Posted Sunday, May 1, 2011, at 11:02 PM
My colleague John Dickerson has confirmed that Osama bin Laden has been killed, and that the United States has the body. The president will speak about the facts of this very shortly.
My first thought -- well, second thought, after the gratitude I'm feeling towards the people who've fought and died in Afghanistan for nine and a half years -- is that public support for further action in Afghanistan is going to erode, quickly. Barack Obama ran, as John Kerry had ran, on a sort of zero sum approach to the war on terror. The war in Iraq had been a distraction from the war in Afghanistan, costing us a lot, and costing us a chance to kill bin Laden. If we shifted resources from Iraq to Afghanistan, we could win the war -- and in a lot of minds, "win the war" meant catching bin Laden. For many Americans, the death of bin Laden will have ended the war, and I don't see where the enthusiasm comes from for any further commitment to the country as the surge ends. And then there's the rest of the AfPak strategy we've been pursuing since Obama took office.