Bin Laden’s Death

My apologies to the blog’s viewers, I’ve been sick for the past 10 days and I’ve had to take finals, grade exams, and move out at the same time. But now I’m better, done with all my grading and exams, and I’m home in southern California. I first learned about bin Laden’s killing last night when my plane touched down and after I turned on my phone. Needless to say, I was shocked because it came so unexpectedly. Experts had long argued that OBL died or was killed years ago, but now he is dead for certain (though I still think it’s important to post the photos of his body!).  I think it should be noted that his death really only carries symbolic significance and that significance goes in a number of directions. First, it is a major victor for the Obama Administration.  He did in half a term what Bush failed to do in 2 full terms. Second, OBL’s death is both a blow to the jihadi movement and a victory.  It’s a blow because its symbolic head has now been killed. But this will probably not affect the network’s abilities since it is so loosely structured, if at all structured to begin with. All reports suggest that he had long since played a minimal role in the command structure in the network. His death is also a victory for the jihadi movement. He was not taken alive and humiliated like Saddam nor did he die of kidney disease or, say, prostate cancer. He died by the barrel of those who promised to fight to the death.  For him, this is the ideal way to die. For this reason, the manner in which he died can also be seen as a victory for the jihadi movement. And I don’t buy the official reports that they stormed his residence with the order to kill and not capture him. This is mere propaganda to rob him of what many jihadists will surely consider a martyrdom. If he were to be captured, it would have been seriously humiliating and it would have demoralized those who lionized him. Furthermore, he would have served as a treasure trove in terms of intelligence had he been captured. Yet, he most likely went down fighting and the manner in which he died will inspire some, if not many. My biggest concern at this point is two fold: 1) His death will inspire many jihadists and the revenge will affect me and you; 2) Now that he’s dead, US officials and Americans will, consumed with their air of victory, once again fail to address the core issues that have promoted and instigated such militancy. Now is the time to address the root causes of terrorism.

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