We shouldn't neglect to mention the reports that along with the 78 or so humans who took part in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound this week, there was a highly trained canine on the team.
As The New York Times writes, the dog's presence "reflects the military's growing dependence on dogs in wars in which improvised explosive devices have caused two-thirds of all casualties. Dogs have proved far better than people or machines at quickly finding bombs."
The Atlantic Wire says it was probably a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois.
And The Guardian says that "according to a series of reports, the so far unidentified canine was lowered into the compound from a helicopter while strapped to a human member of the team. It was most likely needed to check for hidden explosives, or perhaps to seek Bin Laden if the house contained a secret hiding place."
Time adds that dogs "often play a significant role in military operations as they can crawl into small spaces, find enemy soldiers and report back unnoticed with TV footage from a camera attached to their heads."
Our friend Rebecca Frankel, deputy managing editor at ForeignPolicy.com, writes a weekly war-dog feature at The Best Defense blog.
On NPR.org's opinion page, she says "there should be little reason to speculate about why there was a dog involved: Man's best friend is a pretty fearsome warrior."
There's a great photo gallery of war dogs over at ForeignPolicy.com. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.