The abrupt late-night announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death brought an end to the September 11 mastermind’s longtime leadership of al Qaeda. “Justice has been done,” declared President Obama in a 10-minute address to the nation late Sunday night. Celebrations erupted outside the White House, in Times Square and at Ground Zero while people around the country kept one eye on the television and the other on their Twitter feeds. Osama bin Laden’s death carries with it an enormous amount of questions about the future of al Qaeda and the implications of the U.S.’s ongoing war in the Middle East. Global intelligence firm Stratfor declared that it “opens the door for the beginning of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, regardless of the practical impact of bin Laden’s death.”
While we’ve been covering the story at our news blog, The Daily Need, and via Facebook and Twitter, we’ve rounded up your reactions from the first few hours after news sites began to confirm that bin Laden, in fact, had been killed:
On Facebook, Kat was not completely satisfied with the al Qaeda leader’s abrupt death:
I think capturing him would have been better than killing him. Imagine there was not that option. I’d have liked to see a trial for justice to be served.
Commenter Steven heeded caution:
Be cautious, there will be retaliation around the world!
But another Facebook commenter, Marlane, was congratulatory:
I thought that THIS was the real “Mission Accomplished.” Kudos to our troops for doing it and our President for ordering that it was his top priority. Great teamwork!!
We asked readers via Facebook and Twitter what their initial reactions were to President Obama’s speech, delivered shortly before midnight on Sunday. On Facebook, Veronica declared it a crucial bookend to the decade after September 11:
I will always remember this speech when President Obama confirmed Bin Laden was dead and his body in U.S. custody; I’m 10 years older but he’s right: our generation has borne much but ‘justice is done.’
Joan responded to the idea of “justice”:
Justice has been served, I suppose, in the way it can be served in this world by humans. I don’t think, though, it’s ever really possible for justice to be completely served because justice is relative. In this case, as I see it, a horribly evil man, responsible for much destruction of human minds and lives, has been killed and removed from our midst, and I can’t help but see that as a good thing. There will be others in his place, but hopefully, bringing this key player will demoralize the organization — and also bring some respect for our president from “certain quarters” who have been disrespecting him openly from the get-go. As to Osama’s spirit, that’s between him and his God.
Naf highlighted President Obama’s emphasis that the war on terror was not to be considered a war on Islam:
I’m glad he said that “bin Laden was NOT a Muslim leader, in fact he killed many Muslims also.” That is true … bin Laden did not represent Muslims … just a small bunch of extremists.
And on our website, Guest5 echoed the sentiment:
To use a Churchillian phrase it might be the END of the BEGINNING but is merely the BEGINNING OF THE END!
Next are the Al Qaeda no 2 and 3 — the America convert in Yemen and Mullah Omar and his no 2 and 3 of the Taliban.
Having said that the Obama speech was the perfect blend of sorrow and aggression and making sure fighting Islam as a religion is not the objective.
This latter is critical as we abhor Muslims Killing Muslims (or anyone else because we are not attacking your faith) because of differing religious interpretations of the Koran.
So what’s the ten year price tag for getting Osama bin Laden? It’s well over $1,000,000,000,000
Other tweeters brought in much more positive reactions to the question we posed at @PBSNeedtoKnow: “What did you think of President Obama’s speech on the death of Osama bin Laden?”
It was everything that it needed to be! — @caffeinehusky
it gave me chills. it was devoid of arrogance and was therefore more powerful because of its quiet dignity. — @ImmaculateEdits
Clear and concise. Guarded optimism. But what about Ayman alZawahiri, the brains behind the outfit? — @geraldwbrown
Politics aside, very proud of our President. –@SabotImages
In the wake of this truly historic moment in a nine-year war and a 30-year relationship between the U.S. and Osama bin Laden, how do you feel? Is this event truly a moment for celebration or is the fear of retaliation more palpable? What do you think is the next step for the war in Afghanistan, for al Qaeda and for the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter.