After the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, analysts quickly began assessing the impact on al Qaeda. Assessments of the al Qaeda leadership succession must include not only operational factors, such as al Qaeda's ability to conduct attacks, but strategic factors such as their ability to recruit new members. Bin Laden is not the first senior al Qaeda leader killed by the United States and previous successes may offer insights...
In his May 4th column in the Washington Post, "Obama owes thanks, and an apology, to CIA interrogators," former White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen observed, "in normal times, the officials who uncovered the intelligence that led us to Osama bin Laden would get a medal. In the Obama administration, they have been given subpoenas..."
That Osama Bin Laden was killed rather than captured allowed President Obama to dodge a very awkward problem: Where to take the al Qaeda leader after his arrest? When administration officials were asked this in February as a hypothetical question, they didn't have an answer, and no doubt they were relieved on May 1 not to need one. But unless the president wants to kill every terrorist on the spot going forward, the mess that is U.S. detention policy needs to be cleared up.
The death of Osama bin Laden, while a geostrategic event of real importance, is also a prime example of how three principles from quantum physics might explain the reality and the potential of such occurrences in the context of international affairs...
TO the Qaeda members I interrogated at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere in the aftermath of 9/11, Osama bin Laden was never just the founder and leader of the group, but also an idea. He embodied the belief that their version of Islam was correct, that terrorism was the right weapon, and that they would ultimately be victorious. Bin Laden's death on Sunday did not kill that idea, but did deal it a mortal blow...