Responses to Osama bin Laden’s Death

| 5/2/2011 1:21:29 PM


The news of Osama bin Laden’s death came as a surprise to most people around the world. And while there are still many questions to be answered, we have found interesting takes from those we turn to at times like these. Here are just a few.

UPDATED: 5/6/11: Al Qaeda has confirmed the death of bin Laden, according to National Post, and “vowed revenge on the United States and its allies, including Pakistan.” Not too surprising . . . Here is just a little bit more taken from an Islamist Internet forum: “It will remain, with permission from God Almighty, a curse that hunts the Americans and their collaborators and chase them outside and inside their country.”

 UPDATED: 5/5/11: Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch looks at bin Laden’s legacy: a changed America, not a changed Middle East.

It was our misfortune and Osama bin Laden’s good luck that Washington’s dreams were not those of a global policeman intent on bringing a criminal operation to justice, but of an imperial power whose leaders wanted to lock the oil heartlands of the planet into a Pax Americana for decades to come.  So if you’re writing bin Laden's obituary right now, describe him as a wizard who used the 9/11 attacks to magnify his meager powers many times over.

After all, while he only had the ability to launch major operations every couple of years, Washington -- with almost unlimited amounts of money, weapons, and troops at its command -- was capable of launching operations every day.  In a sense, after 9/11, Bin Laden commanded Washington by taking possession of its deepest fears and desires, the way a bot takes over a computer, and turning them to his own ends.

UPDATED: 5/5/11: Steve Chapman, writing for Reason, has this to say:

Responding to attacks or perceived threats with irresistible force is America's strength—as the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and bin Laden learned. Our weakness is what comes after: reconstructing defeated countries as stable, democratic states.

It's a much tougher undertaking, requiring far more money, knowledge, and patience than Americans can muster. We rouse ourselves to ambitious tasks when adversaries challenge us. But as soon as we've taken one down, we lose interest.

UPDATED: 5/4/11: Christopher Hayes at The Nation looks at how the term “bad guys” worked itself into our national conversation following 9/11. Using the term, Hayes argues, is a rejection of mature thought and an acceptance of a childlike view of the world. He hopes the death of bin Laden will allow us to “return to the world as our adult eyes see it, shot through with suffering and complexity.”

steve eatenson
5/18/2011 10:38:05 AM

When we do anything but feel grave sadness over the loss of any life we move backwards or stay stuck in our quest for greater spiritual growth and awareness. Whenever possible, dangerous beings who hurt others reasonably require containment so they can no longer speread their pain. Every effort should be taken by us all to avoid acts that cause further pain and suffering in the world. The least restrictive alternative is a good measure when choices are to be made regarding others behavior. Death of another is always the most restrictive alternative. We should never justify our own actions by the poor choices of others.

5/13/2011 10:12:08 PM

Rodeen, I greatly appreciate your prayers. I cannot remember the thread myself but I must have mentioned my health situation. I would like to say you are a worthy opponent but I don't consider us opponents. Just folk with a slightly and life appreciative different view. You have provided lots of insight and thought provocation. For that I Thank You. Hope to keep "doing battle." Be well.

5/5/2011 1:30:18 PM

I tried to catch you in another thread Occum but you gave up on it. How you feeling? Ill be praying for you rather you like it or not. Have you read Unbroken yet? Sounds like an amazing story.

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