So, he was lounging about not in a cave but in “a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy.” Intelligence forces had been spooring after bin Laden for a decade. An important clue came last August, from a trusted but so-far-unnamed courier for bin Laden who was traced to the compound: A large, nearly windowless residence in an affluent part of town, access to which was restricted. The walls were decorated with barbed-wire on top. No telephone or internet connection. Not your usual weekend getaway. The order to move came just a few days ago, on April 29. To adapt Charlotte Mulliner:
A brief suspense and then at last
The waiting’s o’er, the vigil past
A careful aim, a spurt of flame
It’s done, you’ve pulled the trigger
And one more git, not fair, not frail,
Has handed in his dinner pail.
A team of American commandos swept down in helicopters and overpowered the terrorists. Bin Laden and his bodyguards resisted: bin Laden himself and two others, including one of his many sons, were shot and killed. A woman who was used as a human shield by one of the terrorists was injured. I’m sure you’ll be reassured to know that bin Laden’s body was (as the White House put it) “handled in accordance with Islamic practice” and was swiftly buried at sea.
The bottom line? Former President George W. Bush summed it up nicely: “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.” Meanwhile, even Bush’s successor understood something important had happened. Barack Obama cut short his 66th Presidential round of golf to return to the White House and get news about the raid.