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May 2, 2011
We Did Not Fail
We did not waver, we did not tire, we did not falter...and we did not fail.
After nearly a decade of spent American blood, sweat and treasure in an arduous struggle against those who perpetrated the most brazen and dastardly attack on the American homeland in our nation's history, the United States military has struck its most significant blow. Osama bin Laden is dead.
Those simple words mean much.
They mean closure -- or as close to it as is possible -- for the families who suffered the death of loved ones in the fire and rubble of 9/11. Though the apprehension of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the central planner of the atrocities in Washington and New York, was heartening and comforting, bin Laden remained the missing piece of the puzzle for many.
They mean a sense of peace to those who have watched their sons and daughters volunteer to serve the great cause of freedom on distant and hostile shores.
They mean dread confirmation of the reality our enemies face that no matter how long it takes, the American military will get their man.
They mean justification to a former president who had vowed to his people that justice would be served.
They mean vindication to a current president whose commitment to the war against terror had been criticized and questioned.
And most importantly, they mean exactly what they say: that a murderous butcher who had masterminded countless plots to kill innocent people in pursuit of his unholy and mad designs no longer treads our sod, and has been dispatched to deal with an Authority far greater than any earthly judge.
To the heroic members of the U.S. Armed Forces that carried out this cunning and skilled attack - men and women who never cease to amaze or impress us with their loyalty and resolve - words do not express our pride in your professionalism and courage. As details emerge, we will learn and understand more about the mission, its risks and dangers. And the precision with which it has been carried out will become known throughout the world.
When it does, it will reaffirm to our citizens what we already know: that ours is the best trained, best equipped and most effective fighting force the world has ever known. The U.S. military, in cooperation with our superior intelligence agencies, are well worth our investments and our support.
It will also reaffirm what our enemies would be wise to learn: we may bicker and disagree vigorously amongst ourselves, but that should never be taken as a sign of weakness. Americans may be slow to anger, but that should never be taken as a sign of ambivalence. When it comes to the values that unite and inspire us, Americans of every generation including our own are strong, resolute and fiercely determined.
And finally, to our Commander-in-Chief, well done, sir. You have defied the left-wing of your base by continuing the vast majority of the anti-terrorism strategies left in place by President Bush because you knew they would make us safer. You have ramped up predator drone attacks on terror camps and made the killing or capture of Osama bin Laden a top priority. It paid off.
There are a great many issues upon which I disagree vehemently with you, Mr. President. And undoubtedly, I will continue to express those frustrations and concerns. But your devotion and commitment to this end is one that demands and receives my utmost respect.
Security officials are already revealing the intensity with which you have pursued the intelligence tip on bin Laden's whereabouts that your office received months ago. No one of any political persuasion can question your dedication to fulfilling the "dead or alive" demand made by your predecessor.
No matter how symbolic some will attempt to say this action was, Mr. President, you made our country safer by your decisiveness. For that, every American -- including this one -- owes you a debt of gratitude.