We "Got Him". But What Does It Mean?

Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, 10 years after the September 11th attacks, has been killed and his body buried at sea.  A team of Navy SEALs attacked a compound in the city Abbottabad, an hour north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, where bin Laden had been hiding 1/3 of a mile from the Pakistani Army military academy.  According to recent news reports, bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot.  President Obama, quoted in a NYT article, called it "a good day for America."  But what does it really mean that Osama bin Laden has been killed?

The talk that's coming from former Bush administration officials about the "importance" of torture right now is disturbing.  Apparently without Guantanamo Bay, waterboarding, and torture in secret Eastern European prisons, the CIA would never have been able to find the courier that lead them to bin Laden.  I never advocate the killing of anyone, for any reason, regardless of what they've done.  Despite this position, I understand why the US government would kill bin Laden as opposed to taking him hostage and putting him on trial.  But advocating torture?  Let's be honest about what's going on here.  Yes, Navy SEALs killed the man responsible for one of the most notable terrorist attacks in US history.  Yes, bin Laden killed thousands of innocent civilians.  But it's also been years since he was an active or effective leader for al-Qaida.  Torture helped the US military kill an ineffective figurehead 10 years after the fact.  If that's all that torture can get us, I think it would be better to practice respect for basic human rights.  If we abandon human rights in favor of torture so quickly when tested by terrorism, exactly who has won?