Tuesday, May 03, 2011

President Obama on killing of Bin Laden

The White House
Monday, May 2, 2011

Good afternoon,
Last night, President Obama announced that the United States has killed Osama bin Laden, 
leader of al Qaeda and a terrorist responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent people. 
He made clear that even though Osama bin Laden has been brought to justice, Americans 
should remember the spirit of unity in the days after 9/11 as we continue to secure our nation 
and work for a safe and prosperous future.

If you haven’t yet seen President Obama’s remarks, you can watch them here and read the 
full transcript below:
Full Transcript of the President’s Remarks on Osama bin Laden
Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the 
United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of 
al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent 
men, women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst 
attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our 
national memory -- hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the 
Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; 
the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic 
citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world.  
The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their 
mother or their father.  Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.  
Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered 
our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each 
other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, 
what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American 
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed 
this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by 
al Qaeda -- an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war 
on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the 
globe.  And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our 
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our 
counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted 
terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the 
Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And 
around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda 
terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan.  
Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its 
affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the 
killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued 
our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed 
on a possible lead to bin Laden.  It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this 
thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more 
information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound 
deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence 
to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound 
in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary 
courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. 
After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to 
plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the 
most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to 
pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with 
Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against 
Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.  Indeed, 
al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.  So his 
demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew 
where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our 
counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound 
where he was hiding. 
Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the 
Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani 
.They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it 
is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight.  It came to our shores, and started with the 
senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we 
know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, 
have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service 
member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security 
being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in 
defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who 
we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to 
al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve 
worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know 
their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of 
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the 
professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. 
And they are part of a 
generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your
 loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another 
attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at 
times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and 
the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded 
America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the 
pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our 
 to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because 
of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.


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