National News

Bin Laden's death elicits 'reserved celebration' in NC

Posted May 2, 2011 11:21 a.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2011 4:02 p.m. EDT

— Politicians, military leaders and others across North Carolina expressed satisfaction Monday that the U.S. had tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

They also expressed reservations about celebrating too much, knowing al-Qaida would likely plot more attacks to avenge the death of their longtime leader.

"You can sing 'Ding, dong, the witch is dead,' but it’s not totally good news unless you wait a week or two and hear there’s no retaliation on any U.S. personnel or U.S. embassies," said Lorrie Budden, a military wife and mother in Fayetteville.

Thirteenth District Congressman Brad Miller agreed that the U.S. needs to be reserved in expressing jubilation at bin Laden's death.

"I think we should avoid trying to gloat. I think that might damage our relationships in that part of the world," Miller said "I think the celebrations are understandable, and I think most Americans, whether they are in the streets or not, are celebrating."

Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, the commander of the North Carolina National Guard, characterized his troops emotions as "reserved celebration."

Since 9/11, more than 14,000 members of the N.C. National Guard have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight terrorism, said Lusk, who has served two tours of duty in Iraq.

"This is a seminal moment, something we all need to recognize as historic," he said. "But we also know this is far from over."

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr called the search for bin Laden "the greatest manhunt ever undertaken by American forces." However, he said in a statement that the terrorist leader's followers still pose a "dire threat" to the U.S.

"This is a major development in our fight against terrorism and proves our resolve to hold accountable those who harm American citizens," Burr said.

Army Spc. Bob Delpha, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, said he hopes bin Laden's death will accelerate the timetable for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We’re all psyched. It’s great that we got him," Delpha said. "Hopefully, a lot of this issue that’s going on right now stops, and we can bring our troops home."

Budden said she worries that al-Qaida will escalate terrorist attacks now.

"I have a feeling that the Taliban and al-Qaida are going to be a little miffed because Osama’s been killed. They’re going to make a martyr out of him, and I have a feeling we’re going to be there a bit longer," she said.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan praised the work of U.S. Special Forces in killing a man she called a "mass murderer," but she said the effort to defeat terrorism isn't over with his death.

"The mission is still to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida," said Hagan, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee panel on emerging threats. "We want to make sure that Afghanistan is never a safe haven for terrorists like it was before."

Seventh District Congressman Mike McIntyre said in a statement that bin Laden's death "is a tribute to the persistence and patience of our national security team and in particular our Special Operations Forces."

"It is a tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11, it is a commitment to our nation's pursuit of justice, it is a reminder to all those who seek to harm us that we will always be vigilant, and it is a signal of continued commitment to freedom around the world," McIntyre said.

Second District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers echoed President Barack Obama, saying in a statement that "justice has been served."

"Osama bin Laden will never again harm another innocent victim of his violent ideology," Ellmers said. "As we celebrate this victory for freedom over terror, we must remain vigilant and never let down our guard, even as it has suffered a crushing defeat."

Sixth District Congressman Larry Kissell said the death "marks a great step in our war on terror."

"Those who threaten the life and freedom of American citizens, both here and across the globe, will be found and brought to justice," Kissell said in a statement.

Fourth District Congressman David Price said that the U.S. has "achieved a measure of justice."

"It's no question this is a decisive blow to al-Qaida, a long delayed justice, bringing justice to Osama bin Laden," Price said. "But it's also an organization that has a lot of imitators. It has the potential to metastasize."

First District Congressman G.K. Butterfield expressed relief that no American lives were lost in the mission to capture bin Laden.

“While America is certainly safer today, we still face the threat of al-Qaida and must remain alert and vigilant," Butterfield said in a statement.