Osama's Death Changes Nothing
The Obama administration and many Americans are celebrating this evening upon hearing the news that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in a strike by U.S. special forces several days ago. The news was only released this evening because U.S. authorities wanted to wait until the body was in U.S. hands and had been definitively identified as bin Laden. President Obama has made a short speech in which he thanked the Pakistani government and U.S. military and intelligence personnel for their work in removing this blot on the escutcheon of mankind. The President noted that the tip regarding bin Laden's whereabouts was received last August and it took this long to not only confirm the data but, also to work out the details of bin Laden's removal with the Pakistani government.
Many Americans will be hoping that the threat of terrorism has been greatly reduced because of the death of this man. However, as President Obama noted, there is a chance that the Al Qaeda organization will stage some sort of attack in retaliation for the killing of their leader. Indeed, I think that the U.S. government made a mistake in not taking bin Laden alive and trying him as a common criminal. Instead, the radical Islamist subculture will declare that bin Laden died a “martyr” and will use his death as a recruiting tool. After all, what young radical Muslim wouldn't want the chance to die as a martyr and receive the reward of many virgins upon his entry into paradise?
Obviously, I am not privy to information regarding how the raid which killed bin Laden was conducted or what rules of engagement the special forces unit was operating under. However, I cannot help but think that bin Laden's death will result in even greater fear of terrorist activity among the governments of the world. Capturing bin Laden alive and bringing him to trial as a common criminal would have gone far to remove the status (and glamor) of “soldier” from those who kill unarmed civilians in random acts of senseless violence. I've said it before and I continue to believe that the worst mistake the Bush regime made in its efforts to suppress terrorism was to call it a war; which elevates criminal acts to acts of war; which places the perpetrators in the position of being soldiers, who are supposedly acting under the legal orders of some legally constituted authority. In Islam, being considered a criminal remains a bad thing and conviction of criminal acts often brings on what we in the West consider to be draconian punishments – such as having one's right hand cut off upon conviction of theft. If the Bush regime had spent more thought on handling the public relations aspect of the 9/11 attacks instead of declaring “war”on terror (don't get me going on the stupidity of making war on an emotion) we might now have more criminals housed in Federal prisons. However, rather than charging those responsible for the 9/11 attacks as criminals – which is what was done in the case of the bombing which Timothy McVeigh perpetrated in Oklahoma City – the Bush regime shoved the PATRIOT ACT down the throats of the American people, followed by the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Both of those acts – supplemented by numerous Executive orders - have, done more damage to the American way of life than was done by the 9/11 attacks. Without denigrating the great personal losses suffered by many American families, the U.S. government has done more damage to the American way of life, with its tremendous increase in police powers compounded by the utter disregard for the Constitution shown by the Bush regime and continued under the Obama regime. It is not terrorists who force airline travelers to submit to physical search by TSA goons – it is the U.S. government. It is not terrorists who have put in place full-body scanners which provide other TSA goons with detailed views of the bodies of those seeking to travel by air – it is the U.S. government. It is not terrorists who routinely violate the fourth amendment's prohibition of unwarranted search by eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans – it is the U.S. government. It is not terrorists who began the fruitless, illegal, and unjustified war against Iraq – it is the U.S. government. It was not terrorists who have announced that they may legally assassinate any American citizen – it was the current President of the United States. It is not terrorists who set up a concentration camp outside the legal limits of U.S. soil so as to be able to evade Constitutional requirements for speedy and fair trials, along with the public announcement of the charges on which the camp prisoners are held – it is the U.S. government. It is not terrorists who urge Americans to spy upon each other and report “anything suspicious” to the police – it is the U.S. government which is seeking to make informers of U.S. citizens. It is not terrorists who have done more to erode governmental respect for the Constitution in the last decade than in the previous century – it is the U.S. government.
In short, it is not terrorists who have shredded the provisions of this nation's Constitution – it is the U.S. government which has chosen to react to terrorist attacks by destroying the rights of American citizens. It is the U.S. government which chose to disregard the rights of the American people in reaction to the criminal acts of a small group of madmen. The truth of the matter is that the Bush regime seized upon the destruction wrought by disciples of Osama bin :Laden as an excuse to radically alter the relation of the U.S. government to the citizens of the United States. Why were the attacks on 9/11 treated as an “act of war” when the destruction of a Federal office building by Tim McVeigh was considered a criminal matter? Why the double standard? The simple truth is that government's find it easier to justify radical expansions of their police powers when it is an act by “one of them” which triggers the government's reaction. It's harder to justify the destruction of civil liberties when the perpetrator was “on of us”. It's the same reason that government's seek to reduce opponents in war to simple representations of evil – people are much more willing to allow for increases in government power in response to a simply-defined external threat than for a domestic problem. I’m afraid that none of the U.S. government's illegal actions will be rolled back now that the nation's number one enemy is dead. In fact, President Obama, in his short statement about the death of bin Laden, said as much. Indeed, we may well see more expansion of secret police power because of the “threat” of some sort of retaliation on the part of Al Qaeda. Nothing really changed tonight. The U.S. government will continue shredding the Constitution, spending money we don't have, and carrying on wars which are doing no one any good – to say nothing of being illegal as Congress has never declared war on either Iraq or Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the terrorist criminals will continue to plant their bombs in order to carry out cowardly attacks on innocent civilians around the world. The old threat is dead, long live the new threat!
Here's an interesting video that one of my readers sent in. I think people will find it interesting. http://www.newsy.com/videos/bin-laden-dead-what-changes-in-war-on-terror/ . I'd like to thank Marissa for this link.