This post is strictly own opinion. It does not represent the views of any organization.
The day that many have long awaited has finally arrived. Late Sunday evening, President Obama announced that mass-murdering terrorist Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan. There’s something disturbing about celebrating the death of a fellow human being even though he was indeed responsible for unspeakable acts. It seems more civilized to be grateful that many relatives of the victims of 9/11 are able to seek closure in the healing process.
As philosopher George Santayana stated “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” One cannot fully understand the motives behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks without understanding the nature of the enemy. The United States government has a long messy history with Osama bin Laden. During the Soviet War in Afghanistan which began in 1979, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) supplied the Afghan mujahideen fighting the Soviets with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of modern weapons and funds. The head of the Afghan mujahideen was a radical by the name of Osama bin Laden. According to Middle Eastern analyst Hazhir Teimourian, Osama bin Laden even received security training from the CIA itself. The bloody and costly Soviet War in Afghanistan lasted over nine years with Osama bin Laden’s group declaring victory. The bankrupt Soviet War collapsed shortly afterwards.
Osama bin Laden returned to his homeland of Saudi Arabia after the war. Using the funds supplied by the United States government, he formed his terrorist group Al-Qaeda. In August 1990, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait. The United States intervened by placing U.S. troops on the Saudi Arabia peninsula. Osama bin Laden was outraged that foreign troops were on the same land as the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He then turned against the United States government that had previously funded him. Even Former Deputy of Defense Secretary of Paul Wolfowitz stated that “if you look at bin Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina… Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It’s been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda.”
Government policies generally have unintended consequences. The U.S. government’s foreign policy is no exception to that rule. Foreign policy experts use the word “blowback” to describe the consequences of meddling in the internal affairs of foreign countries. The U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East parallels with the movie Frankenstein. In the classic novel, Dr. Frankenstein with seemingly decent intentions creates a creature that ends up seeking revenge against him. Osama bin Laden along with Saddam Hussein and Hosni Mubarak are monsters created by U.S. foreign-policy makers. The U.S. government should have minded its own business and not funded these mass-murderers in the first place. A witty Facebook status making its rounds says “us praising the U.S. government for killing Osama is like the villagers praising Dr. Frankenstein for killing his own monster.”
Let’s make one thing clear: the American people are not to blame for 9/11. Not a single innocent person deserved to die on the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The American people instead do not deserve to be put in harm’s way by their government’s policies decided upon by the elite few in Washington, D.C. Society and government are two different entities. We are less safe and prone to terrorist attacks due to our government intervening in complicated situations overseas that it does not fully comprehend.
The death of Osama bin Laden has emotional significance. The sad part is that it isn’t likely to change our policy in the Middle East. The federal government told the American people that its main purpose in Afghanistan was to find Osama bin Laden and other high-ranking Al-Qaeda members. Nearly ten years later, Bin Laden has been killed, the Taliban regime has been removed and there are fewer than 100 Al-Qaeda members left in Afghanistan. When exactly can U.S. troops come home to their families?
I hate to be a buzz kill but let’s put everything into perspective. The U.S. government killed one man. It took them nine years, seven months and twenty days. They declared war on two countries supposedly in order to find bin Laden and weapons of mass destruction. Neither was found in Afghanistan or Iraq. Many of our civil liberties have been eroded through unconstitutional measures such as the so-called Patriot Act and the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) invasive procedures since 9/11. These wars have ended up costing taxpayers trillions of dollars over budget. The death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon top 6,000 dead. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have been murdered. Many of these causalities are small defenseless children. Can you possibly see how these innocent deaths could create hatred and increase membership in terrorist organizations? Just imagine if your child was killed by a bomb dropped by a foreign government invading your country and tell me what you would do.
Here’s the kicker: Osama bin Laden death was not due to the war in Afghanistan. He was killed by a small hit-team. The same type of hit-team that Dr. Ron Paul proposed multiple times first called the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. He maintained that bringing Osama bin Laden to justice would only require a small elite force and not a full scale costly invasion. For years, Dr. Ron Paul has stated that “Pakistan is probably where Osama bin Laden is.” Yet, Dr. Paul was mocked for proposing a hit team and saying Osama bin Laden was being protected by the government of Pakistan.
It is a relief that Osama bin Laden is no longer at large. In a Foreign Policy article, Gartenstein-Ross says that “for example, in October 2004 bin Laden said that just as the Arab fighters and Afghan mujaheddin had destroyed Russia economically, al Qaeda was now doing the same to the United States, ‘continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.’ ” In many ways, Osama bin Laden won. America is now left with bigger debt and less liberty. U.S. deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan has surpassed the 9/11 death toll by at least twice. Has it all been worth it? The real celebration will be when the troops finally come home and our civil liberties are restored.