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The Bin Laden Raid, a Year Later

Al Qaeda is down but not out.

May 14, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 33 • By BENJAMIN RUNKLE
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In the end, Osama bin Laden’s death was indisputably a boost for U.S. morale in the war on terror and a triumph of justice over evil. President Obama deserves credit for launching the raid, even if it is disconcerting that so many of his handpicked advisers opposed it. But regardless of how much the president’s reelection campaign may trumpet that successful operation over the next six months, the drone strikes against al Qaeda’s broader network and the leaders of affiliated terror groups will likely prove more significant. It is President Obama’s decision to treat the war on terror as an actual war rather than reverting to a pre-9/11 law enforcement mentality—that is, his continuation of the policy initiated by the Bush administration—that may prove strategically decisive.

Benjamin Runkle is a former Defense Department and National Security Council official and the author of Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to bin Laden.

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