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ThinkFast: May 2, 2011

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"ThinkFast: May 2, 2011"

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President Obama authorized the development of a plan for the U.S. to bomb Osama bin Laden’s compound in March, but later called it off because the raid would have likely inflicted many civilian causalities and destroyed Bin Laden’s body, thus eviscerating proof Obama needed to ensure the world he had killed the terrorist leader.

The body of Bin Laden will be handled “in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition,” according to a White House official. In Islam, bodies must be buried within 24 hours, and U.S. officials confirmed that Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea. Handling the body according to custom is “something we take very seriously,” the official said.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney congratulated President Obama on Osama bin Laden’s death, calling it “a victory for the United States and a tremendous achievement.” President Bush joined Cheney in congratulating Obama and the U.S. forces, marking the moment as a “momentous achievement” that deserves “our everlasting gratitude.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reiterated calls for quicker pullout of American troops from Afghanistan, citing Osama bin Laden’s death near the Pakistani capital as proof that “the war on terror is not in Afghanistan.” Other Afghan politicians said “the Americans have achieved their goal” in bin Laden’s death and thus “have no reason to stay.”

The Taliban vowed terror attacks in revenge for the death of Bin Laden. “We will do it by carrying out attacks in Pakistan and America,” Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said. There was a bomb attack at a Pakistani mosque near the site of Bin Laden’s killing, although it was unclear whether the attack was committed in response to the killing of the terror leader.

Stocks and futures both gained upon the announcement of bin Laden’s death, while the dollar also snapped a nine-day slump and oil prices dropped to a two-week low. “This is a positive development in the campaign against terrorism,” said one market strategist. “In the last 10 years, bin Laden’s presence has been a serious threat to global stability.”

Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the nation’s Arab American capital of Dearborn, Michigan, celebrated upon hearing the news of Bin Laden’s death. “The world is definitely a better place without the patron of all terrorists,” said Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, the head of the city’s largest mosque.

Yesterday, Sohaib Athar, a 33-year-old computer programmer who lives in Abbottabad, Pakistan, became, in his own words, “the guy who live-blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.” Throughout the night, Athar (@ReallyVirtual) tweeted about the unusual events unfolding in his city with messages like, “Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter,” not realizing until much later what had occurred.

And finally: Revelers who descended on the plaza in front of the White House late last night to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden were joined by several celebrities, including Friends star David Arquette, several Captain Americas, and Spider Man, who could be seen climbing the trees in front of the executive mansion.

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The WonkLine: May 2, 2011 ›

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