Jennifer Rubin provides the inevitable spin, arguing that the killing of OBL vindicates the Bush approach of using military force — including an invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no significant security threat to the United States:
Third, this is why we went into Afghanistan and why George W. Bush decided that the United States would go on offense in the war against Islamic terrorism. We cannot sit home, play defense and hope for the best. It was President George W. Bush’s insight that we would need to take the fight to the jihadists. Without doing so, we could not have obtained the intelligence needed to kill the man behind Sept. 11.
A nice trick — putting things at this level of abstraction (“go on offense”) justifies any possible military reaction without requiring any actual argument. But the reality is rather different:
Yet it was not our sheer military or technological strength that finally finished off Osama Bin Laden on Sunday; it was human intelligence, careful preparation, and patience. We don’t know the whole story yet, and we might not hear it for some time. But according to first reports, an intelligence tip-off led U.S. analysts to Bin Laden’s trusted courier; observation of the courier then led special forces to Bin Laden’s compound, which has now been under surveillance for many months.
In other words, the killing of Osama Bin Laden did not take place in a hail of bombs and bullets, or after a shoot-out involving hundreds of troops. It was the result of careful preparation, followed by the competent execution of a plan.
Precisely why it was necessary to invade Iraq in order to obtain this information remains…unclear.