The morning after the big news dropped, the nation is still in awe of what's happening.
Osama bin Laden, the charismatic mastermind and founder of al-Qaida, a global terrorist network that radically reshaped American foreign policy and propelled the country into two bloody, long-term wars in Muslim countries, was killed Sunday in a firefight with U.S. troops in a compound outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
President Obama, in a rare televised address to the nation late Sunday, announced that a small team of U.S. troops had killed bin Laden and seized his body earlier in the day in a helicopter-borne commando operation.
Senior U.S. officials said no other countries were involved in the raid, raising the potential for diplomatic fallout once the initial celebration and congratulations are over.
The United States considers Pakistan a key ally in the war on terror, but the relationship between the two is a complicated and tenuous one at best.
According to President Obama, U.S. intelligence officials determined last August that bin Laden was likely hiding "within a compound deep inside Pakistan," Obama said during his address from the White House late Sunday.
And Nevadans are starting to react to what happened.
"Tonight, Americans join the world in marking the end of this symbol of hatred who died with the blood of thousands on his hands," Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley said in a statement Sunday night. "The U.S. pledged it would hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden for the crimes he committed and nearly a decade after the tragedy of September 11, justice has been served. This is a tremendous victory for America and a promise kept to the families of the 9-11 victims."
“As the face of global terrorism, bin Laden will forever be a reminder of how deeply we must cherish our freedom, and so it is fitting we come together as Nevadans and Americans to remember the victims of the 9-11 attacks,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “We are also grateful for the relentless courage and dedication of our Armed Forces who continue to keep us safe from harm.”
“This is the most significant victory in our fight against al-Qaida and terrorism, but that fight is not over," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement Sunday night. "As we remember those who were killed on that dark day in September and their families, we also reaffirm our resolve to defeat the terrorist forces that killed them and thousands of others across the globe. Because of courageous Americans in our military and intelligence community, their leader is now gone.”
This most certainly is a great development. It now looks like The Obama Administration will follow through on its plan to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden's death may force us to rethink our view on both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Oh, and did I mention it may be wise to rethink our presence in Afghanistan?
After all, hasn't the mission actually been accomplished? It supposedly was 8 years ago, after George Bush quickly lost interest in capturing bin Laden as invading Iraq suddenly became his cause du jour. There really wasn't any reason for invading Iraq, and now we're learning bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan... NOT Afghanistan. So what are our troops now doing in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Certainly, al Qaeda is still alive and efforts must still be made to thwart them and other terrorist groups. But at this point, do we still need to fight two wars that were sold on the premise of "taking out bin Laden"?