Osama Bin Laden’s death by U.S. forces (instead of being by natural causes in some remote cave) is a major turning point.
Obviously having OBL killed and his body captured on your watch is a big deal for the Obama Administration, which hasn’t much to crow about for a broad base of Americans who don’t agree with his policies to support or point to as a success. Like it or not, he will benefit just as much as Reagan benefited from the successful Grenada invasion in 1983, a year before his re-election. Had this happened under Bush II it would have been just as important to him and his administration and the Republican Party. Sorry, but “birtherism” or “gradeism” or “bookism” or “he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism” all this trivial crap, is pretty much done and over with now. There’s plenty of things to campaign against Obama, but not his legitimacy in office. We need to find real issues which will be effective in defining an opposition.
Second, there’s no other terrorist of bin Laden’s stature or symbolism who can simply “rise up” and take his place. He was important source not just of leadership but also money from his family construction fortune. Even before his death the Al Qaeda network as it existed on 9-11 was already badly degraded, many of its operatives killed or captured and many such groups which still exist are basically “franchises” inspired by him rather than controlled by him. They can be dealt with and dealt with regionally or in cooperation with other countries.
Third, OBL’s death at the hands of U.S forces is an important psychological marker for many Americans. If he had died eluding capture, he basically would have gotten away with the deaths of over 4,000 of their fellow countrymen without some sort of retaliation at him directly and that would been seen as a defeat in the minds of many given the amount of money and the number of people killed trying to capture him. Hopefully this takes away the fear which has affected the minds of Americans since 9-11 and hopefully it will lead to more and more people wondering why the hell they’re continuously being felt up at the airport now that OBL is dead.
Fourth, the argument which is going to be made over and over again from now through the upcoming campaign is “The War on Terrorism Is Not Over”. This must be made the crux of the upcoming debate. This war cannot be an open ended commitment. You cannot defeat nor wage war against a tactic. But you can kill the person who is responsible for 9-11 and now he’s dead. So let us declare victory and end this thing. There’s always going to be terrorists. You don’t need to spend nearly $900 billion a year to defend against them. Any attempt to continue this war is simply a way to continuously feed the military-industrial complex and the empire money it doesn’t need to handle the problem of defending against terrorism, which existed long before 9-11. Sure you need to stay vigilant, but not to the point of creating a police state which kind of defeats the purpose. And changing our foreign policy will do wonders in taking what ever is left of any terrorist beef against us, especially if the end result is going to eventual death at some point (let alone trying to recreate the Caliphate, if that was even at all possible. If bin Laden got away with it, the opposite might have happened). Oh and on top of all of it is the simple fact that we can’t afford it. To continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq long well after the person largely responsible for them taking place is deceased is irresponsible and financially bankrupt. (No doubt some Afghani is probably saying right now: “Okay, you got your man. Now go home and leave us in peace.”) Come Home America after declaring victory is going to sound awfully attractive now that OBL is dead. We’ll see who wants to take the side of “lets continue the war indefinitely.” The U.S. has enough of “War Against (insert unwinnable War here)”. This will be good stand for a candidate in 2012 to take.
It’s been 10 years since 9-11 and in those 10 years the country had to live with the not only the tragedy but also the shame of how it happened to those innocent of the machinations of U.S. foreign policy or one man’s twisted madness in response to it. We can break with the past and finally put it behind us for good to get our own house in order instead continuing to live in fear and chained to a foreign and economic policy which only feeds off of it. Thankfully OBL’s death can allow us to do so.
Look at all the people cheering outside the White House and in Times Square. We haven’t seen this since the end of World War II. Maybe the people think this war over as well…..