On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Osama bin Laden dead; U.S. not at war with Islam, declares President Obama

Sunday night, President Obama made a special statement from the White House:

Osama bin Laden

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaida, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.


It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.

To watch the video of the President’s statement, CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE to watch the reaction of New Yorkers to the news
To read the reaction of the mom of the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq CLICK HERE


The September 11 attacks

The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory – hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.


And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

NYC firefighters in the Twin Towers wreckage


On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbours a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood.

We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaida – an organisation headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe.


And so we went to war against al Qaida to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counter-terrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort.

Bin Laden on the run

We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defence. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaida safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaida terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.


Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaida continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

An informal memorial shortly after the attacks

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaida, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.


Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.

It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan.

And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorised an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

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.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaida’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaida.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must – and we will – remain vigilant at home and abroad.

The Ground Zero cross


As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.

Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaida has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done.

But it’s important to note that our counter-terrorism co-operation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.


Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.

U.S. Navy seals in Afghanistan

They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaida and its affiliates.


The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.

A family mourns the death of a loved one killed in the September 11 attacks

These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.


So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed.

We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.

And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaida’s terror: Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counter-terrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.

The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.


We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

A New York City officer at a September 11 memorial


The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.

That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

  • To read about the death of a Christian Pakistani in retaliation CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to read how Christians in Nigeria and Pakistan are worried
  • How should Christians react to bin Laden’s death? CLICK HERE to read several thoughts
  • To watch the video of the President’s statement, CLICK HERE
  • READ HERE as Beliefnet’s Jim Fletcher asks if all Muslims are evil
  • To consider the heart-felt thoughts of Debbie Lee, mom of the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq, CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to read bestselling author Linda Howard’s reaction
  • To consider the thoughts of Beliefnet’s Kirsten Jackson, CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to watch the reaction of New Yorkers at Ground Zero
  • CLICK HERE for photos and the text of the President’s statement
  • To read the reaction of Beliefnet’s Ryan Gaffney CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to read Beliefnet writer Donna Calvin’s reaction
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    • http://AddaURLtothiscomment JeffersonS.Joe

      I remember when Mr. Obama first took office as our President, and many people did not believe in him. For example, the FAR right-wing radio talk show hosts like limbum and breck, where one stated, “I have but four words for this president,’I hope he fails!'” Anybody out there remember this?
      Well mr right-winger(s), this President DID NOT FAIL!!! It just goes to show you that when people stand behind/beside their leader, they are a power of ONE!. United We Stand in 2012!!

    • http://Ontime Zaiah Martinez

      It’s about time Osama bin laden got what he deserves. My only question is why did it take so long?

    • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Linda Sundermeyer

      Thank God and President Obama for finally ridding our country and all the other countries who have suffered from this evil man. Maybe now the United States can get back to taking care of their people who need help (the homeless and the seniors on Social Security) So many of our people can not survive in this recession. We need the government to take a better look at us here at home. Thankyou for all you’ve done, and I know the future will be brighter now.

    • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Michael Auston

      It is good that the country did not give up on Bin Laden. Its kind of strange the other President was more cocern with Sadaam than he was about the man that killed over 3000 people. His death won’t bring back those live that was taken away, but hopfully it will bring pease to those families that lost there love ones.God bless our new President. Thank You

    • http://CongradulationsObama Dr. Benjamin Hamilton

      YES WE CAN !!!!! No more Osama Bin Ladin

    • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Ricardo Paz Soldan

      It is not an issue if it was under Obama or Bush Leadership, it is not an issue how long it took. The announcement of OSAMA BIN LADEN’s death is a great victory for the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA against terrorism and the whole free world will celebrate this victory. There are many more battles that will be fought and AMERICA will be victorious.

    • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Polemo Crates PhD

      Don’t believe everything you hear…It was not Obama that did this or Bush…it was a military operation…Burial at sea is counter intelligence to the history of Bin Laden…doubtful it has happened. Essentially, Laden was an american citizen. How are american citizens treated in contrast to muslim terrorist on muslim ground. ?? You can certainly understand how the “I” factor has become for Obama..typical of his background. He has not been a leader of this country, just another consumer of the goods and perks. There is only arrogant man running this country into the ground. No hope for the christian or moral sec that has keep vigil of this country from inception. You are very wrong in applauding the Obama clan.

    • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Susan

      We did get rid of Osama Bin Laden. I believe he will have to answer to a greater power for his actions. My concern is for the hatred his believers still have and their capabilities of acting upon their hatred.

      For the first time in my life I saw a friend become a US citizen 2 weeks ago. 35 people became US citizens from 14 countries in Fayetteville, AR. We take so much for granted, our freedom, our rights.

      God bless America!

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