One of President Obama’s stated goals upon assuming office was to focus the U.S. military on destroying al Qaeda. In this, the only war we are waging for which he seems to have some enthusiasm about pursuing, the president appears to be succeeding.
Bin Laden is a trophy shared by Obama and George W. Bush. The seeds of the pursuit that led to al Qaeda mastermind were planted under Bush, and the prey was bagged by Obama.
But Bin Laden’s killing is emblematic of a larger victory for Obama in furthering Bush’s success at decimating al Qaeda and damaging – if not crippling – its ability to launch major operations against the United States and its allies.
The New York Times today reports that the U.S. fleet of drones, expanded by the Obama administration, has exacted a devastating toll on al Qaeda’s top brass.
The intense campaign of drone strikes and other covert operations in Pakistan — most dramatically the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — had left Al Qaeda paralyzed, with its leaders either dead or pinned down in the frontier area near Afghanistan. Of 30 prominent members of the terrorist organization in the region identified by intelligence agencies as targets, 20 have been killed in the last year and a half, they said, reducing the threat they pose.
With al Qaeda growing its presence in Yemen amid the instability there, Obama is increasing U.S. counter-terrorism operations in the country and even building a new air base in the area from which to launch drone attacks, according to the Associated Press.
Such activities amount to a sustained effort, a comforting sign that a decade after the World Trade Center attacks, the government continues to wage war directly against those who would destroy us.
The families of those killed on 9/11, the soldiers who have sacrificed selflessly in the battle to date, and the innocent civilians who could be in the crosshairs of future attacks deserve no less.