- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2011

With the killing of Osama bin Laden, the United States has “kept its commitment to see that justice is done,” President Obama said Monday.

“The world is safer — it is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden,” Mr. Obama said at an event conferring the Medal of Honor on two soldiers who died in the Korean War. 

“Today we are reminded that, as a nation, there’s nothing we can’t do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together. And we remember the sense of unity that defines us as Americans.”

He said that sense of unity is reflected in the enthusiasm of people who gathered outside the White House and at Ground Zero in New York to celebrate the death of the al Qaeda leader.

“People are proud to live in the United States of America,” he said.

The successful raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed bin Laden on Sunday “would not have happened” without the efforts of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, Joint Chiefs vice chairman, Mr. Obama said, praising all members of the nation’s armed forces.

“As commander-in-chief, I could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform,” he said.

The president awarded the medals to the families of Army Pfcs. Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano and Henry Svehla, both of whom sacrificied themselves to save other soldiers during the Korean war.

Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea after he was killed by U.S. forces in a surprise attack Sunday on the compound where he had been living in Pakistan, U.S. officials said as new details emerged about the dramatic operation that brings to an end a decade-long manhunt for the world’s top terrorist.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said information gained from interrogations of suspected terrorists led to persons close to bin Laden, which culminated in the Sunday raid on the compound.

President Obama signed off on the raid Friday morning at 8:20 a.m., ordering his national security team to draft formal orders before he left for Alabama to tour the tornado damage there, according to a senior administration official.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, the commander-in-chief reviewed final preparations for a special forces raid on the highly fortified compound in Pakistan. He was then notified at 3:50 p.m. that bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda, had been “tentatively identified,” and he received additional briefings in the White House situation room throughout the night, the official said.

Officials briefing reporters early Monday described the operation as “a surgical raid by a small team” that lasted under 40 minutes. In addition to bin Laden, three men — believed to be his son and two couriers — were killed, as well as a woman who was used as a shield by one of the men.

Officials said bin Laden fired a weapon at the American forces, but no U.S. troops were harmed.

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