Osama bin Laden is Dead!
What delightful news! Osama bin Laden is dead.
President Obama called him “Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol” in announcing that a team of U.S. operatives had killed bin Laden and taken custody of his body in a firefight at a compound in Abbottabad inside the Pakistan interior.
Coming nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden’s death is a welcome piece of good news for the United States and its western allies, who have been struggling against terrorism on any number of fronts.
This is not the end of terrorism, of course. Bin Laden did not exercise control of the al Qaeda network, and it won’t fall apart because of his loss. A new, lesser leader may emerge, and independent, al Qaeda-branded groups need not look to central leadership for action.
But the killing of bin Laden is an important symbol to potential terrorists around the world that terrorism is not a mode of action that leads to success. The death of a symbol like Osama bin Laden is an important symbol of terrorism’s failure. Al Qaeda terrorism has certainly suffered a setback with the loss of its founder and nominal leader.
Of course, terrorism has had the intense interest of Congress since the 9/11 attacks. Below is a list of the bills dealing with terrorism that have been introduced so far in the new Congress that began this year. They illustrate the variety of ways that terrorism has affected U.S. policy. The American approach to counterterrorism will change in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, but probably not by much…
- H.R. 67, To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until February 29, 2012
- H. Res. 28, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Transportation Security Administration should, in accordance with existing law, enhance security against terrorist attack and other security threats to our Nation’s rail and mass transit systems and other modes of surface transportation; and for other purposes
- S. 34, The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011>
- S. 86, A bill to close the loophole that allowed the 9/11 hijackers to obtain credit cards from United States banks that financed their terrorist activities, to ensure that illegal immigrants cannot obtain credit cards to evade United States immigration laws, and for other purposes
- H.R. 478, The Military Tribunals for Terrorists Act 2011
- H.R. 504, The First Responders Fighting Terrorism Protection Act of 2011
- H. Res. 60, Urging the Secretary of State to remove the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran from the Department of State’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations
- H.R. 901, The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011
- H.R. 908, The Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act
- H.R. 916, The Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011
- S. 473, The Continuing Chemical Facilities Antiterrorism Security Act of 2011
- S. 497, The Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act of 2011
- H.R. 959, The Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act of 2011
- S. 554, A bill to prohibit the use of Department of Justice funds for the prosecution in Article III courts of the United States of individuals involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
- S. 614, The Securing Terrorist Intelligence Act
- H.R. 1270, To direct the Secretary of State to designate as foreign terrorist organizations certain Mexican drug cartels, and for other purposes
- H.R. 1506, The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011
- H.R. 1644, To amend section 412(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit the provision of cash assistance or medical assistance to any refugee who, after entering the United States, travels to a country that supports international terrorism