President Barack Obama addressed the nation in an unexpected Sunday night speech declaring that 9-11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden had been killed and his body captured by American forces in Pakistan.
"On nights like this one, we can say to those who have lost loved ones to terrorists like Al-Qaeda that justice has been done," said the President.
In a solemn 10-minute address, Obama described the military operation that led to Bin Laden’s death. Obama said that he gave the green light for a special military mission to attack a compound that U.S. intelligence had determined was the hiding ground for the Al-Qaeda leader.
"Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation," said Obama. "After a firefight that killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body." Obama said no American troops were harmed.
He also sought to offer healing words to a nation that has dealt with the terrorism scars for nearly 10 years. Obama singled out military workers, counter-terrorism and intelligence agents, and the victims of the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
"We have never forgotten your loss," Obama said in reference to those who lost loved ones on 9-11.
Bin Laden had been elusive in hiding for nearly a decade after the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 U.S. civilians.
Pres. Obama also carefully communicated that Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda had inflicted deaths on Muslims, Christians and civilians from all walks of life. He reiterated that the U.S. was "never at war with Islam," but was at war with "a mass murderer of Muslims."
The President may have delivered his finest point when he ended his speech calling for national unity using the closing lines of the Pledge of Allegiance, "Tonight let us think back on the time of unity we experienced on 9-11," he said. "Let us remember that we can do these things because of who we are… one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Second District Cong. Tim Griffin (R), who was a scheduled guest on Talk Business this evening, said, "This is not just a military moment, this is an American moment."
Griffin serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees and also served in the Bush White House. He commented on Obama’s words to the nation.
"I thought it was a great speech with a great tone," Griffin said. "I appreciate his words communicating unity. This is clearly a victory and a significant achievement for all Americans."
More statements from Arkansas’ federal officials follow this video of Obama’s full remarks to the nation or you can read his remarks at this link.
Here is a round-up of formal statements from Arkansas’ federal delegation:
Senator Mark Pryor (D)
"Since September 11th, it has been a priority that we capture or kill Osama bin Laden. I strongly commend our military and intelligence community who have been dedicated to this mission and to the national security of our country. This development should send a message to our enemies around the world that regardless of the cost or the length of time it takes, we will continue to defend our country against those that have done or seek to do us harm."
Senator John Boozman (R)
"This is a great victory for the Global War on Terror. Osama bin Laden has been a top enemy of our country and its allies because of the murder of thousands of innocent civilians. We are grateful to the service and commitment of the men and women of our armed forces and intelligence community who have worked tirelessly to see that bin Laden be held responsible for his senseless actions. This should send a clear message to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that the U.S. will not give up in pursuit of justice."
First Dist. Cong. Rick Crawford (R)
"Today is a monumental day in American history. Thanks to the recent tactics of the armed services and intelligence community, the mastermind of 9/11 is unable to ever hurt anyone again. Tonight, my prayers go out to the families of the victims of September 11th who were murdered by Osama bin Laden and his evil plot against America. I want to thank General Petraeus and our troops who, for years, have been fighting for justice. While we must remain vigilant in protecting against any future strikes on our soil, we can all sleep more soundly knowing the leader of the Al Qaeda can no longer do any harm.”
Second Dist. Cong. Tim Griffin (R)
"The death of Osama Bin Laden is great news for the United States, our allies and the world. This is an historic moment for our nation. Let there be no doubt: this is a major achievement and a victory for all Americans, especially for the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence communities, who have sacrificed, along with their families, for the last ten years. While Bin Laden’s death is a very important event, our nation must remain committed to vigorously fighting the war on terror in order to protect our nation from those who would do us harm."
Third District Cong. Steve Womack (R)
"I join my colleagues in celebrating this important military achievement–the killing of Bin Laden–clearly our nation’s highest and most elusive target since 9/11. The successful elimination of Bin Laden is a victory for our nation, those personally affected by 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror, as well as the free world. I congratulate the brave members of our military who made this news possible and who selflessly serve the cause of freedom around the world."
Fourth Dist. Cong. Mike Ross (D)
"Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks on America on September 11, 2001, and many other attacks against our men and women in uniform and freedom loving people throughout the world, has been killed. Justice has been served for the thousands of families who lost loved ones in these terrorist attacks against America and its people. While this is a historic event in the defeat of Al-Qaida, we must remain vigilant as we continue to keep America safe and secure. I join every U.S. citizen in thanking President Obama, our Armed Forces and various intelligence agencies for the role they played in successfully carrying out this mission.”