Reaction from Donald Rumsfeld:
The man who once called the United States “a paper tiger” and issued a fatwa to “kill all Americans” believed that our nation would not strike back if provoked. Today that man, responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans on September 11th, Osama bin Laden, is dead. It is an achievement of which our country can be proud.
Credit belongs to the courageous special operators who executed the mission. As America awoke to celebration this morning, these professionals quietly went about their work, for they know as well as any that this fight is not over.
Recognition should also go to the intelligence professionals who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to collect information on al Qaeda. Initial reports indicate that intelligence efforts at Guantanamo Bay may have played an essential role in this success.
All of this was made possible by the relentless, sustained pressure on al Qaeda that the Bush administration initiated after 9/11 and that the Obama administration has wisely chosen to continue.
This is an important victory in the fight against Islamist terrorism, but the struggle will go on. We must not have any illusions that it ends today or that America can afford to let down its guard tomorrow.
His statement made me look up this memorable exchange from December 2001, including Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers:
Myers: And I just — let me just add, Mr. Secretary, it was effective. I mean, we’ve been on the ground and it had the desired effect. (Cross talk.)
Q: Which was what? What was the desired effect?
Q: Can you describe to us anecdotally what the –
Myers: The desired effect was to kill al Qaeda.
Q: What sort of results are you aware of? What did your people on the ground see?
Myers: Dead al Qaeda. (Laughter.)