That’s how former President George W. Bush describes the killing of America’s public enemy number one, Osama bin Laden, by Navy Seals in an assault on a compound not far from Islamabad, Pakistan, Reuters is reporting.
The killing, while celebrated by Bush and his successor and many in the United States and elsewhere raises other questions.
What will happen to the leadership of al Qaeda? How will this affect other terrorist organizations? Will they feel vulnerable? Or will this spur them to conduct retaliatory strikes?
It also raises questions about the duplicitous nature of the Pakistan government, officially a partner in the war on terrorism, but all-too-often playing both sides of the street. The fact that bin Laden was so close to that nation’s capital, in a compound, and not in a cave along the Af-Pak border, is an indication that, in all likelihood, there were those in the government there who were aware of his location. And probably for a long time.
President Obama took care to say that, after the successful killing of bin Laden, he called Pakistan’s president and the two agreed that this was a good thing for both nations. But there is growing resentment in Pakistan over U.S. incursions there. Especially when drone attacks kill, not just terrorist targets, but civilians as well.
Clearly bin Laden was the public face of the evil that terrorism represents. But he was the face, not the body. Cutting off the head of terrorism does not kill this snake.
This doesn’t diminish the threat of terrorism. The world must remain vigilant. Probably for a long time to come.