Surgical raid eliminates mastermind of terror

Although we share a sense of relief that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden has been killed, we are not inclined to cheer or chant.

Bin Laden’s death during a surgical raid Sunday by elite U.S. Navy Seals marks a successful step — indeed, a vital step — in the ongoing war against terrorism.

The al-Qaida leader was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed thousands of Americans when hijacked commercial jets destroyed New York’s World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Although the United States engaged in a war on terrorism in both Iraq and Afghanistan, bin Laden eluded capture for nearly a decade.

That ended during Sunday’s covet operation — a secret known only to a few — when elite U.S. forces penetrated bin Laden’s fortified compound in Pakistan. Bin Laden reportedly resisted and was killed, as were others at the compound. No U.S. casualties were reported.

The raid underscores the best of U.S. intelligence and military operations. Our observations include:

• The operation was a culmination of U.S. resolve. The manhunt remained consistent and aggressive throughout the years, demonstrating that although terrorists may run and may hide, the United States will remain steadfast in its pursuit of justice.

• The intelligence community — often berated when leaks or errors occur — successfully developed information that led to military action.

• The raid, by all accounts, was carried out with pinpoint accuracy, evidence of what our well-trained military can accomplish.

• President Obama deserves credit for personifying what it means to be commander-in-chief. He weighed the intelligence reports and military plans, maintained intense secrecy and allowed the elite military personnel to do their jobs.

Our commendations for the U.S. operation and our relief that bin Laden’s reign of terror has ended, however, are tempered by the grim reality that the war against terrorism is not over.

We agree with the president’s assessment that the world now is safer, but we must remain vigilant against terrorist reprisals, especially in the immediate aftermath of the raid.

Sunday’s military operation must reinforce our message that injustice against America and its people is a losing proposition.

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