Osama Bin Laden’s Demise

Western media reported on the raid that killed Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011, with relief and jubilation. Fox News described the actions of the Navy SEALs team that killed Bin Laden as “heroic.”“Bin Laden Killed by CIA-Led SEALs Team, Death Hailed as Blow to Al Qaeda,” Fox News, May 2, 2011, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/02/bin-laden-killed-cia-led-seals-team-death-hailed-blow-al-qaeda/. CNN noted that President Obama’s announcement of Bin Laden’s death “drew cheering crowds to the streets of New York and the gates of the White House.” The network interviewed numerous people who lost family members in the 9/11 attacks, including the father of a New York firefighter who praised it as a “win for the United States of America.”“Bin Laden Killing Caps Decade-Long Manhunt,” CNN, May 2, 2011, http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/02/bin.laden.dead/index.html.

Many outlets also covered the details of how the raid on Bin Laden’s compound occurred, the planning that led up to it, as well as the potential backlash from it.“How Osama Bin Laden Was Located and Killed,” New York Times, May 8, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/05/02/world/asia/abbottabad-map-of-where-osama-bin-laden-was-killed.html?ref=asia; “U.S. Troops Kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan,” CNN, May 2, 2011, http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/02/obama-to-make-statment-tonight-subject-unknown/. The Washington Post reported reactions from jihadist web sites that threatened attacks on Americans. One user “warned that those who celebrate the killing will face men ‘who do not fear death and who will reap your souls,’ and another said that “Americans should expect to see ‘hell.’”Scott Wilson, Craig Whitlock, and William Branigin,” Osama Bin Laden Killed in U.S. Raid, Buried at Sea,” Washington Post, May 2, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/osama-bin-laden-killed-in-us-raid-buried-at-sea/2011/05/02/AFx0yAZF_story.html.

Days after the raid, many papers also television networks also carried reports on the SEAL Team Six that performed the operation. According to the Washington Post, “The team was formed in response to the 1980 American hostages rescue attempt in Iran…They exist outside military protocol and engage in operations that are at the highest level of classification and often outside the boundaries of international law.”Elizabeth Flock, “Navy SEALs Who Killed Osama Bin Laden Are from the Elite ‘Team 6,’” Washington Post, May 2, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/post/navy-seals-who-killed-osama-bin-laden-are-from-the-elite-team-6/2011/05/02/AFCC93YF_blog.html. CNN interviewed former SEALs who described what it means to be part of the elite unit. One former SEAL said, “Be a quiet professional…There is no room for braggarts in the SEALs. Talking hurts missions and gets people killed.” Brandon Webb, former SEAL and author of “The 21st Century Sniper,” said that, “They need to go far beyond just being a skilled warrior…The guys behind this mission [to capture or kill bin Laden] have never given anyone a reason to doubt that they are trustworthy and very focused. They are the best of the best.”Ashley Fants, “Navy SEALs, the ‘Quiet Professionals,’ Got Bin Laden,” CNN, May 3, 2011, http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/03/binladen.seals/.