Bin Laden's death: How anti-war members of Congress plan to take advantage.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
May 2 2011 7:44 PM

The Smell of Victory

How anti-war members of Congress hope to capitalize on Bin Laden's death.

Elsewhere in Slate, Daniel Byman analyzes the future of al-Qaida after Osama Bin Laden, John Dickerson looks at Obama's secret meetings, Annie Lowrey asks who might get the $25 million reward, and Jack Shafer says to follow the news skeptically. Dahlia Lithwick says it's time to end the war on terror, and Chris Beam explains the mood in Pakistan. For the most up-to-date-coverage, visit the Slatest. Slate's complete coverage is rounded up here

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But go back to the way Barney Frank described the war. What was the mission of the war, and what's been the lesson of it? The Afghanistan hawk's case would have been easier to make had Osama Bin Laden been caught in the country. He wasn't. Afghanistan didn't remain a "safe haven" for him—he found a safe haven in an ally of the United States, one that collects $3 billion of foreign aid every year.

The debate on Afghanistan was likely to heat up in July. It will probably pick up sooner than that. On Thursday, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and other war skeptics will begin another attempt to scale back war funding with new legislation.

"Our reaction to the death of Bin Laden should be that we declare victory," said Jones on Monday. "I think this changes the whole dynamics of the war on terrorism. Let's go after them. Let's not occupy a country for 10 years for nothing but a waste of lives."

Their opponent are stuck with an old script. They have a brand new one. Go ahead and call them defeatists, because they'll tell you they're celebrating victory.

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