Good Riddance

Arab News also believes that Osama bin Laden is deader than Michael Jackson’s career.

Of course, we cannot produce the body or pinpoint the grave. What we have in mind is Bin Laden’s death as a political operator.

With an ego the size of Mount Everest, Osama Bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long. He had always liked to take credit even for things he had nothing to do with. So, would he remain silent for nine months during which his illusions have been shattered one after another? If his adjutants can smuggle a video to Al-Jazeera in Qatar, why couldn’t he?

Even if he were still alive physically, Bin Laden is dead politically. He may live some more years in the hide-outs of the tribal zone in Pakistan just as some Nazi fugitives survived in the remote areas of Argentina and Paraguay.

In other words, whatever Osama bin Laden stood for, it is now long since gone. His vision of worldwide jihad against the Americans suffered the same fate as the idiots who followed it: daisy cuttered to ash in some forgotten cave in Afghanistan. Since the war, al-Qaeda is no longer acting like the world’s most feared terrorist network and more like the Keystone Kops, sending in idiots like Richard Reid and Jose Padilla rather than trainined and effective agents.

The fifth element that made Bin Ladenism possible was the West’s, especially America’s, perceived weakness if not actual cowardice. A joke going round the militant Islamist circles until last year was that the only thing the Americans would do if attacked was to sue the attackers in court. That element no longer exists. The Americans, supported by the largest coalition in history, have shown that they are prepared to use force against their enemies even if that means a long war with no easy victory in sight.

Well, as they say over here, no shit Sherlock. The weakness that the Islamic world saw was the weakness of the Clinton Administration, an administration that responded to acts of war against the United States with piddling cruise missile strikes. Those days are long since passed us. Taking down those towers was more than a suicide attack by the 19 hijackers, it was a suicide attack by all those who supported them. A smaller attack might not have resulted in war, but an attack whose inhuman horror united our nation was sure to bring hell down on those who planned and financed it.

Osama may be dead, but the job isn’t over yet. If President Bush follows through on his doctrine of eliminating terrorism, future bin Ladens won’t be given the chance to strike again. The days of terrorism as a method of political leverage are over, and good riddance to them and those who used them.

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