The blogosphere overlords threatened to pull my blogging privileges if I didn’t join in the chorus of bloggers commenting on the passing phenomenon of bin Laden’s death. Herewith, some fairly random thoughts.
When I first heard the news I thought it was about ScienceBlogs’ Greg Laden, and I though, “holy shit, what’d he do to piss off Obama so much?”
D.A. Ridgely nominated Radley Balko for best post-bin Laden post. Out of all two that I’ve read, I’d have to agree. Here’s his punchline:
Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special ops team can fix.
I give credit to Obama for sending in a special ops team instead of bombing bin Laden’s residence. That was a good call, and not necessarily an easy one.
The question of al Qaeda’s future is a tough one to predict. Obviously it’s not going to crumble away soon, both because the grievances (whether perceived or real) of its supporters aren’t going away soon and because there are people ready to step into the leadership positions. But it strikes me as an organization that functions in large part on charismatic leadership, and that’s not necessarily easy to replace, so the loss of bin Laden could–potentially–diminish, although not eliminate, them as an organization.
Obama’s had a great week, perhaps the best of his presidency. But this, too, shall pass, and by next fall it will matter little, if at all. Still, he’s justified in basking in the moment.
The decision to deliver his announcement over the end of Donald Trump’s show was brilliant political symbolism. The contrast between what he is right now and what Trump is right now could hardly be missed. Whichever adviser thought of that–I would bet it was an adviser, although it’s not impossible Obama thought of it himself–deserves an all-expense paid trip to the Bahamas for a few days.
I’m glad bin Laden’s gone. It’s a bad enough thing when our troops in Afghanistan accidentally kill civilians, but purposely targeting civilians is the worst thing anyone can do.
Addendum: Some of my blogospheric friends hope this means we’ll be coming home from Afghanistan soon. But Afghanistan hasn’t been about bin Laden for years. Whatever the arguments for either staying or leaving, bin Laden’s death is not logically related to any of them.