The United States has been at war with radical Islamic terror since shortly after September 11, 2001. Radical Islamic terror is a difficult threat to assess because it involves an international terrorist network, but the U.S. has enjoyed two important victories in the deaths of international terrorist leaders. U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden on President Barack Obama’s watch and they killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on President Donald Trump’s watch.
Obama and Trump were at rather similar places in their presidency for these seminal events in the war on terror. Each was running for re-election after his party had lost the House of Representatives in the previous election (2010 and 2018). Yet Obama chose to politicize the victory and to de-emphasize the continuing terror threat, while Trump has so far continued to fight radical Islamic terror, knowing the threat is not likely to die with one charismatic leader.
On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. This was a very significant victory. After all, bin Laden was the international force behind al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind the attacks on September 11, 2001. Obama was right to celebrate and it does speak well of him that U.S. troops accomplished this victory on his watch.