Monday, May 2, 2011

Reactions to bin Laden's death indicates this won't make much change or difference?

Late last night it was announced Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, and a first thoughts was this wouldn't make any difference. (Osama bin Laden has been killed but will it make any long term difference?) Basically the argument is the radicalization of a generation of people all over the world due to the warring over Terrorism. In yesterdays blog post I wrote about the generation of Middle East people who've seen invasion and/or occupation of several countries by Western forces, widespread death and destruction, and this has acted to radicalize those people. But it occurs to me, the radicalization also extends to Americans due to the 10 years (or more) of demonization of the Terrorists.

Listening to voices on NPR reports this morning I hear grudge-holding and an inability to move on with ones life. For example they interviewed a fellow whose fiancee had been killed in the World Trade Center collapse, and he's turned his car into a rolling billboard with pictures of his fiancee with messages to "Never Forget". As sad as his story is, as understandable it is he's done this, it's a pattern that simply re-opens the wounds over and over and doesn't proceed to healing. The kind of healing which allows you to move on with your life rather than hanging on to the wound keeping it festering inside. I don't want to go too far down this line of thinking, and some events like the Sept 11 2001 attack are just so big that it's hard to imagine having real forgiveness towards the perpetrators. Spiritual traditions over millennia such as Christianity have taught forgiveness as a key central method for achieving peace.

This was a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which she made it clear the efforts to stomp out the "Syndicate of Terror" would not stop. In one breath she expressed a hope that al Qaida's victims would find comfort that Justice had been Done, and then in the next breath she's saying the hunt will never stop. On the one hand Authority's role is to mete out mete out Justice in the form of prison sentences or executions. Right? On the other hand the "hunt will not stop" is a way to keep re-awakening the wounds these traumatic events have placed in our mutual psyche.

Islamists vow bin Laden death will not mute Jihad call: Contains quotes from several Islamic Jihadi message boards like "Osama may be killed but his message of Jihad will never die. Brothers and sisters, wait and see, his death will be a blessing in disguise." This is the voice of a radicalized person.

Taliban commander vows to avenge Bin Laden's death: Quotes several "commanders" in several Terrorist organizations saying this "will bring no change to jihad." It's a martyrdom situation and his value as a marketing image will not be diminished by death. Right? The article describes Osama bin Laden as "the Shiekh" as someone who inspired people all over the Middle East into fighting a "holy war (a.k.a. Jihad) against the infidels and their agents." The movement is described as having separated "ideology from leadership" in that local al Qaida "affiliate" organizations have sprung up without direct oversight by the al Qaida leadership.

That same article has an interesting paragraph indicating a hatred towards al Qaida by regular folk in the Middle East.

For many years, the Sheikh had been isolated, his organisation disrupted not only by US kill teams and lethal drone attacks but also by general Muslim apathy and outright hostility to the organisation. For most of the victims are Muslim: not only Shia Muslims and Sunni moderates and seculars, but also bystanders who have committed the deadly sin of buying vegetables while one of those holy warriors decides to fight his battle and start his ascendance to the hereafter.

Osama bin Laden's death resonates in Rochester area: Has a range of reactions in the Rochester NY area. From "The only thing I can say is: it’s about time. I would’ve liked if we could’ve taken him alive and put him on trial. Then, a lot more people would understand the role that he played on 9/11." To "It’s probably not going to last very long, but that’s what they’re fearing right now: repercussions." To "It's about time and I'm glad we got him. Getting these guys is good. We are doing something and we are getting them." To "I don't think killing anyone is a good thing. People like bin Laden certainly need to be taken out of circulation, but I don't think killing is the best way to do it. I'm glad he will not bother anyone anymore, but there are probably plenty more like him." To "I felt a sense of relief. It’s been a long time since that day. It’s not going to bring Rich back." To "It’s a mixed feeling because you don’t want to celebrate someone being murdered, but it does give us a sense of security." To "I’m thrilled he’s captured and killed. It’s sad to me that we’re solving this awful crime with a killing." To "It’s great news. It’s been a long time. I feel like that means the war is finally over." To "It's outstanding, but I don't think it changes much for us in Afghanistan. "We still have the Taliban to contend with and we obviously have to finish what we started."

Beyond bin Laden: Is a post on the "Shadow Government" blog at ForeignPolicy.com which describes itself as being "written by experienced policy makers from the loyal opposition" so we should take this with a grain of salt in that it might be skewed towards ObamaSlander. In any case it's an interesting article. They start with saying the person who "emerges as the leader of al Qaeda will be enormously consequential for the movement's direction and appeal throughout the Muslim world." A supposedly likely successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, "has repeatedly emphasized Egypt as the centerpiece of al Qaeda's quest to re-establish a caliphate in the heart of the Islamic world." And: "Protracted wars are not decided on the outcome of any individual episode. Rather, they turn on the progressive attrition of the adversary's sources of power. Similarly, this conflict will not end in a single battle or campaign. Rather, al Qaeda and its extremist vision will be defeated through the patient accumulation of quiet successes. Victory will include discrediting extremist ideology, creating fissures between and among extremist groups, and reducing them to the level of a nuisance, groups that can be tracked and handled by local law enforcement groups."