Bin Laden May Be Dead, But He Won

He wanted to change our world for the worse — and he did.

I just finished reading a very accurate essay on the CBC Web site, “The Devil likely died happy” by Neil Macdonald. As my fellow countrymen rejoice in the streets — like Taliban members did when more than 3,000 Americans were killed on September 11, 2001 — it takes a Canadian to look at Osama bin Laden’s death with 20-20 vision. I urge you to read his essay, in its entirety. It’s a sobering look at reality.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy bin Laden is dead. To me, he’s the equivalent of Hitler, Stalin, or any other man who used the death of innocents to achieve his personal goals. While some people are claiming we should have captured him and put him on trial, I really don’t care that we didn’t. The news of his death gave the American people a much-needed shot in the arm. And I’m sure that on some level, it’ll bring closure to the the people who lost loved ones on 9/11.

But will it change anything? Will it bring back the pre-9/11 world that so many of us remember and miss?

What do you think?

So, as Mr. Macdonald pointed out with numerous examples in his excellent and thoughtful essay, bin Laden achieved his goals beyond his wildest dreams. He made us paranoid, he increased our hatreds, he divided us as a people. He caused our government to take away liberties and subject us to policies that were in direct conflict with our beloved Constitution. He caused us to start wars on two fronts, wars that burden the American economy and put our young service people at risk every single day.

He changed our way of life.

And isn’t that what he wanted all along?

The quote that hits home from Mr. Macdonald’s piece is this:

But bin Laden didn’t just prod Americans into disregarding their own laws and principles when dealing with their real and supposed enemies; he goaded them into turning on each other.

And so he has. And even in his death, the splits among Americans are drawn and widened. This morning, I read two essays by conservative pundits taking exception with our President’s speech last night, a speech in which they said that he took too much credit for bin Laden’s death. They can’t be satisfied that a national goal has been achieved. Instead, they need to turn it into a political argument over words in a speech announcing a true “Mission Accomplished” to the nation. As if Bush or McCain or anyone else from their side of our country would have done it differently.

One nation, indivisible? I wish.

No, I don’t think bin Laden’s death will change anything.

The TSA will still require us to get half undressed, dump our water bottles, and go without nail clippers when we fly. They’ll still subject us to unreasonable search using potentially dangerous and extremely intrusive X-ray devices or pat-downs.

The political pundits will still find fault with the other side. Conservatives and liberals will still disagree on everything. Media grabbing presidential wannabes will still go on-air spouting lies to sway public opinion.

We’ll still have thousands of troops in the middle east, fighting an enemy they can’t beat, coming home broken — mentally or physically (or both) — or in body bags. Government contractors will still be overpaid to support them while services the American public needs are cut to pay for our wars.

The hate will continue to spew out of the mouths of close-minded people who have nothing better to think about than how someone different from them has no right to be on American soil.

Nothing will change. Bin Laden may be dead, but his legacy continues to live in America.

And I cannot imagine anything sadder than that.

10 thoughts on “Bin Laden May Be Dead, But He Won

  1. I watched it all unfold last night. Interviews with people in the street, the pundits yakking for hours. Same this morning when I woke up. Funny though, it wasn’t till just now from you that I heard first mention of the “W” word…….. Won.
    Now people in general can be pretty stupid (I’ve sat on countless juries); but in this case I have to give them credit. They know we didn’t win. I notice many in the crowds were in their 20’s. They had watched the horror of 9/11 unfold before adolescents.
    I think people just want to feel good about something for a little while. Most friends my age have expressed one word to me, describing how the felt. Relief.
    Relief that this human piece of garbage has been disposed of. Rejoicing in the fact that we had dogged him for 9 long years before culminating in his extermination.
    So no Marie, this article and “The Devil Died Happy” article , they’re both axiomatic & irrelevant. Everyone knows we didn’t win. We just don’t feel like talking about it today.

    • Paul: Irrelevant? I don’t think so. Right now, the American people are high on what they see as a victory. But how many of them have realized how many of their freedoms have been lost over the past 10 years? Even thinking that the FACTS of the situation are irrelevant is a symptom of the problem that plagues America and Americans since 9/11/01.

      Enjoy your celebrations, but they won’t change reality.

  2. Maria, I just want to add that I’m not celebrating. That’s not my style. But I would be disingenuous not to admit satisfaction. Why? I don’t know, and I don’t care….. but I just do. Maybe just because the Son of a Bitch is dead.
    It’s not the content of the articles I have a problem with. None at all. It’s your timing. I think a brief respite, before we segue into a “reality check” is not asking too much.

    • Hey, I waited 12 hours, didn’t I?

      In all seriousness, while I’m also glad the bastard is dead, it’s never too early to look at reality. This country has been scarred by the political, social, and economic aftermath of 9/11, including too many questionable decisions made by elected officials. Americans continue to turn a blind eye to the civil liberties they’ve lost, preferring, instead, to bury what’s left of their minds in “reality” TV. How ironic! They don’t see the similarities between their celebrations on the streets of Washington and New York and the celebrations of Al Quaida and Taliban members on 9/11/01. We have been brought down to the level of our enemies! Although I understand it, it disgusts me.

      Too SOON for a dose of reality? No, I fear that it’s too LATE.

  3. I believe that at least some blame must go to our commander in chief that let our guard down and allowed this to happen. G.W. Bush was forewarned of the attack in so many ways. The FBI was told about the middleastern men that wanted to learn how to manuver an airliner without needing to know how to take off or land it. And much more. Very sad.

  4. I feel neither happiness, nor sadness. In the past 10 years, I’ve come to understand the why, and applaud the will and determination of those that fought against the empire. I feel sorry for those we lost and for those that lost someone. The message is clear, you reap what you sow. 911 is a direct response to our corrupt foreign affairs.

  5. @Greg
    Ummm, Greg? It almost sounds like you’re justifying the attacks of 9/11, and all the other deadly attacks that took place by the follower’s of Bin Laden. Name a country that does not practise in corrupt foreign affairs. Does that mean that it is acceptable for innocent men and women to be slaughtered? Who is Bin Laden to play God and make the determination of which country should be safe, and which should pay the ultimate price of death of innocent citizens and continued fear of terrorism till the end of days?

    Dont’ get me wrong, When most people weren’t happy when Obama told the world that America was being arrogant, I was thrilled that he had the balls to admit something I felt for a very long time. But the price for arrogance should not be the mass execution of innocent people.

    I’m thrilled that he’s dead. Even more so, I’m thrilled that the USA were the one’s who finally got the bastard. Does that change the way we have to live now, in fear of terrorist attacks? Hell no. Those days are long gone. But speaking as someone who was in lower Manhatten that day, and lost 5 fellow employees during the attack, I’m ready to celebrate. Tomorrow, things will go back to the way they’ve been for the last 10 years. But till then, I’m going to party like it’s 1999!

    • Laura: I do agree with Greg that our foreign policies have been far less than optimal for all parties concerned. And while I also agree with you that many countries are the same, I’d like to hold the US to a higher standard and remind everyone that multiple wrongs don’t make a right.

      And I’ll say it again: I’m glad he’s dead.

What do you think?