Navy Seals kill Osama Bin Laden, no thanks to Pakistan

Osama’s death further strains relations between the U.S and Pakistan.

Ethan Froelich, Writer

As Obama walked up to the podium Sunday to announce what Twitter and Facebook had already done minutes before the news stations had even woken up, implications and assumptions were already mounting. Pakistan had been left in the dark, and many were already asking if this was an intentional move by the Obama administration.

U.S reacts to Osama’s death

Late Sunday night at 11:35 east coast time, Obama said the fated words that yes, Osama bin Laden, the face of the terror organization Al Qaeda and the man with a $25 million bounty on his head – the one hated by nearly every person in America – was indeed dead.

Other events and statements immediately mounted following Osama’s death. A man in Washington finally shaved his beard, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was disappointed that he hadn’t pulled the trigger, and Pakistan was climbing out of bed, rubbing their eyes and scratching their heads, “Americans just killed who?…wait…here?”

The White House was host to scores of young people who had heard via Twitter and Facebook about bin Laden’s death far sooner than any news station and came running to the White House lawn and others in New York, to Times Square. People were cheering and stating that they were happy the terrorist leader was dead, and a chorus of “hey, hey, hey, goodbye” spontaneously broke out over CNN’s live feed of the crowds outside of the White House.

Pakistani competence questioned

With the death of Osama bin Laden come some great things, but also brings up discussion about the elephant in the room. America has seen Al-Qaeda’s leader and the mastermind of the 9/11 bombings brought to justice for a crime committed nine years and 232 days prior that killed 3,000 Americans. Yet, at the same time, the U.S. had to turn a critical eye toward the town, and the nation Osama Bin Laden had been hiding in.

What is most troubling about the entire operation is Pakistan. When a country has the most wanted man in the world with a $25 million bounty on his head living in Abbottabad, one mile from a military academy, you either have to be really dull not to notice or extremely intentional to ignore him.

Bin Laden was found in an affluent part of town where there was a mysterious two story compound with 12 foot walls and barbed wire. A compound where the residents hardly ever came out, but frequently had cars ferry food and materials in and out, and where trash was not thrown away but burnt. A compound where there were armed men guarding the facility at all times. Conspicuous? Apparently not to Pakistan.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof got it right when he tweeted that he would “be surprised if Gen. Kayani or Gen. Pasha of Pakistan knew Osama’s whereabouts. I’d also be surprised if no mil officer knew.” That is the epitome of what is going on. If Pakistan’s head generals knew where Osama was, it would be most likely that they would have turned his location in to the United States. In order for these generals not to know; someone on the inside must have been helping to keep Bin Laden off the radar.

Incident adds strain to U.S-Pakistan relations

The implications of knowing where Bin Laden was and not acting on it are huge for the relations between the United States and Pakistan. Even if only some members of the military knew about Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts and were covering it up, it still looks terrible for Pakistan as a whole. Had the entire military truly not known of where Osama was hiding, they would rank as one of the most oblivious and worst-run intelligence operations in the world. The United States’ trust of Pakistan was already thin, but this makes it paper thin and threatens to sever what little trust is left between the two vastly different countries.

Early Monday, May 2nd, Obama ended his brief, but rousing speech by stating that “America can do whatever we set our minds to, that has been our history.” On the other hand, Pakistan still has a lot of explaining to do, and it doesn’t look like their history with the United States will play any part in reassuring Obama and the rest of America that they weren’t harboring bin Laden.

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