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OPINION | EDITORIAL: Forget, hell

The organizer gone in a flash August 7, 2022 at 1:45 a.m.


They say Osama bin Laden was the orator, the inspiration, the guy who could rally the troops. But he needed somebody to organize, somebody to handle the paperwork, somebody to recruit. Which is where Ayman al-Zawahiri came in. They were the Castro brothers of Middle Eastern terror. Just as Fidel would do all the talking, but Raul would be behind the scenes doing the hands-on bloody work, OBL let his organizer and tactician build up al-Qaida out of the spotlight. It was a safer place to be, before last week.

Thanks to our spooks and allies, the American fighting forces found Ayman al-Zawahiri at a house in downtown Kabul early last week, and once his identity was confirmed, he was gone in a flash. Probably caused by a drone armed with a Hellfire missile.

Robert Gates, the only secretary of defense to serve under presidents from two different parties, once said that Joe Biden has been wrong on every major foreign policy issue over four decades. Last week, however, President Joe Biden got one right.

And it was a big one.

The late and unlamented Osama bin Laden might have been the face of al-Qaida on Sept. 11, 2001, but he had help. Especially the help of the (now) late and unlamented Ayman al-Zawahiri.

According to those in the know, the CIA was behind the attack, because of course it was. But the administration also says it has "zero" personnel in Kabul. These aren't mutually exclusive. The CIA employs all kinds of people, including foreigners who can more easily walk around in tough neighborhoods.

The details are beginning to drip out as more reporters and news outfits talk to insiders. They said that rumors had persisted that al-Zawahiri might have been dead already because he hadn't been seen in a while. Then he posted a video and mentioned an item in the news. American intelligence types followed him to what he thought was a safe house in Kabul. And this past Sunday, he walked onto a balcony of the hideout . . . .

"We make it clear again tonight: That no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out," the American president told the nation in an address. Another way to say all that: Forget, hell.

Those who planned 9/11 might have delayed justice. But they haven't escaped it.

The Taliban's press office (press office?) said the government "strongly condemns the attack."

Well, okay.

"Such actions are a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years," a statement from Kabul noted, "and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region."

We will just have to agree to disagree, guys. We wouldn't call this a failure at all. In fact, not only was our president's decision a good one, but so was the drone's aim.

After the pullout in Afghanistan last year, the administration said it would begin to rely on another kind of strategy in that country. Instead of boots on the ground, it would use an "over the horizon" technique that would continue to target our enemies, but without exposing our people to danger.

Those in the military have sometimes referred to that strategy as "over the rainbow," because many consider it fantasy. And "over the horizon" might prove ineffective in the long run--or at least not as effective as the traditional strategies of battle and war.

But this past week proved that this nation's enemies aren't safe and sound with this new tactic, either. They should worry. About where they're seen. Who they talk to. What's that dot in the western sky? What's that humming noise? Because even the top terrorist leaders, with all their protection and distance, are targets. And when American intel finds them . . . .

Down the hatch.


Print Headline: Forget, hell

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