Pakistan

When news broke Sunday night that Osama bin Laden was dead—killed by a team of Navy SEALs near Islamabad, Pakistan—Americans burst into the streets to celebrate. Times Square, Ground Zero, and the White House were scenes of particular jubilation. Here, we have compiled some of the most poignant images of the revelry. New York City ROTC students from NYU Ground Zero Alex, who didn’t give his last name, says he served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine.

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Bin Laden

Monday morning update: Elsewhere at TNR Paul Berman, Jonathan Chait, and David Greenberg have more to say. Also well worth reading are the National Journal's Marc Ambinder and the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright. By now, you have heard the news: Osama bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced in a nationally televised speech on Sunday night.  According to the president and senior administration officials, bin Laden was killed in a "targeted raid" that U.S.

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The Case for Drones

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that President Obama, hoping to break the see-saw deadlock between rebel forces and Muammar Qaddafi’s military, had authorized the use of armed Predator drones in Libya. The Predator—technically known as the MQ-9 Reaper—is accurate and deadly; it can fly for over 40 hours and carry more than 1,000 pounds of missiles and bombs. The decision to send these drones was driven by the tactics Qaddafi’s forces have developed to circumvent NATO air strikes, namely intermingling with civilians and moving in unmarked vehicles.

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Fittingly enough, the world’s first airstrike came exactly a century ago, on an autumn day in 1911. Eerily enough, it came in Libya, where, one day during the Italian-Turkish war of 1911-1912, Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti flew his paper-thin Taube monoplane over a camp of Turks and Arabs, dropped four hand grenades (having pulled the pins out with his teeth), and generated headlines such as this: “AVIATOR LT. GAVOTTI THROWS BOMB ON ENEMY CAMP.

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] In the course of a blog post discouraging American military action in Libya, Ross Douthat takes issue with those who say the United States has a responsibility to intervene. The United States is not the government of North Africa, and Barack Obama is not the president of Libya. We have obligations in the region, certainly — treaty obligations, strategic obligations, and yes, moral obligations as well.

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Time for a Reset

President Obama is in a tight spot. The 2010 elections have sharply contracted his ability to achieve legislative victories, while his room to maneuver on other issues will be limited by the intrusive investigations which are almost certainly coming his way. Progress will be harder to attain than ever.

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As the protests in Cairo stretched through the weekend, much of the international news coverage has focused on looting and violence. Newspapers have been describing a state of near-anarchy, and cable TV has been streaming reports about violence throughout the country, and gangs of thugs terrorizing Cairo’s neighborhoods. Last night, gunshots were ringing into the early hours of the morning. There is certainly violence occurring in Egypt, but after returning from Pakistan a day ago to cover the upheaval, I was actually struck by how peaceful the protest is at Cairo’s main gathering spot.

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The assassination of Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s largest province—and the wave of support for the assassin from Islamic extremists—underscores how close to the abyss the world’s second largest Muslim country has come. Taseer was an outspoken critic of religious extremism and a defender of civilian government. Like Benazir Bhutto, he was murdered by the dark forces in Pakistan that seek to create an Islamic emirate. In the wake of this disaster, many will be tempted to go to the generals and look for a strongman, perhaps army chief of staff General Kayani, to maintain order.

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Aubuike Ihejririka, Nigeria’s army chief of staff, explained the terror that killed at least 40 people in northeast Nigeria on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

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The recent chief-of-station (COS) cover-shredding brouhaha between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate marks an ironic and possibly important shift in the historic affection that Langley has had for Pakistan’s premiere intelligence service.

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