Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden Dead: It's a Milestone

It looks like Osama bin Laden is, in fact, dead. President Obama said so: and he seems to have pretty good evidence to back up the claim.

That does not, in my opinion, mean that the war on terror is over and everything will be peachy-keen from now on.

There is, I think, little reason to believe that Osama bin Laden has taken a central role in planning terrorist activities for the last few years - although that's possible.

The End of the War on Terror? Not Hardly

I think there's even less reason to believe that with the death of bin Laden the various Al Qaeda affiliates, the Taliban, Al Shabaab, the folks who run (northern) Sudan, and all the rest will act like the followers of Thulsa Doom in Conan. There will not, in my opinion, be a magical moment when these dedicated folks see the error of their ways and toss candles into a pool.

In my opinion, the idea that the wicked, wicked west is against Islam, and that Islam is all about burqas, is too firmly set in the minds of too many folks.

On the other hand, I don't think that Osama bin Laden's death is a tragic misuse of resources that could have been used to protect alpine Milk-vetch, restart the Keep America Beautiful campaign, or whatever.

On the whole, I would rather that a person who does what Osama bin Laden did could be arrested, held for trial, and prevented from harming more people - by an orderly legal process with safeguards for victims, as well as for those who are wrongly accused.

We don't have anything like that arrangement. Not now, not beyond a few national systems like the one we've got here in the United States. I've discussed the problem of what to do about people who won't play well with others in another blog:
"...I think that, someday, maybe, there will be an 'international authority with the necessary competence and power' to simply arrest someone like the Libyan colonel. (Catechism [of the Catholic Church], 2308)

"Until we have something like Tennyson's 'Parliament of man, the Federation of the world,' we'll have to make do with the United Nations. Or whatever's cobbled together after that...."
(A Catholic Citizen in America (March 22, 2011)

What I Think

Osama bin Laden's death will, I'm pretty sure, be used by Al Qaeda and others in an effort to whip up hatred toward America - and anybody else they don't approve of. He'll almost certainly be called a martyr. Here's what I think of the current situation, briefly:
  • Was it right to hunt for Osama bin Laden?
    • Interesting ethical issues notwithstanding, yes
    • America didn't have much choice, in my opinion
      • Not hunting down bin Laden would have indicated that killing thousands of Americans was acceptable
  • Will bin Laden's death end the war on terror?
    • No
Finally, excerpts from tonight's news:
"Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden dead, Obama says"
Edition: U.S., Reuters (May 2, 2011 (12:00am EDT))

"Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan and his body was recovered, President Barack Obama announced Sunday.

" 'Justice has been done,' Obama said in a dramatic, late-night White House speech announcing the death of the elusive mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the New York and Washington.

"Obama said U.S. forces led the operation that killed bin Laden. No Americans were killed in the operation and they took care to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

" 'The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of men, women and children,' Obama said...."
"Obama announces Osama bin Laden killed by U.S."
Michael A. Memoli and Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times (May 1, 2011)

"Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, was killed in Pakistan as the result of a U.S. military operation, President Obama announced to the nation Sunday night.

"The historic revelation comes about four months before the 10th anniversary of the devastating Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which were executed by the Al Qaeda network helmed by Bin Laden and prompted the start of a war on terror that has dominated U.S. foreign policy.

"Bin Laden, 54, was a member of a wealthy Saudi family and has been on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives List since 1999...."
"Usama Bin Laden Is Dead, Sources Confirm" (May 1, 2011)

"Usama bin Laden is dead, putting an end to the worldwide manhunt that began nearly a decade ago on Sept. 11, 2001. The architect of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil was killed a week ago inside Pakistan by a U.S. bomb.

"President Obama announced the stunning development during an address to the nation late Sunday night from the White House.

" 'Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Usama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda.'

"The U.S. had been waiting for the results of a DNA test to confirm his identity before going public. Sources said the vice president informed congressional leaders late Sunday night that the world's most wanted man had indeed been killed...."
"CIA operation kills Osama bin Laden in Pakistan"
Los Angeles Times (May 1, 2011)

"A CIA-led operation has killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and recovered his body after a tortuous decadelong hunt for the elusive militant leader who commanded the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. government officials said Sunday night.

"CIA Director Leon Panetta called key members of Congress late Sunday to describe the killing of the Al Qaeda leader, and President Obama is expected to make the announcement on national TV.

"The U.S. and allied countries invaded Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 attacks because the Taliban government there was sheltering Bin Laden. The Taliban were ousted from power, but the Al Qaeda leader was not captured. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan ever since...."
"Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden dead - Obama"
US & Canada, BBC News (May 1, 2011)

"Al-Qaeda founder and leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed by US forces, President Barack Obama has said.

"The al-Qaeda leader was killed in a ground operation based on US intelligence, the first lead for which emerged last August.

"Mr Obama said after 'a firefight' US forces took possession of his body.

"Bin Laden was accused of being behind a number of atrocities, including the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001...."
Somewhat-related posts:
In the news:


student from radiant info school said...

Obama has done great job. congratulate Obama well done. now peace can be certified in the world
towards for peaceful world

Shobi said...

It’s glad to see good information being convey. Its a very nice written, and i really like these blog. Thanks for the info.

Brian H. Gill said...


Thank you. I try to give "good information," both in the sense of accuracy and - when possible - being optimistic.

Brian H. Gill said...

ruvini ahmed BSc , M.Phil (university of peradeniya ),

I agree, to the extent that I think President Obama made a good decision.

As for progress toward a "peaceful world" - I think bringing a small measure of justice to the author of attacks including the 9/11 event is one step in that direction.

I also think it is extremely unlikely that folks who believe God tells them to kill others will change their minds. Not soon, not easily.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.