Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Responses to bin-Laden's Death

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock for the last couple days, you'll know that U.S. Navy SEALs staged a raid on a heavily fortified Pakistan compound and killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda. His death is definitely a good thing, but the way the media is talking about his death may be sending the wrong message. When President Obama gave his speech announcing bin Laden's assassination, he was careful to avoid putting the focus on the terrorist leader himself, instead focusing on how this brings closure to 9/11 victims, yet is only a small drop in the bucket compared to what has to be done to stabilize Afghanistan and deal with fundamentalist muslim terror groups, including al-Qaeda.

Depending on the news source you watch, however, you don't necessarily get that same message. Some news sources, such as CNN, are trying to play up the moment of bin-Laden's death as a huge victory for the United States. While it is certainly something to be happy about, it should not be treated the same way as a war victory. There was no "mission accomplished" in the same sense that occured when Bush declared combat operations over in Iraq (though most liberals would say otherwise on Bush's declaration). Bragging about this kind of thing just gives bin-Laden more exposure to the world, which means that more terrorist groups can use him as a martyr, and possibly launch retaliatory attacks against Americans globally . Likewise, if we keep stressing how great it was that we raided the compound, other Middle-Eastern countries may start thinking that we're going to carry out such unilateral interventions on other people we don't like. Killing bin-Laden is a major intelligence success, but in this case, attention is not necessarily a good thing.

That's not to say that we shouldn't have taken out bin-Laden. We acquired useful intelligence on bin-Laden's location and acted when we had the opportunity to get the job done. Personally, I'm glad that bastard's dead. However, people shouldn't treat this like it's a game-changing, turning point in American history. We assassinated the central leader and founder of al-Qaeda, but the organization still remains at large around the world. The various al-Qaeda groups around the world can still act independently. Save the "America, f*** yeah!!!!" for when we've really accomplished something of that magnitude, like fully stabilizing Afghanistan and leaving it in the hands of a capable, democratic government.

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