- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2011

President Obama capped off a week that began with him announcing the death of Osama bin Laden with a trip Friday to Fort Campbell in Kentucky to thank the Navy SEALs whose daring nighttime raid on a compound in Pakistan Sunday ended the decade-long hunt for the world’s top terrorist.

After meeting privately with the special forces’ raiding party, Mr. Obama told a broader groups of troops at the fort that the operation will go down as “one of the greatest” in American history.

“This has been a historic week in the life of our nation,” Mr. Obama said. “Thanks to the incredible skill and courage of countless individuals — intelligence, military — over many years, the terrorist leader who struck out nation on 9/11 will never threaten America again.”

Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division, and many of its troops have recently returned from Afghanistan — a conflict Mr. Obama has invested heavily in by adding tens of thousands of troops.

Mr. Obama said the weekend raid, combined with successes from his troop surge in Afghanistan, has “put al Qaeda’s leadership under more pressure than any time since 9-11.”

“Our strategy is working and there is no greater evidence of that than justice finally being delivered for Osama bin Laden,” the president said.

His Afghanistan policy has been controversial and many of his staunchest supporters have called for him to withdraw troops immediately. After bin Laden’s death, some of them have said that should mark the end of U.S. military involvement in the region.

But the president said he is committed to his plan to slowly withdraw troops beginning this summer.

A White House official said Mr. Obama got a briefing about the Sunday night operation from the special forces team that actually raided the compound bin Laden had been living in in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The president also awarded each of the units involved in the assault force a Presidential Unit Citation, which is the highest honor that can be given to a unit.

The visit with troops came a day after Mr. Obama visited Ground Zero and fire and police stations in New York City to console families and colleagues of those who died in the attacks.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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