A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
May 2nd, 2011
By Tom Carter
Finally, after more than a decade of hunting him, Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces. As the leader who directed the attack on America on September 11, 2001 he was responsible for the deaths of almost 3,000 people, mostly Americans but also citizens of many other countries.
That attack, the worst in history on U.S. soil, also scored a much more insidious victory against America. It forced us into an era of fear in our own country, where daily we live with the results of al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremist attacks against us. Every time an American is subjected to a humiliating physical search at an airport or elsewhere, terrorism wins another small victory. Every time an individual Muslim goes on a killing spree shouting “Allahu Akbar,” more people die and the sense of fear in our land increases.
We won a major victory when we killed bin Laden. However, we need to win more victories if we are ever to emerge from the age of acute terrorism. Those victories include finding and killing Ayman al-Zawahiri, a threat more ominous today than bin Laden himself. As more leaders of islamic terrorism emerge, we must find and kill them, too. And along the way, every lesser terrorist we can find must be dispatched to bask in the glory of Allah.
The operation to find and kill bin Laden is a good example of what we should be doing in prosecuting the War on Terror. We don’t need seemingly everlasting wars in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and we don’t need to risk the rise of new centers of islamic extremism in places like Libya, Egypt and other countries where there have been recent uprisings. Leave those dictators and their people to their own solutions, for interventions where we don’t know the potential outcomes are pure folly.
Get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop participating in the Libyan civil war. We don’t need to expend blood and treasure in places like that — places which, in the end, are irredeemable. Through intelligence, special operations actions, and the application of power from off-shore we can find, fix, and kill those who have attacked us or who plan to. That’s a far more effective way to fight terrorism at much less cost in dead and wounded soldiers and national treasure.
Lest we spend any time worrying about violations of national sovereignty involved in this kind of policy, consider that any country that harbors those who threaten the U.S. must understand that we will attack such threats in ways and at times of our choice. That will make the point that countries are better off not accommodating terrorists on their soil; as for their internal problems, they can deal with them on their own.
Liberals and conservatives alike in America, with more or less gusto, are cheering the demise of Osama bin Laden. But that’s today; as time goes on, those Americans who sympathize with the Muslim world and hate Israel will be heard from. They’ll decry our attacking on Pakistani territory, claim that bin Laden was executed rather than dying in a firefight, and criticize the decision to dispose of his remains at sea. That’s fine — we know who they are, and we’ll continue to ignore them and defend ourselves as necessary.
Given the nature of special operations, I doubt that we’ll ever know who pulled the trigger on bin Laden; for that matter, we probably won’t know the identities of any of the Americans involved. That’s as it should be because of the serious threat that would exist against them and their families. No doubt the New York Times or other media parasites will gleefully publish their names and other classified details of the operation if they get the chance. If they do, shame on them.
My suspicion is that it was never intended for bin Laden to emerge from this attack alive. Whether he died fighting or was killed after the fight was over, the result is positive. The last thing we needed was a live Osama at Guantanamo, defended by American liberals and the subject of terrorist demands for his release.
Lastly, I hope his burial at sea was no more dignified than being thrown from a helicopter in a weighted canvas bag. I doubt that even the fish and the crabs will want him.
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