Questions remain

Published 11:08 am Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daily Herald editorial

Reports that Osama bin Laden had been killed rightly brought sighs of relief, if not words of outright jubilation, to most Americans as the weekend came to a close. The arch-terrorist’s death, after years on the run from U.S. vengeance for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., left many questions to be answered.

One of those questions is whether leaders of Pakistan, the country where bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate, fortified compound, were a hindrance or a help in tracking down the terrorist. Far from hiding in a remote cavern in inaccessible mountains, the world’s most sought criminal was living in what is described as a relatively affluent town only a couple of hours from the nation’s capital.

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Americans might also rightly wonder what impact bin Laden’s elimination will have on terrorists’ future operations. Was bin Laden still Al-Qaida’s mastermind, or had he been marginalized during his years on the run?

Perhaps the biggest question of all is whether bin Laden’s death will in any way clear a path for the United States to quickly reduce its presence in Afghanistan, sparing the lives and health of the brave men and women who are serving there with the armed forces.

It is likely that no one, from the president on down, fully knows the answers to those questions. The answers may, however, shed some light on the murky fight against terrorism and Al-Qaida. For the moment, it’s enough to know that one of the darkest criminals in the history of the world is gone.