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Monday, May 02, 2011

Putting Bin Laden's death in perspective

The Optimistic Conservative splashes some cold water on all the celebrations of Osama Bin Laden's death.
There can be no “justice” for 9/11; there can only be healing, renewal, and the strategic defeat of the Islamist terrorist idea. The attacks on 9/11 were something human justice can never redress. Symmetrical vindication is impossible. The only useful response is what America did after 9/11: change the conditions Islamist terrorists operated in; reach into their world and disrupt it, flooding it with light and noise until they scattered like cockroaches.

I join President Obama in welcoming the demise of bin Laden. In the sense that it was not unjust to kill him, we may say, as Obama did, that “justice has been done.” But it doesn’t feel American to me to wave flags and cheer over the assassination of a middle-aged terrorist hidden in a compound in northeastern Pakistan. Street demonstrations cheering an assassination don’t belong here. Save the flags for when America has done something noble and great – or at least for when the achievement has strategic meaning.

Bin Laden’s demise comes, fittingly, at a time when the momentum of Islamist radicalism is shifting from nihilistic terrorist acts to the avenue of seeking political power. That doesn’t mean there will be no more efforts at large-scale terrorism. There undoubtedly will be.

But the nexus of Islamism is migrating slowly but inexorably toward politics and centers of national power. Even before he was dead, bin Laden was to a significant extent superannuated. Real opportunities have opened in the last six months for radical Islamists to gain influence in, or take over, seats of government. Islamism was oriented for decades on harassing sitting governments, in both the Middle East and the West. But today, the opportunities for Islamists to gain political power – along with armies and missile arsenals – extend well beyond revolutionary Iran and the Afghanistan of the Taliban era.

Bin Laden was not a leader in this emerging thrust of Islamism. He wasn’t suited to be someone who mattered going forward – and he hasn’t been for several years. We can certainly expect that there will be attempts at terrorist retaliation, or demonstrations of continued vitality, in the days ahead, but the attention of Islamists and Islamism is really focused elsewhere now.
All true. I look at Bin Laden's death as a positive because it's a morale booster for Americans and because it places the terrorists on warning that they can't run away forever.

Unfortunately, it's also likely the opening salvo of Obama's re-election campaign.

Read the whole thing.

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At 3:35 AM, Blogger Rhonda said...

Sadly, I too wonder if Obama will use the success of the Navy SEALs' mission to fuel his re-election efforts.


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