Monday, May 2, 2011

Now that Bin Laden is dead....

As everyone knows, Osama Bin Laden was killed by United State's Navy Seals yesterday in Pakistan. I read that he was staying in a multi-million dollar mansion, which was attacked by the US forces. If the video I just watched of this actual residence is genuine, I don't think the word mansion is appropriate. However, he was clearly not killed in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan.

But we sort of knew he was hiding in Pakistan for a while now. Or at least we thought. From my understanding of this mission, the CIA, with help from God only knows, got a tip OBL was staying in this compound. Or maybe they knew he was going to be soon staying there. Either way, this compound became the focus point for a massive gathering of intelligence.

An operation was planned by the Joint Special Operations Command (likely). A group of highly trained US Navy Seals must have practiced this operation on a mock-up a number of times. Then they actually went in and killed him. I hear they took his body with them.

Well done all around. Osama Bin Laden is dead. The most expensive manhunt in human history is now over. We got the bad guy. And we got to kill him. According to the news, it was a US bullet fired by a US Navy Seal that killed OBL.

I am left asking an obvious question: what does the death of Osama Bin Laden change in terms of the United States? Are the Taliban suddenly going to lay down arms in Afghanistan and play nice? No. Are gas prices going to plummet below $3.00 a gallon? No. Is the US economy going to suddenly recover? No. Will you no longer have to take off your shoes before boarding an airplane? No. Is Al-Qaeda going to fold and end global Jihad? No.

I think it's great that we finally got OBL, but I don't see the need or wisdom behind such a massive celebration. I think it's misplaced. Many experts believe that OBL had little day to day operational control over Al-Qaeda. This terrorist organization is de-centralized. Small cells around the world are only joined by a common purpose, terrorism. We cut off the head of but one of a dozen or more snakes.

Obviously Al-Qaeda has a propaganda problem since they long claimed OBL was protected by Allah, thus his continued elusiveness from the US. I can't wait to see the spin on this one. But I think Bin Laden might be more dangerous dead than alive. It will be spun that OBL died as a martyr in Jihad against the great infidel, The United States. Who will join him? I am sure the line will be long.

I am sure there is going to be an upswing in global terrorists operations. Retaliation and revenge are two very compelling sources of motivation. I am no terrorism expert, thus cannot predict what's to come. But if another operation of the scope of 9/11 happens, I won't be surprised. I want to think our counter-intelligence agencies can prevent another 9/11. But I just don't know. I was stunned by what happened on 9/11. The ease in which that was pulled off was truly unbelievable.

I imagine family members of people lost on 9/11 feel some sort of vindication. People were chanting USA USA USA from the sidewalk in front of the White House. But what really are we celebrating? A man is dead. Ok, the figurehead of a violent anti-US terrorist organization is dead. One of the men behind 9/11 is dead.

I was as pissed off as any blue-blooded American on 9/11. But I immediately asked the question, "why?" It was on 9/11 that I began to really study and attempt to learn geopolitics. I had to know from where such hatred came. I had already studied Islam in college, thus I knew it wasn't a religious issue. Islam, like all formal religions, preaches peace and humility.

President George W. Bush claimed the US was attacked by people that hated American freedoms. I didn't buy it. But that claim certainly was a rallying cry that appealed country wide. But that allegation isn't any truer now than it was then.

Over time I came up with reasons why 9/11 happened. I won't share them because they are very personal opinions that are wholly my own. And while I would never condone the horrific events that occurred on that September morning, I began to understand where the hatred came from.

Osama Bin Laden was the lightning rod for the group responsible for 9/11, Al-Qaeda. Now that he is dead, does anti-American dogma disappear? Probably not. None of us really knows the state of Al-Qaeda. I am glad intelligence agencies are working non-stop to prevent further attacks. Just because OBL is sleeping with the fishes (literally) doesn't mean this is all over.

If killing Bin Laden was just, then justice was served. But I cannot bring myself to celebrate the death of another human. It's not that I don't despise the man and everything he stands for, but I don't see the need to suddenly feel patriotic because he's dead. I was just as American on Friday as I am today. And will be tomorrow.

What I fear is that, in death, Bin Laden will be much stronger and influential than he ever was alive. He's now an even bigger symbol for anti-American animus. He arguably died for his cause. And a lot of people believe his cause was just. This can be very dangerous.

To us, Osama Bin Laden was an evil terrorist, but to others he was a defender of Islam trying to rid the holy land of infidels, or non-Muslims. Thus it's easy to see how the man might be praised in certain populations, while hunted by others.

And we got him. But where do we go from here?

The absolute worse thing that could happen would be the politicization of Bin Laden's death. We don't need members of the American government on television saying "yeah, we got him and good riddance!" By rallying around this event, we only maximize the potential negative effect it could have. If we increase his significance, it could simply work against us.

The terrorists and those that want to remove the United States from the map, probably already regard Bin Laden greatly. They don't need us to justify their praise. Bin Laden was a man. Nothing more. Nothing less. His death was arguably warranted and thus just, but we need not lose the forest for the trees.

As a country, we still have a lot of work to do both home and abroad. Now is not the time to get sidetracked because the most infamous villain in US history has been served some cold, hard American-style justice.

The real enemy is American hatred. Eradicate it and the terrorists go with it.

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