After ordering the raid the killed al Qaeda's leader, the commander in chief gets to start over
Abroad, and possibly at home as well, the killing of Osama bin Laden offers President Obama the rarest of political gifts: the opportunity for a fresh start.
This week's stunning raid doesn't guarantee Obama reelection; judgments about his impact on the economy will have more influence there. Nor does the mission end the threat of Islamic radicalism.
But in both domestic and foreign arenas, the triumph could offer Obama chances to turn the page. Those options begin in Pakistan. The discovery that bin Laden was living so close to the heart of the military establishment there immediately makes it more difficult for Islamabad to sustain its double game of extending one hand to the U.S. while offering the other to radicals.
With many in Congress already clamoring to cut off aid, Pakistan's troubled leadership faces the same sort of "with us or against us" choice that President Bush offered to then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf after the September 11 attacks. After the Abbottabad raid, Congress is less likely to sustain Pakistan's $3 billion annual assistance budget unless its leaders move more unequivocally against the terrorist networks operating within its borders. "It is a question of whether Pakistan sees this as an opportunity--that this really creates an opportunity to strike a decisive blow" against the terrorists, said one senior administration official who asked for anonymity while discussing internal deliberations.