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  • Morning Bell: Bin Laden Dead, but the Mission Remains

    One year ago today, Seal Team Six landed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and succeeded in bringing Osama bin Laden to ultimate justice. Though some may wish to bask in the glow of that success, now is not the time to celebrate or lay down arms. Bin Laden may be dead, but serious threats against the United States live on, both here in the homeland and around the globe.

    President Obama, though, is using the occasion to boost his re-election efforts with a self-congratulatory campaign ad. Heritage’s James Carafano writes, “If Lincoln had spent the entire Gettysburg Address talking about himself, it wouldn’t have been quite that crass.” And last night, the president made a campaign stop in Afghanistan where he delivered a speech remarking that the “dark cloud of war” is breaking way to “the light of a new day on the horizon” as U.S. troops continue to be withdrawn from the country. “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end,” he declared.

    But hours before the president spoke, Americans received a stark reminder that threats do not end at the time and place of our choosing. Late Monday, the FBI arrested five self-proclaimed anarchists who had planted what they believed to be explosives at the base a bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio as part of the international May Day protest. Thankfully, law enforcement foiled their plot, and the men were using inoperable explosives obtained from an undercover FBI agent.

    Unlike previous attempted terrorist attacks, the Ohio plot was not inspired by Islamism or hatched in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. However, Islamist-inspired terrorist threats are by no means a thing of the past. Since 9/11, at least 50 Islamist-inspired plots against the homeland have been thwarted through the concerted efforts of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement. Without a doubt, more attempts are being hatched, and a target remains painted on American soil. Shrinking the U.S. military or retreating from the world stage will do nothing to diminish those threats.

    However, as we saw last night, that is the path that President Obama would like to pursue. With bin Laden’s death serving as a notch of victory on his belt and with troops coming home from Afghanistan in accordance with an artificial timeline, the president is primed to make his pitch to the American people that this is a job well done. But there are more innings to be played in this Long War against terrorism, and other threats remain in every corner of the world.

    That’s why this month The Heritage Foundation is hosting its fourth annual “Protect America Month” in which leading conservatives and defense experts will deliver speeches and author a series of papers showcasing the need for America to commit to defending itself. In the first in a series of Protect America Month “America At Risk” memos, Matthew Spalding, PhD, Vice President of American Studies at The Heritage Foundation, writes that the federal government and its elected officials have an existential obligation to ensure that America is defended:

    It is the constitutional duty of the federal government to secure the country’s international borders and preserve and protect its territorial integrity, to strengthen and preserve its constitutional government, and to promote the long-term prosperity and well-being of its people. This means that the United States must be able, willing, and prepared at all times to defend itself, its people, and its institutions from conventional and unconventional threats to its vital interests, both at home and abroad.

    Unfortunately, under this Administration, the military is facing significant cuts that severely undermine America’s ability to defend itself and stand ready to combat the threats that lie around the corner.

    Those threats could very well emerge from Afghanistan if the Taliban are allowed to return to power, creating a breeding ground for al-Qaeda. In his speech last night, President Obama announced the signing of a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan, making clear that the United States will retain a force presence in the country long after 2014. That is a sliver of good news, but Heritage’s Lisa Curtis explains, “that does not erase the mistakes the Obama Administration has made in setting arbitrary timelines for withdrawal of combat forces and failing to explain the stakes for the U.S. in Afghanistan to the American people for so long.”

    The threat in Afghanistan remains, and the mission to protect America must continue. The president spoke last night of pursuing talks with the Taliban, yet hours later Taliban forces attacked a private compound with a car bomb, followed by gun fire, killing seven people and injuring 17 others. Clearly, the prospects for a political settlement with the Taliban remain remote.

    The United States must recognize that it cannot wish away threats or retreat into its fortress. There are no castle walls high enough to prevent another 9/11, and turning away from enemies abroad will not make them go away. The U.S. military must be prepared to combat future threats, America’s law enforcement and intelligence communities must have the tools to prevent terrorist attacks at home, and our elected officials must recognize their constitutional obligation to protect America from its enemies, both foreign and domestic.

    If you agree that cutting America’s defenses is no way to balance the budget, sign this petition from Heritage Action for America.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to Morning Bell: Bin Laden Dead, but the Mission Remains

    1. Wayne A. says:

      Killing Bin Laden was hardly a life changing event. Afghanistan continues to be a very dangerous place. Wasn't it just in the past couple of weeks that the Taliban or Al Qaeda attacked several major buildings in Kabul or am I dreaming that? A major life changing event that was worth celebrating was the fall of the Berlin wall under Reagan (if I remember correctly no one was shot). I am disgusted with Obama and his self righteous cronies who make a big deal about being pacifists and then make campaign ads about how they took out a bad guy. The whole thing is disgusting. If the people of this country had any smarts they would reject this guy's ranting about how he saved the country by killing a terrorist. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.

    2. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      Perhaps the next time life-long politician Boehner plays golf with Obama and you guys all sit down to a taxpayer dinner, Boehner can tell you how to catch some lifer politicians. Obama gets credit for giving an order. Boehner get credit for remaining in Congress so long his handicap is real low.

      Wake-up Heritage…It's all the life-long politicians who are killing the country…and you continue to support them.

      (I know it will not get printed…)

      • Wayne Peterkin says:

        Actually, many of us who support the Heritage Foundation are also in favor of term limits for Congress. Your post seems to try and shift the discussion from Obama and the weakening of America to a rant against John Boehner, which is neither explained or justified withing your text.

        • O2BMe says:

          Since Congress is the only one that can impose term limits it will never happen. Wish there was some way to get term limits. It's like they are the only ones that can give themselves raises and they just have to get reelected That of course takes it back to the voters in their states that voted them in over and over instead of giving them a performance review.

    3. ThomNJ says:

      "This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end," he declared.

      hussein is certainly comfortable in lying.

      And leaving any troop "security" presence in Afghanistan leaves them vulnerable to our so-called ally as well as to the taliban. This will do nothing except increase causalties and prevent our troops from fighting back. Wait and see. Remember Beirut?

    4. Jim Uberti says:

      Within hours of Obama's speech the Taliban struck. Perhaps to show the American President that they were a viable force still to be reckoned with.
      More laughable was the "treaty" signed with Kharzai. As soon as were out of there(in time for the November election) Kharzai will start to deal with the Taliban OR flee the country with a goodly chunk of our money.
      W was wrong when he pulled the "Mission Accomplished" stunt, but Obama has doubled down on outrageous claims.
      With O, it's all about getting reelected. Get ready for some nauseating tactics and keep your BP meds handy.

      • ThomNJ says:

        Agree with you except this part: "W was wrong when he pulled the "Mission Accomplished" stunt" – that was a Mission Accomplished banner for the aircraft carrier – not the overall war and not for W. But I will agree, that some good foresight would have/might have figured it would get twisted into what people recall today.

        • KHM says:

          @ Thom (8 hrs ago), The "Mission Accomplished" banner on the ship that GW Bush visited was NOT him saying that the mission in Iraq was accomplished. It was that the ship had accomplished its specific mission on that tour. The media that hated Bush mis- used that banner.
          In the 1st anniversary after bin Laden's death Obama is claiming that the war is over and mission accomplished. The Taliban is not gone and the situation in Afghanistan is still very volatile.

    5. Mike Loh says:

      The goal in Afghanistan should not be to kill all the Taliban and stay there for another ten years. The goal should be to eliminate all terrorists that threaten the U.S. wherever the are. That was our noble goal after 9/11, but, over the years, we drifted almost aimlessly into our current state of fighting the Taliban and trying to rebuild Afghanistan to our liking. The terrorists have fled Afghanistan long ago. So, why are we there if not to nation-build?
      The solution now should be to change the strategy from nation-building to relying on airpower to stop terrorists. President Obama now recognizes that the precision, efficiency, low cost and near zero casualties from an airpower strategy can allow withdrawal from Afghanistan soon while still attacking Al Qaeda from wherever it chooses to operate globally. That is the unmistakeable lesson from successful air attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere using airpower, not thousands of ground forces. Airpower provides the capabilities and global range for success against terrorism at a small fraction of the cost without huge ground invasions and unwanted occupation forces.

    6. Bobbie says:

      why is it a sliver of good news Obama retain a force presence in the country long after 2014? Osama is dead the job was complete according to Obama. Unless the country retain to maintain it's own presence, they should pay for America's services! This is just a set up where difficult times is without saying but Mr. Obama was specific! Please let Afghanistan and all the middle east pull up their own pants and face their own consequences of their own uncivil behavior! Get America OUT! America can't save the world while being killed working with the intolerable inhumane! If the middle east wants America there, THE MIDDLE EAST CAN PAY FOR America's presence or WE bring America home!

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Wait a minute! Obama told us the "war on terror" is over. You mean Obama lied to the American people for political gain (again). I'm for one shocked!

      • Carol, AZ says:

        …. and once again Americans will be flocking to support the newly made movie slated to be released just in time for BO's re/election conveniently produced by Hollywood.
        No one is talking yet_ about the Top Secret files received from the White House_ to make the film.
        It would be a wonderful day in America, IF Americans boycotted this adult cartoon.

        • Southern Girl says:

          I will boycott that propaganda, just like I boycott watching his ridiculous speeches on television.

    8. F.D O'Toole says:

      I'm sure the troops enjoyed getting up at 3 AM for the President's 4 AM morale builder, perfectly timed for the evening news here in the USA. In addition, he committed taxpayer funds through 2024 to assisting the Afghans to become a viable and stable ally. He also acknowledged direct talks with our future friends, the Taliban, and expressed frustration that the deal to open a Taliban Office in Qatar had stalled. Too bad… because those daily shipments of crates of hundred dollar bills out of Kabul airport reported by the WSJ will have to continue their indirect route through Gulf state banks to Switzerland, al Qaeda, and finally, to our friends, the Taliban.

    9. Wayne Peterkin says:

      Not mentioned in this article were Obama's remarks in Korea that he wants to dismantle roughly 80% of our nuclear arsenal.

    10. Brad W. says:

      I agree with Mike Loh re: airpower. it's very effective although probably not the complete answer. HIstory has shown that no foreign power has ever successfully invaded Afghanistan, so enforcing a negotiated settlement with the Taliban under the threat of drone attacks might work. That's just a fact to bear in mind when you consider that there will never be a military victory in Afghanistan, just as there wasn't one in Iraq. However, that Heritage would disparage the President for celebrating the anniversary of a major foreign policy victory during a very contentious campaign is just bogus. Apparantly Heritage and it's blind faith Republicans forgot about George W. celebrating "mission accomplished on the deck of an aircraft carrier, in a flight suit. Heritage used to be better than this, like when one of its economists first proposed the healthcare mandate.

    11. Jman says:

      The Ohio plot has given many on the left, and a few independents, a chance to think that the conservatives are at fault for the plotters conceptions and plans, even though that is not true. But the media will magnify that thought at every instance they can. There must be a way for conservative leaders to stop the sensationalistic crap that the media uses to continually damage the conservative system and its principles.

    12. Casey Carlton says:

      This "president" will use anything to try to make himself look good to the voters. Unfortunately for all of us, his resume has virtually nothing to recommend him for reelection. Jail or impeachment, perhaps, but NOT reelection.

    13. Rhondar says:

      hogwash….bin Laden's been dead since 2001

    14. Gilbert Doan says:

      Isn't it heart-warming to remember that Obma was a central genius behind the training program for the seals, saw Team Six through their paces with them, and was detaied as the additional member of the
      squad – only to have his participation in the raid compromised by a last -minute diversion to a different
      facet of his huge leadership obligation?

    15. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Don't spike the football.

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