On Bin Laden and the last 10 years:
‘They’ve taught us, instead, that whatever blunders we make (and we have made many), however many advantages we squander (and there has been much squandering), and whatever quagmires we find ourselves lured into, our civilization is not fundamentally threatened by the utopian fantasy politics embodied by groups like Al Qaeda, or the mix of thugs, fools and pseudointellectuals who rally around their banner.’
As we’ve seen, there is strong sentiment in the Arab world for some elements of Bin Laden’s message: grievance against the injustices of the West and hatred of Israel…bitterness and resentment against the injustices of the autocrats (torture in Egyptian prisons, especially)….the desire to reclaim and recapture the wisdom, dignity and purity of an Islamic past against centuries of recent outside influence…and the tides. Such sentiment finds its expression in many ways, but Bin Laden capitalized on it. He cultivated the baser elements of human nature within a narrow and violent ideology. He put his money where his mouth was and organized, funded, and led groups in a pan-arab guerilla-style fighting for decades. He grew Al-Qaeda into an organization that, at least briefly, and with luck at his side, was capable of the 9/11 attacks. He likely thought of himself as a freedom fighter, holy-warrior and had a bit of a messianic complex, wanting the West to vindicate his existence in that role.
Thanks to the hard, long work, dedication and bravery of many, we’ve gotten him. Militarily, politically, diplomatically, and culturally, on some level, it’s clear we need to stay vigilant against those who think the same, and would take similar action.
So many moving parts. Any thoughts and comments welcome.
Informed Comment has much of the backstory here (it’s why Cole started his blog). Is one primary goal to lessen the grave injustices throughout the Muslim world that produce and radicalize the Bin-Ladens…or is it simply to kill them once they do radicalize as efficiently and quickly as possible? Is it U.S. foreign policy coming home to roost, or an inexcusable attack by a violent ideologue seeking vengeance and as much power as possible against the backdrop of a region unable to realize freedoms and opportunities in other ways…thus exporting its terror?
Related On This Site: From Michael Yon: ‘General Petraeus Letter’
Bending now to Obama’s vision? His Security Report here.
From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…Repost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’…From Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”
From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work…From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington…From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’
Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are?: Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy