Since the fateful news that came Sunday night, May 1, of Osama bin Laden’s death, much of the world is still reeling.
President Obama paid his respects to victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York City on Thursday, taking lunch with firefighters who had responded to the collapse of the Twin Towers and speaking with families who had lost loved ones.
No speeches were made – the administration wanted to make clear that the visit wasn’t a politicized one – though the press heavily covered it.
Pakistan has been humiliated by the raid on bin Laden’s compound, which lay in a Pakistani military town.
Doubts about the Pakistani government’s handling of al Qaeda (were they aware of bin Laden’s compound, or were they just that incompetent not to notice it?) are the questions that Washington is pressing to Islamabad.
To any who have paid attention to Pakistan’s place in the war – their weak government and the questionable activities of the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, the fact that that agency has been known to tip off Taliban insurgents about United States military efforts in the past – it seems doubtful that the Pakistani government was ignorant of bin Laden’s presence.
We don’t know yet what Osama bin Laden’s death will mean for the world – was his death a tactical victory more than a symbolic one? It can’t be said.
The documents and communiqués recovered from the compound are being poured over by every U.S. intelligence agency – documents that could reveal an unprecedented inside look into the structure of al Qaeda.
These documents may confirm bin Laden’s true importance to al Qaeda, and whether he played a more central role than the decentralized model for al Qaeda the U.S. has followed in the past would suggest.
Al Qaeda’s response to the death of bin Laden came in the form of an 11-paragraph statement from “the general leadership” of al Qaeda. The rambling statement promised retribution for Americans, some of whom celebrated publicly at news of bin Laden’s death.
As al Qaeda and its allies move to solidify a perception of martyrdom to bin Laden’s death, members of the intelligence community await with baited breath for more insights into the terror leader and his following