Osama bin Laden's death opens doors
The death of Osama bin Laden has demonstrated the ability of American leaders and is beneficial to our national goal of ending terrorism, OU officials said Monday.
Many groups deserve credit for the achievement of a goal many years in the making, OU President David Boren said in a statement.
President Barack Obama acted decisively, Boren said in the statement.
“The special operations forces performed with great heroism and precision,” Boren said. “The intelligence community worked tirelessly and effectively.”
The credit for bin Laden’s death will go to Obama because of his changes to U.S. strategy in the Middle East, Joshua Landis said, director of the OU Center for Middle East Studies.
“His focus on policing actions has paid off,” Landis said. “Rather than waging large-scale wars, he has been focusing on policing actions, which has been more fruitful and less wasteful.”
Boren was the longest serving chair of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee and serves as co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, university spokesman Chris Shilling said.
The successful strike on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan highlights the success of changes in American intelligence policy since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Boren said.
“These reforms have brought together the specialized skills of each separate part of the national security community into a shared unified effort,” Boren said.
The death puts Americans closer to withdrawing from Afghanistan, and Americans will probably have an easier time creating a diplomatic solution now that bin Laden and what he represented are gone, Landis said.
However, U.S. officials must consider the situations and environments that created opportunities for al-Qaida and bin Laden to become established in the first place, Landis said.
“At the same time, one of the things we’ve learned is that failed states such as Afghanistan become breeding grounds for extremism,” Landis said. “We will not be able to leave without some form of government that seems stable. Whether that is making a deal with the Taliban, I don’t know, but it will be easier to make deals with bin Laden dead.”
Poverty and harsh economic situations also contribute to extremists’ ability to establish authority in the Middle East, however, recent uprisings in the region’s countries are a good first step, Landis said.
“The Arab spring will have long-term positive effects because it was about governance and about liberty and about getting rid of dictatorship,” Landis said. “It’s not going to be done overnight, but this is the beginning.“
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will still deliver the commencement address May 13, OU graduation office director Becky Heeney said.
Gates has served in both the Bush and Obama administrations during military action in the Middle East. He may tailor his speech to address recent events, Heeney said.
“Commencement speakers in general are finalizing talks and tailoring to specific audience until right before they deliver the address to a class,” Heeney said. “I think it’s a moving target until right before they deliver the address, so he might speak on what happened [Sunday] night.”
OU has a good security system in place, so officials are not worried about any threats, Heeney said. All guests are checked before entering the stadium, and all graduates will have to open gowns to show they are not hiding anything.
BY THE NUMBERS
Less than 40 — Number of minutes U.S. special forces spent at bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, to complete the mission that killed him
At least 9 — Number of planning meetings Obama participated prior to the raid that killed bin Laden
20 to 25 — Number of Navy SEALs who carried out the raid mission
0 — Casualties sustained by U.S. forces in the raid
4 — Number of people killed in the raid. One of which was bin Laden’s son.
99.9 — Percent accuracy, according to officials, of a DNA test confirming that the man shot in Abbottabad on Sunday was indeed Osama bin Laden
— Sources: Newsweek, TIME