The complexities of a dead Osama Bin-Laden

The U.S. government has announced that Osama Bin-Laden has been killed (about a week ago).

On the one hand …

It is a great victory for the United States … morale is undoubtedly high that a man on the run for the better part of 10 years finally got caught up to.  Morale among Bin-Laden’s supporters is undoubtedly low … they are starting to use children as suicide bombers … that’s generally a sign that things have gotten pretty bad.

I takes a very dedicated and focused person to lead a group like Bin-Laden did … statistically, it is unlikely that his next in command will be able to lead as he has … that likely means that his followers will be more likely to strike out … and while some of these will likely hit their mark, and it will go on for some time, this may see a turning of a corner.  Certainly this news will inspire some to join Bin-Laden’s cause … but others will feel a sense of defeat, and will go home.

Like Hitler, and unlike a Mengele, he did not ultimately die quietly in retirement … he was either killed by an American soldier, or took his own life to avoid capture.

On the other hand …

Anyone with the will and the means has been given a play book on how to attack the United States … take advantage of the freedoms, and cause the government to react in such a way to become the pariah of the world and cause economic chaos.  I can barely remember the United States of ten years ago … I think it was happier … I know it was more prosperous.  It was one hell of a lot more tolerant.

Then there is the whole Pakistan side of things …

Who in Pakistan’s government, if anyone, knew that the U.S.A.’s Public Enemy #1 was living in a secluded home in a nice neighborhood?  Keep in mind:  when we invaded Afghanistan, W basically swore a blood oath that anyone harboring terrorists was as guilty as the terrorists themselves.  NATO sent troops to Afghanistan in that very claim, when the mutual defense clause was invoked for the first time ever.  Afghanistan was one thing … there were lots of places to hide, but ultimately there was next to no military presence aside from some guerillas … guerillas that eventually fought off the USSR, but are not in a position to do the same to the USA, because the USA is not out to conquer the country.  Pakistan is a known possessor of nuclear weapons.  They have a significant army that is routinely battle tested against India.  If the United States learns that Pakistan’s government was involved in hiding them, the US may find itself in a very difficult position of having to condone Pakistan, after having racked up an impressive kill ratio in Afghanistan. Can the world tolerate a nation with 50-100 nuclear weapons in their stockpile, that also has a very cozy relationship with Al-Queda, if such a relationship exists?  That’s a big question that has no easy solution.

Hopefully … and I do hope … that this will be an opportunity to take a new direction.

Time to turn a new page, and see what part of the story continues, and what new parts of the story develop.

edit: here is an interesting follow up article.


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