Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is Dead - Now What?

When I first heard the annoncement that US forces has found and killed Osama Bin Laden, I had mixed feelings.  My first thought was, "it's about time!"

For a few moments I was delighted that under President Obama, we had managed to do what President Bush failed to accomplish during his 2 terms in office.  Oh yes, Bush did get us into a costly and unjust war in Iraq, and did spend billions of dollars blowing up the infrastructure of 2 countries, however he failed to get the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. 

After coming to my senses, I find that though less appealing.  The main reason is, that though Bin Laden is dead, terrorism is not and will never be dead.  It's too easy and effective for small factions to give it up.  When a few guys can go through flight training and essentially cripple the economy and security of a superpower with a suicide attack carried out with box cutters, well the bottom line is pretty obvious.

The fact that Bin Laden was found in a comfortable secure compound in a wealthy suburb just a few miles from Islamabad in Pakistan is also troubling.  Obviously Pakistan or at least some folks pretty high up were not serious about bringing Bin Laden to justice.  That is one reason why the operation was done without notifying the Pakistan government.  The truth is they have been compromised sufficiently that information about such attacks would leak back to the intended target.  This means the Pakistani military is probably well infiltrated with Al Quaeda sympathizers.

Then there is the matter of "revenge" which suspect will take the shape of more terrorist attacks.  This is an unfortunate given in this case.  Since Bin Laden successfully franchised the Al Quaeda brand, there will undoubtedly be some loyalists who will hatch plots for revenge.  I would expect to see a heightened security level for the next several years, but we will love through it.   All in all, it is a tough situation.  Let Bin Laden live and get more attacks, kill him and get more attacks!

So I still have mixed emotions about this whole thing.  I was reminded about a quote from Rev. Martin Luther King:
I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Now I guess we have to find the light.  That may be more difficult that finding a terrorist mastermind.

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