America’s Unholy War

Osama Bin Laden

Today the world seems to be a different place, after a security operation by US ground troops in Pakistan ended with the death of one of the world’s most feared and hated men Osama Bin Laden. According to the latest information from the White House, the Al Qaeda leader was shot in the head, his body later on taken in Afghanistan and buried under the sea.

Behind the speculations about the death of the most notorious terrorist, one cannot but help to wonder about the consequences of his death. During a speech in the White House earlier on, President Barack Obama highlighted that the world is a safer place after bin Laden was eliminated, but experts on terrorism are already questioning that statement. The elimination of bin Laden will most probably lead to radicalization and even mobilization amongst the most extremist Islamic factions and hatred towards the West and theUSin particular will escalate.

National governments all over the world, as well as the Interpol, are already warning for highest levels of terrorist threat. British PM David Cameron has said earlier on that the UKneeds to be “particularly vigilant”. At the same time, recommendations for tightened security measures have been made. The death of Bin Laden does not necessarily equal destabilization and paralysis of the powerful terrorist network, which he has managed to establish through the years. As much he was the symbolic embodiment of the Islamist jihad, his death will not lead to the collapse of Al Qaeda andnational governments should be more cautious and prepared than ever. The death of bin Laden will have nothing

President Barack Obama

but a symbolic impact, just like the death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat had in 2004. It rekindled the sparkle of the pan-Arab sentiment, and it did not end the Palestinian aspirations for state legitimacy and unification, just like bin Laden’s death will not end Al Qaeda’s fanatic ambitions for destruction of the West and theUS in particular.

Bin Laden’s death is a logical outcome of the war on terror, which a group of neo-conservatives, lead by George Bush

II started in 2002 as a response to 9/11. Since then,Americahas extended the scope of its enemies and has deployed the murky and illegitimate concept of ‘preemptive’ war, which entailed attacks against potential, rather than real enemies. Although the administration of President Obama has been following a much more moderate line, it is too late forAmericato walk out of the unfinished business of a very ‘unholy’ war, which has already put into question its legitimacy as a world power and has lead to allegations for grief human rights violations on behalf of theUS. At the same time, the Obama administration has to be prepared to face the radicalization amongst bin Laden’s most ferocious supporters all over the world and probably, to encounter a brand new stage of its unholy war .

  1. #1 by AnnMarie Simpson on May 3, 2011 - 3:39 am

    I am determined to remain positive with a positive outlook on this!! God Bless America!! xx

  2. #2 by Michael Peters on May 3, 2011 - 9:45 am

    Good post Sylbourne. I understand what you say, but I don’t recall anyone saying the West shouldn’t have taken out Osama Bin Laden. He had to go. Pity perhaps Pakistan didn’t deal with him, seen as he was living there and there are many questions to be answered re why they didn’t seeing as they “overlooked” his newly built mansion less than a mile away from their top military HQ.

    I don’t believe the alternatives were any better.

    (1) Leave him alone, don’t hunt him down to face justice. Hardly likely for a mass murdering leader of Al Quada.
    (2) Capture him alive, put him on trial … for years.
    (3) Inprison him for life when and if found guilty? Death penalty?
    (4) Kill him. Bury him at sea and don’t release the photo evidence (for fear of raising his mythology). The option that’s been taken this week, seems the best option really. I think many will want to see photographic evidence, but I can see the argument against it. President Obama has some serious thinking to do on that one.

    Ultimately, the world has to figure out how to deal with this Islam-Western world conflict. We can’t go on warring with each other, threatening each other if we are to live long. It’s ironic. Last Thursday I finished ‘A short history of nearly everything’ by Bill Bryson. It’s a best selling book that helps the reader to understand “everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization – how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us.”

    One of the points he makes is how lucky human beings were to have evolved and to have lived on earth for as long as we have. Essentially, in the same way Dinosaurs and many other animals became extinct, the human race has a shelf-life too and when I think of this situation, the Middle East crisis etc… it does make me think that the human race will eventually extinguish itself not through natural causes but via man made methods of mass destruction. Not a pleasant thought at all, but unless serious efforts at reconcilliation, peace and understanding amongst different nations, religions and faiths, take places and succeed, the human race could be heading towards it’s ultimate man made demise.

  3. #3 by Gergana on May 3, 2011 - 12:29 pm

    Mr. Peters, interesting response to Sylbourne’s latest post. I dont think however that he condemns the operation against bin Laden as such. It was a great achievement for the US security forces and the West. What Sylbourne has in mind I think is that the death of bin Laden might lead to polarization between the West and the Islamist extremists, and new hostilities under the shield of the war on terror to follow. I agree with Sylbourne that the West needs to be more cautious and vigilant than ever, and I am willing to accept his criticism of President Obama’s statement that after the death of Osama bin Laden the world is a ‘safer place’.

  4. #4 by sylbourne on May 3, 2011 - 12:37 pm

    It is very interesting the level of emotion which has been conjured up by the death of Bin Laden.

    One to be looked at is the level of celebration in America does this contribute to making the world more dangerous?

  5. #5 by Michael Peters on May 3, 2011 - 3:29 pm

    Hello Gergana: Thanks. Just to clarify, I pretty much concur with Sylbourne’s post. My point was more aimed at those who doubt the merits and veracity of the reports coming out.

    Thus I agree that, “What Sylbourne has in mind I think is that the death of bin Laden might lead to polarization between the West and the Islamist extremists, and new hostilities under the shield of the war on terror to follow.”

    Whether the world is a safer place is a moot point really. Was it that safe before 1 May? There’s been a fear of attack – at least from Government’s and security forces. I accept there’s a greater chance of attack somewhere, sometime we won’t know when or where, but we’ve lived under that possibility for the last 10 years and as OBL took responibilty for 9/11 he had to be captured.

    Sylbourne: Yes, it has generated a lot of heat and passion … I think I’ve stimulated a lot of that with my postings over the last 24 hours! There is a chance USA celebrations may anger terrorists, but there’s nothing we can do about unhinged people who wish to kill. After all, it’s a victory – are people expecting the Americans to say nothing, not to celebrate? If the opposition score’d a “hit” against the USA they’d be jumping up and down for joy.

  6. #6 by Gergana on May 4, 2011 - 12:30 am

    Michael, thanks for the informative response. There is nothing wrong with Americans celebrating a long expected victory – it is a moment for jubilation for the West and the US in particular. What analysts and policy-makers have to focus on now is a general trend in their strategies against terrorism. I agree with David Cameron that the UK (and not just the UK) has to be more vigilant than ever. This only demonstrates the political sensibility, which the countries combating terrorism have to rest upon from now on. More fervently than ever.
    As far as the veracity and merits of the reports are concerned, there will always be doubt. When it comes to one of the most notorious people on the planet, there will always be disbelievers. Although the US government has used convincing means to confirm his death, the latter is still surrounded by mystery. Let us not forget that only in August 2010 some publications appeared that the mythical Al Qaeda leader has died eight years ago. When it comes to someone like bin Laden, who has been evading the law for more than a decade and the CIA had literary no clue where he was only a year ago, a certain level of doubt and skepticism among the public and experts is more than understandable.

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