May 2nd, 2011
05:25 PM ET

Letters to the President: #833 'Bin Laden'

Reporter's Note: The news to start this week is huge: Osama bin Laden has been killed.

Dear Mr. President,

I was writing an entirely different letter to you about the big correspondents’ dinner and my latest marathon (Excellent run up in Gettysburg…lovely town and wonderful race. Congrats to them!) but now comes the word of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Related: Osama bin Laden, the face of terror, killed in Pakistan

This is obviously a very long awaited event, and I’m sure we’ll hear all sorts of details over the next few days. It will certainly bring some satisfaction for some of the people who lost family and friends on 9/11, and frankly a lot of our fellow Americans everywhere will be happy.

And yet, here is something we must bear in mind: While it is symbolically important that we finally caught up with him, this doesn’t really change things in a practical sense. Yes, it is a blow to al Qaeda and to terrorist organizations in general, but what has made these groups so dangerous and difficult to battle, is that fact that they do not follow the lead of one man nor depend on a top down command structure.

For some years there have been indications that bin Laden has been surpassed by other, younger leaders who presumably pose a greater threat to our nation and others. In short, this is a war of ideologies and such things don’t die with the death of one individual.

Don’t get me wrong: There is no doubt that many in your administration and across this land have reason to feel satisfied that this deed has been accomplished and a terrible foe is gone. But the threats to America and so many other places continue –threats driven by a fierce clash of cultural and religious ideas, which remains alive and vigorous. They may even gain new energy in the wake of this news, at least for a while.

This success is, in other words, a good reason to keep our guard up, and not to let it down.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. randy

    This is purely a symbolic action which we need more of. its a great day for amerians and all freedom loveing people all over the world.Is the war on teror over of course not.I cant belive one of your comentators said this is the end of al quada unbelavable.Its just one for the good guys, one big one!

    May 3, 2011 at 2:20 am |
  2. beenod

    Long rememberance to mr. osama bin laden
    for his dedication n service towards america and americans. Americans will always remember u and your deeds towards this country and will not allow people like you to exists in future. Hope your death will be the wake up call for the people like you around the world.

    May 3, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  3. Lucille

    President Obama, the country is so proud of you. Just exceptional work!

    May 2, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  4. jo

    i was wondering didnt our goverment train osama bin laden,so they trained a killer to kill and then killed him for turning on us ,what a crazy world and we all celebrate this kind of stuff,maybe he wouldnt have felt invincible if we didnt put that idea in his i guess we trained him pretty well.thank god they got him or our goverment could have had a lot more of us killed by this killer they trained.

    May 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  5. john

    Hats off to the U.S. and the Personnel that Pulled this operation off! I am proud to be an American! I Give Credit to President Obama for giving the go ahead to make this happen! However, I do find the press comical in saying that "President Obama will NOW be hard to beat" ? This country has many issues and I do not feel that the current President has done much if anything to correct and restore our Country and the American way of life! We need an aggressive approach to run America as a business. The current Presidency is not capable.

    May 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  6. Mary

    Why do you people in the media bring up BUSH in The GREAT thing our Obama did getting Rid of Bin Laden?
    Bush never did anything good us. I NEVER TRUSTED HIM. HE was linked to much to the Sadies Bin Laden 's KIN!!!

    May 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  7. Robert - Palm Desert

    Kudos' to: President Obama, VP Joe Biden, SoS Clinton, SoD Gates, CIA Panetta, Adm. Mullens, Gen. Patraeus, and the heroes who carried out the hugely successful mission.

    May 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  8. Aurea-Irene Singh

    Congratulations to President Obama. I have lived in Delhi for short periods over the last 40 years. There is no way that in that part of the world like in Pakistan, a family or even a single person can move into a neighborhood without people knowing what is going on inside the household. The cleaning staff, the house boy, the cook, the gardener, the bearer have a tremendous communication network even beyond the neighborhood where they work. It is difficult to believe that no one knew for the past three years who lived in that large house where Bin Laden was found.

    May 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  9. Jim Grainger

    God Bless America and Her Troops! Osama bin Laden is dead. It's time for our war weary military to come home, and let the United Nations police the world. That's what it's for!

    May 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  10. MisterO

    Is Osama Bin Laden dead? Yes, No,Maybe So. Regular people like you and me will never know!!!!??????

    May 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  11. Pedro

    I guess the question to ask now is what do we do with the Pakistan government who has hid and lied to the US for god only knows how long. I think the very least we should do is freeze financial assets of the leading members of the Pakistan elite, until ansewrs come forth regarding who covered this up, for how long and why? Was the Pakistan government holding on to Osama Bin Laden as a political chip to play sometime in the future to gain something from the USA?

    May 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  12. Daniel Lefebvre

    I would like to ask anderson what his opinion or thoughts are on Gary Brooks Faulkner now in regards to gathering intellegence for the us seeing as how he was detained just before President Obama says he recieved intelllegence in august about the courier. Did Gary provide the US with good intellegence or was it something the US already knew about. Dan L Ontario Canada

    May 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm |