreement.

    Have you seen the devastation of the tornado season, do you remember the Katrina devastation, and do you know what we endure in the winter months from New England to the Rocky Mountains? Do you really expect that given our climate and our history we could think or react exactly like you? No doubt we are therefore harsher and harder, and apt to take a less sophisticated tack [from your POV]. Instead of berating us for it, be thankful that we have been there to help you since 1918.

    The US is very much a double edged sword, use with caution.

  • Comment number 55.

    Great, thank you Navy Seals, now lets continue down the list, and get the rest of all that may follow in this Islamic Facists footsteps. Smoke them all. It may not be over but play it thru to the end, and watch carefully those that claim to be friends.

  • Comment number 56.

    Today seemed a good day to check back in.

    It's fascinating that on a day when most Americans are talking quietly and resolutely about the days events, such as this in my hometown Starbucks this morning:

    'Got the b . . stard?'
    'Yep'
    'Good'
    'Yep'

    The posters here seem to be trying to say that because the whole country is not in the streets chanting 'USA USA USA' that there isn't a general feeling of a job well done and glee that, as much as anything, a very nasty piece of work has been taken out. Whilst hiding behind a girl.

    This is the tortological equivalent of arguing that because the entire UK didn't rush into the streets to have street parties or buy 'Princess Katherine' dolls or other such junk made in China, that folks didn't enjoy the wedding on Friday. Don't know they did, don't know they didn't. Don't care much other than to observe that Willy is looking a bit chubby and has big teeth.

    I can say that I haven't heard a single person criticize the President (even Limbore had kind words), the actions, the policy or the result.

    This doesn't mean the end of crazies trying to bomb folks, and it doesn;t mean the end of the Taliban or Al Qaeda, that was never about one man. But it does mean that the coward who sent others to die and then hid in a McMansion for a few years sleeps with the fishes tonight. And for that we can say:

    God Bless America!

    Night Y'all!

    Satisfied Sam

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Interestedforeigner-

    A good day in the U.S.; an interesting and historic day in Canada.

    Stephen Harper has his majority. Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party is going to be the Opposition Party for the first time in the NDP history.

    I am really surprised at the vote in Ontario, and in particular, Toronto. The Province of the Liberals swinging to the Tories?! This will also be an interesting Parliament without the Bloc; although the face of the NDP will have to change with so many of the Quebec ridings sending a NDP MP to Ottawa.

    I am still trying to imagine the potential changes that may come to light in Canada with Harper as head of a majority government. Maybe the next time I visit Canada I won't recognize the place once so familiar to me.

    Best wishes. Bon chance.

  • Comment number 61.

    Why is nobody concerned about the legality of the murder of bin Laden? Even if he had been proved to have instigated 9/11, which he hasn't, that doesn't justify shooting him down in cold blood - after first murdering his wife who he was using as a shield. The US used to have the strongest regard for justice and the rule of law, now it acts just like another terrorist gangster. Killing bin Laden is not justice, it is revenge, and may yet be shown to be misplaced revenge. But then, that is why we have courts. It is very hard to believe that, underneath Obama's endless empty rhetoric, there is the slightest vestige of legal training.

  • Comment number 62.

    61. At 04:53am 3rd May 2011, TominExeter wrote nonsense

    Why don't you try serving a summons or arrest warrant on an armed and dangerous man of the type that would hold his wife in front of him as a shield while trying to gun down the law enforcement officers? Or have you forgotten that this coldblooded reptile ordered planes full of civilians crashed into buildings with thousands of other civilians inside, and probably had a hand in the bombing of the London underground. Try it out on Zarihiri, oh brave and less than sensible one!

  • Comment number 63.

    Closure.... what a silly word. You never close the dead. And certainly not by killing someone else. I, as an American, am shocked by the celebrations. No love lost for OBL, but we cannot forget that OBL was a symptom of foreign policy gone awry. He recruited among the power hungr and the disenfranchised.

    Furthermore, what is this whooping up of 9.11 as some "unique event". It was only unique insofar as we have never been slapped quite that hard on our own territory. How about the hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocents WE caused elseqwhere, like tLatin America? How about the millions of deaths our free market system IS causing around the planet? Are they not as worthy?

    Finally, something that most journalists and pundits will not mention: OBL won his battle against the USA and the western world. 9/11 was above all a political move, but our entire sopciety did not notice it and because we have a dictatorship of mass opinion, no one dares say it. I don't, not as a freelance journalist, because I could lose work, so here it is: we have surrendered many of our basic rights like habeas corpus, we let the last president run roughshod over the constitution and set up a propaganda machine the likes of which I have seldom seen. We have gone to war with two countries, in one case illegally, which destroyed our economy and our standing in the world. No one seems to realise that that is one of the main reasons why there have been few acts of terrorism since 9/11. We fell into a grand trap by reacting as we did, and that was perfectly predictable, but cool minds were ignored during the post 9-11 frenesy.

  • Comment number 64.

    The timing of all this seems to foreshadow some kind of deal to be made with the Taliban in the future for Afganistan. To defeat the Taliban they will have to bring them into the political process and let that process and the people of Afganistan decide who they want in power. To do that they have to allow Mohammed Omar to severe ties with Bin Laden (and Al Qaeda) which he cant do unless Bin Laden is dead. Osama was worth to the US alive while they are in the Middle East that is until they needed him dead for another reason......

  • Comment number 65.

    @Mr LOL

    Collateral Damage (Part 2): The Subprime Crisis and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001
    http://www.israelshamir.net/Contributors/Collateral_Damage_Part_II_26122008.pdf

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    "There were conflicting reports about the compound's distance from the academy, with Pakistan's military saying they are as much as 4km (2.4 miles) apart." (BBC)




    False. The well fortified bin Laden's hideout has been located exactly 1 kilometer from PMA.


    Although I can understand perfectly well while Pakistani military would like to distance itself from it as much as posssible. :-)


    You can see the compound well on the most recent sat photo in Google Earth.

    [It's been marked with "B"]

  • Comment number 69.

    The death of Bin Laden does so much more for America then simply healing wounds. The location of his death is of more relavence then the death itself. Sounds like a certain country has some serious explaining to do........... Knowing that US and UK money is pretty much funding the ISI to train these guys to kill our men/women.....

    Could someone for the love of God explain to me how WE THE PEOPLE allow our elected officals to use our money to kill our brothers and sisters. We all see it, we all know it......Yet we all turn a blind eye to it.......

    Someday we will all realize we are the same race.......The human race........Hope its not to late when that day comes.

  • Comment number 70.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 71.

    The world is now expecting Al Qaeda to retaliate and kill Americans and Brits and we should all apparently be scared, well no actually because this is nothing new Al Qaeda always wanted to kill Americans and Brits whether Bin Laden was alive or not they were already trying their hardest to do so at every given opportunity nothing has changed from this perspective, they hate us and we hate them right back. The Bible emminates from the middle east and states quite clearly that if you live by the sword you will die by the sword, he is dead he is no more and the burial at sea was superb I mean when they were videoing and broadcasting the beheading of their poor prisoners did they show anything in the way of christianity to these poor individuals or for thier bodies afterwards in the way that the USA showed respect to his body by complying with muslim burial rules... NO THEY DID NOT, because they are medieval anamilistic in their brainwashed fundimental world. thye hate us for no decent reason and yet we hate them because they hate us for no known reason.

  • Comment number 72.

    MisterFubar, you seem to have lost yourself in your empathy for for the world's downtrodden & barbaric peoples. Do you suggest we mourn OBL? Are you so unfeeling that you would disparage your fellow countrymen for being outwardly pleased that OBL is dead? Frankly, I was shocked at all the disparaging comments on the BBC blog. It's obvious that you blame the nation's policies for the rise of OBL, but that's irrelevant to how people reacted to his death.

    The fact that you would trivialize 9/11 & preach about America's influence in Latin America in the same paragraph is highly suspect to me. You might as well say we deserved to have OBL & his thugs kill us & our allies around the world. Do you not realize how insulting & divisive you are being when you write that? I think the answer is yes given that you are afraid you'll loose your position as a free-lance journalist.

    Furthermore, habeas corpus has not been suspended; your accusation is a complete fabrication of the truth. But we all know what you're really getting at don't we; you're actually upset over the holding of combatants at the Guantanamo Bay prison. As for the propaganda machine, are you by chance referring to Fox News? I imagine you are because it is a favorite talking point of the liberal fringe.

    And finally, we get to the weirdest part of your post: "We have gone to war with two countries, in one case illegally, which destroyed our economy and our standing in the world. No one seems to realise that that is one of the main reasons why there have been few acts of terrorism since 9/11." The first sentence I completely disagree with, but I get it; you're an internationalist pacifist, & a socialist. The last bit I just don't get; do you really think that America hasn't been successfully attacked because the economy & our standing in the world is bad? No, the real story is that our efforts to prevent terrorist attacks in America have largely been successful due to the policies of our government, the help from our allies, the ignorance of our enemies, & a bit of luck.

    So MisterFubar, think better of your fellow countrymen in the future & empathize with them as well. Until next time, "Soignez vous-autres!" -BeL

  • Comment number 73.

    56 @Sam Tyler wrote:

    "the entire UK didn't rush into the streets to have street parties or buy 'Princess Katherine' dolls or other such junk made in China, that folks didn't enjoy the wedding on Friday. Don't know they did, don't know they didn't. Don't care much other than to observe that Willy is looking a bit chubby and has big teeth."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Can't help throwing one back in a redneck kinda way. Y'all talk quiet in the USA?
    We all know that here y'all really let it go,'specially when screaming in excitment at our royals. Your 'gals go crazy over Wills great smile. America..chubby? say no more.LOL.

    As for all that junk from China..its from where you are owned.

    God bless America: remember to count them all.

    Night Yaawn.

    Satisfaction returned.

  • Comment number 74.


    In the context of BHO having claimed (allegedly jocularly) that Donald Trump would turn the White House into a casiono:



    "The arrogance of wealth saw Bin Laden make the government of Kazakhstan a multi-million dollar offer to buy his own tactical nuclear weapon." (BBC)

  • Comment number 75.

    Alice from Wonderland.


    If not sure how to call those who did Osama in read this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_SEALs

  • Comment number 76.

    An act of vengeance won't bring closure. Not to people who still mourn someone they knew and loved. Not to those who think America's world-view is wrong, or against the will of god. Not to those who serve in the armed forces and are in Afghanistan or to their friends who worry about them.

    It WILL send a message to those who pervert the teachings of the Holy Qu'ran, and of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)... a message that is possibily couched in the only terms such misguided and evil folks understand. The message that their brand of intolerance and hatred will not be tolerated, that it will be dealt with just as one might shoot a rabid dog.

    Nowt about 'justice' though.... not that they understand the concept anyway.

  • Comment number 77.

    I wonder if by the tone & drift of each poster,over time gives an incite to that persons
    disposition, sunny or other wise.There does seem to be a lot of grumpy folk out there.

  • Comment number 78.

    Interestedforeigner.are you out there some place, if so knock three times.

    With the Canadian election all over bar the shouting.
    Has this been a good day for Canada ?..

  • Comment number 79.

    'A good day for America'
    ================
    Surely Shirley Jones this title is out of date by one day by now and this thread has already reached its shelf life by now and is getting boring. There must be something else to talk about. Life goes on and on and on and on you know.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's that word again: Justice. No, OBL was not 'brought to justice', unfortunately. He was politically assassinated. The justice part has now been passed on to a higher (or lower?) authority.
    The trouble with political assassination is that it can cut both ways. If it is right for us, extremists on the other side will gain much more support in arguing that it is right for them. We - in the democratic world - are better than this. Capture and trial would have been hard and costly - but so was Nuremburg, and that was surely the right thing to do.

  • Comment number 82.



    It looks like it's a good day not only in America:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13259492

  • Comment number 83.

    Why is it when a british poster here with reasonable observations on the discussed subject,is viewed as not worthy of an opinion on US matters.

    for instance: 54@ JMM It appears that, unfortunately, the commonality is diminishing.
    Americans do not view things the same way as UK/EU folks do, and telling the other side that they are wrong or barbarians or oversophisticated makes the dissonance worse. OR

    Have you seen the devastation of the tornado season, do you remember the Katrina devastation, and do you know what we endure in the winter months from New England to the Rocky Mountains? Do you really expect that given our climate and our history we could think or react exactly like you? AND..

    This hackned line regularily pushed in our faces:
    Instead of berating us for it, be thankful that we have been there to help you since 1918.

    If you are referring to ww2 (again) you did not help us. We won our own battle,you came later and helped Europe together with us.

  • Comment number 84.

    ukwales, (#78. At 10:10am 3rd May 2011)

    ”Interestedforeigner.are you out there some place, if so knock three times.

    With the Canadian election all over bar the shouting.
    Has this been a good day for Canada ?..

    I suspect that Interestedforeigner is unsatisfied with the results.

  • Comment number 85.

    I find it morally offensive and mortifyingly embarrasing that there is a presupposition that we humans are a sophisticated species when I have read what has unfolded and the entirely predictable and depressing reaction of the populace to it.

    Look at all you ants running up and down in long lines following each other or maybe hamsters running on wheels is more apt.

    We have been warned by much greater minds in the past than the current pitiful, inept figureheads spouting their emotive verbiage. How easy it is to manipulate the masses who worship at the altar of the almighty TV set and cannot fathom that maybe ..just maybe all is not as it seems.

    For those minions who bleat like sheep when their herder tells them how it is and expects them without question to bend over and receive thy supplements .. you deserve your crumbling administration, you deserve your imploding currency, you deserve the rotten government that kowtows to Wall Street. You poor insignificant worms, for that is what you are in the eyes of those who know what's good for them .. at the expense of truth, justice ...and you.

    Copy and paste this.. the clock is ticking. The war on terror is going to plan .. for the US administration that is. There is no end in sight, it was never planned that way. Most of you simpletons really do have no idea what is coming.

  • Comment number 86.

    "Zawahiri is still out there" -someone points out.

    By no means only Zawahiri:


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11489337

  • Comment number 87.

    Chryses .. of judgement? ..direction? ..conscience? Pah! ..nothing so allegorical... just a one eyebrow'd puck-eared hick Tucker Carlson clone with a bow tie that does not spin...much like its tired rhetoric.

  • Comment number 88.

    I remember watching people dancing in the streets after the terrible events of 9/11. I was disgusted.
    Now I see people dancing in the streets in the USA. I feel similar disgust.
    I wonder what the world has come to when anybody celebrates the death of another human, however wrong their actions have been. When our own leaders, who eschew the death penalty in our own laws, fail to acknowledge this, and join enthusiastically in the 'good news' narrative, unfettered by any caveats at all, they lose all moral authority in my opinion.
    I feel deeply for those who have lost sons, daughters, wives, husbands and dear ones to terrorist atrocities. But we do them no honour by stooping to the same level. Bin Laden did terrible things and has paid with his own life - that is not justice as I know it, it is and eye for an eye.

  • Comment number 89.

    Re #84 Chryses



    O.K. Perhaps not a good day for some Canadians, such as our Interested Foreigner.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13259484

  • Comment number 90.

    ref #61
    TominExeter wrote:
    Why is nobody concerned about the legality of the murder of bin Laden? Even if he had been proved to have instigated 9/11, which he hasn't, that doesn't justify shooting him down in cold blood - after first murdering his wife who he was using as a shield. The US used to have the strongest regard for justice and the rule of law, now it acts just like another terrorist gangster. Killing bin Laden is not justice, it is revenge, and may yet be shown to be misplaced revenge. But then, that is why we have courts. It is very hard to believe that, underneath Obama's endless empty rhetoric, there is the slightest vestige of legal training.

    ___________

    This was justice and it should give a blue print, other Al quada leader should be targeted including the american traitor in Yemen, the heads of Hamas, Hebollah and the Iranian mullahs

  • Comment number 91.

  • Comment number 92.

    True that Bin Laden was more a symbol than an active menace. He was a myth, a legend, thus a source of inspiration for young radical imbeciles, even though in reality he was probably relatively ignorant, may never have done a day's work in his life, and died by all accounts, a coward.
    However, the wake he produced and is still producing, shouldn't be underestimated. What is taking place in Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent in Pakistan, is still the nucleus of an international jihad. Given the means, they could easily become a major world threat.

    One also doubts that the French hostages still held in the Sahara since they were kidnapped in Niger last September will benefit from the death of al-Qaida's leader.

    The other leaders should now be routed out mercilessly, and if it also turns out that they are as minable as Bin Laden seems to have been, this should also be made known. No one, no matter how obsessed, would be that lacking in grey matter to be willing to sacrifice him or herself for unworthy cowards with unworthy causes.

    Hamas has also made its position clear, had there ever been any doubts about this.
    Nasrallah, for the moment has been silent, as has the Iranian regime. The Palestinians in Lebanon are hardly likely to wave American flags and dance for joy in any case. But all this makes things clearer, following the increasing clarity created by the North African and Middle Eastern uprisings, because everything is connected.

    Pakistan announces that they will start 'investigations'.. This most likely means that they will make sure that there's no accessible evidence and information that will prove that either the Pakistani government, or the ISI knew exactly where Osama bin Laden has been hiding. Whatever coverup they come up with, won't change the facts of history, much of which was already revealed in Bernard-Henry Lévy's book (Qui a tué Daniel Pearl').

  • Comment number 93.

    Thank you, powermeer, for the Navy seals explanation.

    As a return courtesy, if you are not sure where is what, look here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/5124506190/in/set-72157622413981190/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/5045592095/in/set-72157622413981190/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/5049109893/in/set-72157622413981190/

    As is noted there SENSE OF HUMOUR VERY MUCH APPREACIATED. See enlarged version for more painful details."

    :o))))))))))

  • Comment number 94.

    85. At 10:45am 3rd May 2011, TheCynicalSasquatch wrote:
    The war on terror is going to plan .. for the US administration that is. There is no end in sight, it was never planned that way. Most of you simpletons really do have no idea what is coming.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am sure it all fits in with this:
    http://www.recombinantrecords.net/docs/2009-05-Amusing-Ourselves-to-Death.html

  • Comment number 95.

    re: the (tacky) celebrations
    =================
    Its called a Gun Salute and people set off fireworks too when the bad guys get got.
    east libyans, sri lankans, americans, gang bangers, etc all do it

    except for
    the stiff upper lipped brits of course
    (maybe quakers don't at a wild guess)

    jamaican dancehall fans do it when they like a song selection without any objection.

  • Comment number 96.

    TheCynicalSasquatch, (#87. At 10:58am 3rd May 2011)

    ”Chryses .. of judgement? ..direction? ..conscience? Pah! ..nothing so allegorical... just a one eyebrow'd puck-eared hick Tucker Carlson clone with a bow tie that does not spin...much like its tired rhetoric.”

    Your punctuation seems to be improving, if the semantics still leaves something to be desired.
    Still, good effort.

  • Comment number 97.

    If one cannot celebrate victory over tyranny, without someone coming up with a bigoted view that it's incorrect, maybe everyone should have stayed at home on V-E Day.
    One can't refer to the elimination of this individual as the death of a human being. Any one that incites the acts of terrorism that he incited had to be totally lacking in humanity. He was a monster and a coward, and he was fortunate not to have suffered as much as so many of his innocent victims had suffered before they died. Those who feel that his death should be respected rather than be celebrated, are either out of touch, or on the wrong side.

  • Comment number 98.

    DID PAKISTAN KNOW?

    Latest news (BBC World Service) is that no women were killed in the raid. A Yemeni wife of Bin Laden's was wounded. There were nearly 20 people in the compound but none of several children was harmed.

    It was a remarkable operation and clearly needed months of observation and preparation. I can hardly believe that Pakistani intelligence was not involved, yet today they have admitted that they are highly embarrassed over not knowing that the compound was Bin Laden's.

    I suspect that the Pakistani authorities are feigning ignorance so as to avoid civil unrest from Al-Queda and other extremist supporters in Pakistan (NB there are believed to be up to 20 or so extremist groupings in Pakistan, of which A-Q is but one).

  • Comment number 99.

    #96 Chryses ... yawn

  • Comment number 100.

    62. At 05:20am 3rd May 2011, JMM wrote:
    "Why don't you try serving a summons or arrest warrant on ... this coldblooded reptile ordered planes full of civilians crashed into buildings with thousands of other civilians inside".

    Hey - that was uncalled for!

    Reptiles don't go around murduring thousands of their own kind for religious/political reasons.

 

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