Weekly Columns

The Global War on Terror in a Post-Bin Laden World

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of May 16, 2011

May 16 2011

It was an exciting time in our nation’s capital and all across the world after hearing news that American forces found and killed Osama bin Laden.

For more than a decade bin Laden was on the FBI’s top ten most wanted list and since September 11, 2001, he was at the top of the list when he was killed. As the leader of al-Qaeda, he was the mastermind behind the 9-11 attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans. He also devised attacks against our men and women in uniform on the U.S.S. Cole and the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

While bin Laden eluded capture, the persistent determination of our military and intelligence community allows us to close this chapter of the Global War on Terror. While the death of Osama bin Laden is a great victory, it does not mean the end of al-Qaeda. There is still a lot to do to rid the world of terrorism, but this should send a clear message to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that the U.S. will not give up in pursuit of justice. This is a great achievement that we can all be proud of.

However, we must continue to remain vigilant. American forces found valuable intelligence information during the raid that killed bin Laden. Computers, computer drives, DVD’s, countless papers and other data were collected and are now being analyzed by our intelligence community. News reports indicate some of the early information shows al-Qaeda was planning to target U.S. trains on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attack as well as our water supply. This data will continue to help us fight terrorism in the future and prevent attacks against American citizens.

I was proud to join my Senate colleagues in approving a resolution congratulating “the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the United States intelligence community for the tremendous commitment, perseverance, professionalism and sacrifice they displayed in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.” This resolution, unanimously approved, reaffirms the Senate’s commitment to eliminating safe havens for terrorists.

The announcement of the death of bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, not far from the capital city of Islamabad does raise many questions. My colleagues and I will be looking for answers from both the administration and Pakistanis about these questions in the coming days.

Bin Laden met a fitting end. As Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate Floor “Those who remember the horror of 9/11 take a certain satisfaction knowing that the last thing Osama bin Laden saw in this world was the small team of Americans who shot him dead.” This is a great victory for the Global War on Terror. We will never forget the sacrifices of the men and women who served in pursuit of justice or the innocent victims killed by bin Laden’s senseless actions. We will continue our efforts to fight terrorism at home and abroad and protect the interests of our country. God Bless America.