Osama Bin Laden is dead. For that, Americans have reason to thank the members of the Armed Forces and the U.S. Navy SEAL team who--at great risk to themselves--eliminated the world's most-wanted terrorist during a daring nighttime raid. Also earning credit for his demise are the intelligence professionals whose tireless pursuit of leads, and careful analysis of the facts, built the case that enabled this operation to proceed. Without question, the world is a better place now that this mass-murderer can no longer export his hatred and intolerance. While Osama bin Laden's death is a welcome development in the Global War on Terrorism, the Al Qaeda network of terrorist cells will continue its efforts to plot attacks against the United States and our freedom-loving allies. For this reason we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of Bin Laden's sympathizers and supporters.
The Bush Administration's relentless pursuit of Bin Laden forced him into a life of evasion and isolation. President Obama deserves our gratitude for continuing the Bush Administration's policies that enabled and eventually led to Bin Laden's death. His death dealt an enormous psychological blow to radical Islamists around the globe; however, in an effort to lessen the impact, Bin Laden's sympathizers will seek to cast doubt on the reports of his death. I call on President Obama to immediately release the photographic evidence proving the death of Osama Bin Laden. The release of these photos will put to rest the conspiracy theories and claims that his death was a fabrication. Furthermore, the release of these photos will serve to remind our enemies that the United States will relentlessly pursue them until justice has been met. Images of the Al Qaeda leader in a decidedly mortal condition will demoralize his followers, and discourage potential recruits from following in his footsteps. The longer the Obama Administration waits to release these photos, the less effective they will be.
I also caution the Obama Administration against making hasty decisions regarding our mission in Afghanistan. Commentary has begun to swirl suggesting that Osama Bin Laden's death marks the accomplishment of our mission in Afghanistan. This is a dangerous correlation to draw. Al Qaeda continues to plot against us, just as they did before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Despite the claims to the contrary, we did not enter Afghanistan to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. We entered Afghanistan to eliminate the Taliban regime that provided sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden and enabled him to plot the heinous attacks on our homeland. That Taliban regime, while no longer in power, still exists. There can be no doubt that our failure to decisively defeat the Taliban would serve as a boon to violent extremists who seek to do us harm. Until we have enabled the Afghan people to stand on their own against the Taliban forces we must continue our mission there.
This moment of national pride is one we should savor, but we must avoid the temptation to let down our guard. The brave, dedicated men and women who devote themselves to our security scored a victory on our behalf. For that they have our enduring gratitude. But now we must regain our focus and enable the defenders of freedom to continue until we have won this War on Terrorism.