Monday, May 02, 2011

I Am Cheering For Two Reasons.

I am cheering, for two reasons.

Osama bin Laden was an evil man. A man who sought political objectives only through violence and death. The killing of such a man it is always reason for celebration. It is for the Lord to judge his fate in the hereafter, but I cheer his departure from our presence. He can do no more harm here on Earth.

But there is a second, more important reason to cheer. Contrary to what some say, Bin Laden's death marks the end of Al Qaeda. Bin Laden was Al Qaeda. He founded it, funded it, inspired it, and was its voice. The two were one. Al Qaeda was a snake that began to whither after it lost its sanctuary under a Taliban ruled Afghanistan. But until May 1, 2011, it was still alive. But it is no more. The head of the snake has been cut off. It may slither and squirm for a little longer but will soon disappear. I cheer that with full voice.

The tragedy of 9/11 was horrific with death, injury and destruction and lives altered forever. Bin Laden showed that he could harm us, causing death and damage, and heartache and tears for the memories of those who were its victims. But as horrific as 9/11 was Bin Laden's main objective was sowing fear, and on that score he was even more effective. He caused us to change the way we live, foregoing freedoms in the mistaken sense we were gaining security.

However, the main enemy of bin Laden was never the United States, it was always what he viewed as corrupt regimes throughout the Muslim world. The United States became a target for him after the Gulf War, following which we stationed troops in Saudi Arabia. And it was convenient for him to launch war against the United States because it helped generate support among those Arabs and other Muslims who were generally mistrusting of the West.

After 9/11 however, his power waned. But the fact that the United States could not kill or capture him always added an air of mystique to his cause. His physical base of support in Afghanistan was taken from him and his monetary resources were squeezed. Yet al Qaeda could limp on after that, albeit with decreasing efficiency, as long as Bin Laden was still alive.

His marginalization accelerated with the dawn of the Arab Spring. People throughout North Africa are rebelling against oppressive regimes and doing so without any involvement from Al Qaeda. The actions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria have demonstrated to the people of those countries that there is a future for them. They can overturn the dictatorial regimes that have been oppressing them and they can do this on their own, guided by principles of democracy and freedom of expression. Democracy and individual rights were anathema to Al Qaeda and its dead leader, Bin Laden, and those rebellions reflected a rejection of Bin Laden’s vision of radical Muslim theocracy. Now, the death of bin Laden has put in place the keystone, the final event, in the rejection of his and Al Qaeda's goals.

Certainly there may well be some minor terrorist incidences that occur in the future. A few diehard Al Qaeda enthusiasts may try to reprise their old glory. But there is no infrastructure and above all there is no leadership for this pathetic group. The United States and the entire World are more secure than they were before May 1, 2011. And I cheer that. I cheer that with full voice.

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