5 questions to ask about Osama bin Laden's death

Summary:We'll know more over the coming days and weeks, but for now, here are five questions Americans should ask of our leaders.

Image courtesy CBSNews.com

By now, you probably know that a small team of American operatives found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

We'll know more over the coming days and weeks, but for now, here are five questions Americans should ask of our leaders.

1. How have our objectives changed in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Although some of the troop allocations have changed, America is still essentially at war in both Iraq and Afghanistan. While the reasons for going to war in those countries have changed (it was once WMDs, then freeing oppressed peoples), the real fact is that Osama bin Laden has always been an objective.

Now that bin Laden has been verified as dead, how have our objectives changed?

2. How will bin Laden's death affect Al-Qaida?

Al-Qaida has been losing leaders over the years, as Americans find one terrorist leader, then another. Now that the spiritual leader of Al-Qaida is now dead, how will the terrorist organization change? Or will it just collapse?

3. Will bin Laden's death increase America's risk of terrorist attack?

Bin Laden has long been considered the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He's often given blustery speeches when world events moved his way, and there have been a steady stream of less effective attacks against western targets since 9/11.

Now that bin Laden's dead, do we expect to see retaliatory attacks?

4. What have we learned about bin Laden and Al-Qaida from his body or the circumstances of his death?

In any death scene, there is almost always some sort of forensic information available. If America does, in fact, have bin Laden's body and has identified the location of his death, can we learn anything about the man, his habits, or travel itinerary from an examination of his body and its surroundings?

5. How will bin Laden's death impact American politics?

We all know that if bin Laden were killed during the Bush administration, the Republicans would run hard and heavy on their success in fighting terrorism. The Democrats, on the other hand, are long skilled at looking a gift horse in the mouth, saddling it up, and riding it the exact opposite direction of their own goals and desires.

So, given that Osama was killed on Obama's watch, will the Democrats make political hay from bin Laden's death, or will the Republicans somehow manage to convince the Dems to once again shoot themselves in the foot?

Topics: CXO

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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