The man whose face was a staple of our morning papers and evening news for days and weeks after the September 11 attacks is dead. Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with Americans — soldiers or intelligence officers; details are still sketchy — outside the capital of Pakistan, President Barack Obama announced late Sunday night.
Two details in that last sentence are particularly important:
- “killed in a firefight with Americans”: This wasn’t an armed drone getting lucky. Americans on the ground, capping an operation that the president described as being in the works since August, met bin Laden in person and sent him to his death, collecting the body in the process. Best of all, none of our guys were hurt (although Pakistani officials say their operatives — more on that in a moment — had a helicopter shot down by bin Laden’s militants).
- “outside the capital of Pakistan”: The compound — CNN reported it as a “mansion” — where bin Laden was killed was in the