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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 05/02/2011

Lunchline: Ten years later, a mastermind eliminated


Clinton Yates (Breton Littlehales)
Around midnight last night, while I was mulling whether to head downtown and witness the crowds gathering at Lafayette Square, I put the question out on Twitter. A lot of snarky replies came in about the crowd being only drunk college kids trying to use the death of Osama bin Laden as a reason to continue Spring Break. But what I saw last night was thousands of smiling people of all ages and races, happy that they finally had something to cheer about.

The death of al-Qaeda's founder has brought elation for some and frustration for others. Although most reasonable people understand that bin Laden's killing doesn't put an end to terrorism, the symbolism of the action is undeniable. And the intelligence and military effort it took to scout, find and eventually eliminate the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks was extraordinary. The Post's Philip Rucker, Scott Wilson and Anne E. Kornblut detail the "surgical raid on [Bin Laden's] luxury hideout in Pakistan." Also, this guy live-blogged it, and didn't even realize what he was doing.

Being the president of the United States of America is obviously a tough job. But the past week for Obama has been more than your average one for the man who calls the Oval Office his workplace. A week that began with the White House Easter Egg Roll ended with the most dramatic announcement of his administration so far. In between he confronted political opponents over the birther controversy, reorganized his national security leadership and traveled to the South to offer comfort and federal aid to communities crushed by tornadoes. Not to mention that he nailed it on stage at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night. Anne E. Kornblut reviews Obama's extraordinary week.

Although President Obama praised Pakistan's role in yesterday's operation , questions about the country's sympathy for bin Laden remain. The fact is that he was caught in a compound in a seemingly nice, suburban area near the capital, not a cave in a rogue, lawless region. The Post's Karin Brulliard details how "the killing could also intensify suspicions in Washington that Pakistan is either uncommitted to the U.S.-backed fight against Islamist militancy or is playing a double game by sheltering terrorists."

I must admit that I was a bit surprised to learn that Osama bin Laden was only 54 years old. And although most people know that he gave up a life of riches in Saudi Arabia to eventually declare holy war on the United States, he has been lampooned so much as a character that the real story of his life and activities is overshadowed. Former Post staff writer Bradley Graham pens the incredible obituary of the most wanted man in the world.

Before I stood in front of the White House last night, I was watching the Capitals. For about three minutes of the entire game, the Caps looked like they were poised to tie the series against the Lightning before it heads back to Tampa Bay. But Alex Ovechkin's dramatic late equalizer wasn't enough momentum to push his team to a victory. The Post's Katie Carrera reports on the anticlimactic overtime loss at the Verizon Center Sunday.

Extra Bites

• You can say what you want about people deciding to party last night, but for the kids at the United States Military Academy at West Point, it had to be an incredible rush. Normally, curfew is before midnight on campus. No such rules were enforced early Monday morning.

• Call this macabre, but there is video from inside the kill site from Abbottabad, Pakistan. Fair warning, it's a relatively gruesome scene. No dead bodies, but not footage you want to see if you consider yourself squeamish.

• If you missed the president's full announcement live, here it is. Powerful stuff.

Send your suggestions or comments to me at clinton.yates@wpost.com.

By  |  12:30 PM ET, 05/02/2011

 
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