Imagine if Russia, when it was still the Communist U.S.S.R., had sent a couple of helicopters with commando teams into U.S. territory to capture or execute a couple of U.S. sponsored "terrorists." That is, violent anti-communist militarists, which the U.S. harbored and trained on a regular basis during the Cold War. That would have been considered an illegal act of war by the U.S. It probably would have started World War III. The communists, of course, trained their own "cadre" of criminally violent political opperatives.
Symmetry, who framed thy unlawful impertinence? But even if the U.S. raid on Pakistan was illegal under international law, I see no reason to weep for Osama Bin Laden. He was a practitioner of total war, where nothing, not even the lives of women and children, was sacred. I note that total war addicts are not rare in this world. They included U.S. illuminaries such as former Presidents Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. If one war criminal kills an opposing war criminal, I don't see much bad in that.
Alas, Pakistan is not a symmetric power versus the U.S. It is a semi-dependent state in the U.S.A.'s global empire. They did not attempt to defend Osama. They would probably have captured him and sent him to the U.S. for trial if asked. The problem for the Obama administration was not that Pakistan could not be relied on. We long ago sorted out who we can and cannot rely upon to betray Pakistan if the U.S. asks. The problem was Osama Bin Laden might have decided to talk. Imagine the embarrassment for oh so many powerful families and institutions if Osama testified at his own trial, or even in depositions made available to the public.
It is arguable that Osama won before he died. How do you defeat an empire like the former U.S.S.R. or the U.S.A. if you can only lead a bunch of impoverished, poorly armed citizen soldiers? The answer was never simply to force an imperialist power to withdraw its military from the isolated failed state known as Afghanistan. The U.S.S.R. collapsed because its culture and economy collapsed. Its military was still strong when the empire crumbled. In fact, spending too much on the military and not taking care of ordinary citizens was one of the causes of the collapse of communism.
Corporate security state spokespeople like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have already made it clear that the U.S. ruling class intends to make the same mistake the U.S.S.R.'s rulers made. They are not cutting military spending now that Iraq is pacified and Osama is dead. They are not cutting back on internal security measures that feed the corporate security apparatus and starve schools, hospitals, workers and even the managerial class.
In four or five years no one in their right mind will be willing to loan the U.S. government any more money. Osama may have been a madman when it came to religion, but he grew up in the same economic circumstances of a Kennedy or a Bush. He understood business and economics. He understood bankruptcy. A bankrupt company is a powerless company, and a bankrupt nation is a powerless nation. A thousand bases scattered around the world won't be able to keep the locals in line once the money is coming from China, India, or Europe. The rulers of the British Empire learned that lesson after World War II. They should have learned it after World War I, but the British were led by obtuse people from an inbred ruling class.