Three thousand, five hundred and nineteen days. Or nine years, seven months and 20 days. That's the time between that fateful morning when the Twin Towers fell... to the day President Obama told the world the man behind the attack was dead.
Roughly 40 miles outside Pakistan's capitol city Islamabad, Osama Bin Laden was killed by a yet un-named American hero. Over the last nine-plus years, our brave men and women in the military have been following lead after lead.
According to the Wall Street Journal, it was a tip developed two years ago that led to the victory - identifying the whereabouts of a particular courier, which led intelligence to his location. This past Friday President Obama gave the order to go into the compound and take out Bin Laden.
This compound was certainly no hideout or cave. The property was worth about $1 million and built more than five years ago to house the Al-Qaida leader. In fact it was surrounded by 12-foot-high barbed-wire fences, and was eight-times the size of any other home in the area. Although, it didn't have Internet or telephone service.
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Bin Laden's body was buried at sea, in accordance with Muslim traditions, after a DNA test confirmed his identity.
Now as politicians and military leaders debate the future of the war on terror, not taking into account the loss of lives, those nine-and-a-half years have been costly ones for the American taxpayer.
Since the 9/11 attacks, Congress has approved more than $1.25 trillion for military operations related to the War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
About a third of that money, or around $444 billion, went to operation enduring freedom in Afghanistan. Even before the death of Bin Laden, the Defense Department had planned on reducing troop levels there.
But the CBO is still predicting high costs for the next decade, saying with troop levels falling to about 45,000 by 2015. We could still add another half a trillion dollars, meaning by 2021, war costs would be near $1.8 trillion.
I am usually the first person to complain about out of control government spending, wasting taxpayer dollars and our rising debt and dangerous deficit is a very good reason to be so outraged.
But today – I say it was worth every penny.
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