Monday, May 02, 2011

A thoughtful reflection on the end of Osama

A still of 2004 Osama bin Laden videoImage via WikipediaJuan Cole writes in Informed Comment

Usama Bin Laden was a violent product of the Cold War and the Age of Dictators in the Greater Middle East. He passed from the scene at a time when the dictators are falling or trying to avoid falling in the wake of a startling set of largely peaceful mass movements demanding greater democracy and greater social equity. Bin Laden dismissed parliamentary democracy, for which so many Tunisians and Egyptians yearn, as a man-made and fallible system of government, and advocated a return to the medieval Muslim caliphate (a combination of pope and emperor) instead. Only a tiny fringe of Muslims wants such a theocratic dictatorship. The masses who rose up this spring mainly spoke of “nation,” the “people,” “liberty” and “democracy,” all keywords toward which Bin Laden was utterly dismissive. The notorious terrorist turned to techniques of fear-mongering and mass murder to attain his goals in the belief that these methods were the only means by which the Secret Police States of the greater Middle East could be overturned.
For myself, I feel rather little, a sense of numbness that parallels the atrocity that kept this going. But at least this, at long last, was the surgical and appropriate response that should have been undertaken, long, LONG ago.

But since Bush and the Neocons chose to view Osama as a useful bogyman that justified his larger geopolitical ambitions, I think that in the grand balance, in the light of history, we still have to say that Osama Bin Laden had every right to die a smug man.

He hated your freedoms - and so, it turned out, did his idological companions in the Bush White House.

That's my take on it.
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