I would like to mention that screening those who were at Ground Zero during the September 11 attacks as terrorists a stupid and cruel witch hunt. They are now subjected to a background check in order to continue receiving free care for 9/11 related health problems. This may have made sense two or three years after the fact. Ten years later is not only a waste of time and effort, it is a slap in the face to surviving heroes and witnesses.
I have been a lazy writer lately, and so this article isn’t about the above. It’s about Osama Bin Laden’s death. Let me state before I get started that this is a huge victory for the United States. Scratch that it’s a huge victory for the entire world. But I have a few issues that no one else seems to be concerned about.
First of all, terrorism is all about symbolism and idealism. History has shown us over and over again that you cannot kill an ideal with violence. Doing so only deepens beliefs, and also generates sympathy for the opposing cause. Al Qaeda members swear loyalty not to al Qaeda, not to Allah, but to Bin Laden himself. Therefore, symbolically, killing OBL is a major blow to al Qaeda’s morale. One of the few things we’ve done right on this front. Better late than never, I guess.
However, the al Qaeda network still exists. Motivated by revenge, they will likely move the time table up on currently planned attacks. The Department of Homeland Security is already anticipating this. A larger problem than the attacks themselves is that the US may not even bear the worst of the retaliation, which will generate a lot of anger against the US. Also, there’s no telling how many al Qaeda sympathizers have not gotten involved. Now that Bin Laden has become a martyr for his own cause, we should expect a huge influx of new recruits to his cause.
This all overlaps into my second point, which is that violence begets violence. OBL had a massive personal fortune, which he used to fund terror around the globe. How many of his (at least) seventeen children will use their inheritance to do the same? How long before one of them takes over the al Qaeda network and we’re in the same boat we were in yesterday, except that now it’s personal on top of ideological? How much future bloodshed could have been avoided if Osama had been captured alive and given a trial, even if it was a farce of a trial like Saddam Hussein’s?
Lastly, why did the president have to issue a speech laced with so much Christian propaganda? I understand and accept the fact that he is a Christian, that’s not the point. Why antagonize the al Qaeda, who have declared Jihad on anything that is not radical Islam, especially Christianity and Judaism? It’s almost like he was daring them to retaliate. The entire war on terror has been a symbolic failure, and President Obama’s remarks are just another spectacular example.
To summarize: I hate that we had to use violence to achieve this victory, but it was needed (both the victory and the symbolism behind it). I’m certain that al Qaeda will retaliate, but after the initial revenge, they will be disorganized and hopefully be taken apart by the US and its allies before they can recover and regroup. And, if we’re lucky, and wise enough to learn from our actions, we will be one step closer to world peace.