May 2, 2011
“For over two decades bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies,” the President explained in a speech to the nation. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.”
Right he is. Bin Laden’s death sends a clear message to the world that America remains committed to hunting down its enemies for as long it takes. But it also underscores the importance of our counterterrorism efforts both at home and abroad.
Take the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Highly unpopular on the Left, the camp in Guantanamo and the interrogations of terror suspects that took place there yielded information that ultimately led intelligence officers to bin Laden.
Heritage legal fellow Cully Stimson, who oversaw detainee affairs under President Bush, explains why this is significant:
Even at this early point in the news cycle, it is reasonably clear that detainees at Guantanamo (and perhaps elsewhere, such as those formerly in CIA custody and now at Guantanamo) who agreed to long-term lawful strategic interrogation gave the critical nuggets of information that put in motion a series of events that led to bin Laden’s death.
Stimson directs an important question to critics of the United States’ enemy combatant detainment and interrogation policies: “Could there be any clearer proof that those critics are just plain wrong?”
The Heritage Foundation commends the current and past administrations for this historic victory. But the truth is that terrorism remains a global force to be reckoned with.
As President Obama said last night, bin Laden’s “death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
And here at The Heritage Foundation, we will do our part to ensure America remains vigilant and ready to defend herself.