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Bin Laden Dead -- Obama Speech TRANSCRIPT

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We have finally found Bin Laden and are in possession of his body.

Here is the transcript of President Obama's statement:

"Good Evening. Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world, that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden the leader of Al Qaeda and a terrorist who was responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

It was nearly ten years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky. The twin towers collapsing to the ground. Black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon. The wreckage of flight 93 in Shanksville, PA where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images were those unseed by the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September, 11, 2001 in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other and our love of community and country. On that day no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American familiy. We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.

We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama Bin Laden which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against Al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends and our allies.

Over the last ten years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counter-terrorism professionals we've made great strides in that effort. We've disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given Al Qaeda and Bin Laden save haven and support. And around the globe we have worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of Al Qaeda terrorists including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama Bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile Al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaiking work by the intelligence community I was briefed on a possible lead to Bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan.

And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight they killed Osama Bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades Bin Laden has been Al Qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of Bin Laden marks the most signifcant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat Al Qaeda.

Yet, his death does not mark the end of our effort. There is no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United State is not and never will be at war with Islam. I have made clear just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11 that our war is not against Islam because bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, Al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of muslims in many countries included our own.

So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. Over the years I have repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where Bin Laden was. That is what we have done. But it's important to note that our counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to Bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, Bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.
They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations and going forward it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens . After nearly ten years of service, struggle and sacrifice we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, I have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member who has been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country we will never tolerate our security being threatened nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.

We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda's terror -- Justice has been done.

Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counter-terrorism professionals who have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work nor know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice. We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation for they exemplify the professinalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country and they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burdern since that September day.

Finally, let me say to those families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss nor waivered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has at times frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.

Whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for equality for all our citizens,
our commitment to stand up for our values abroad and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do this things not just because of wealth or power but because of who we are - one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you and may God bless the United State of America.

Here is the location of the operation:

http://maps.google.com/maps/place?ftid=0x38de3111557ac517:0x6e59a635b12e952c&q=Abbott%C4%81bad,+Khyber+Pakhtunkhwa,+Pakistan&hl=en&sll=34.146667,73.216389&sspn=0.073891,0.128059&ie=UTF8&ll=34.20371,73.139076&spn=0,0&z=13

As some experts surmised, the conventional wisdom that Bin Laden was hiding in caves in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan was dead wrong. Bin Laden was in a compound 100km from Islamabad.

Good Riddance!

Note - I have transcribed the entire speech myself.

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