Sunday, May 1, 2011 marks the killing of Osama bin Laden, the notorious Al-Qaeda leader and alleged mastermind of the World Trade Centre attacks of 2001. Upon hearing the news, a jubilant crowd gathered around the White House in Washington, DC. They were singing, cheering, waving American flags in the air. It seemed to be a moment of triumph after what was an insensitive tragedy felt across the world ten years ago. The speech made by President Barack Obama after the announcement was meant to reinforce that triumph.
But let’s look at the reality: bin Laden’s death is strictly symbolic, and does not necessarily make the world safer. It’s only one death and nothing more, unless it ensures a quicker end to the war in Afghanistan. That may not be the case, considering this parallel: the 2006 execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was widely celebrated by citizens of America and Iraq. Five years later, however, there are still troops occupying the country. Add the Libyan war, and you now have three conflicts in which the United States is involved.
Also, exactly how much does this benefit the families of the victims who had perished in the 9/11 attacks?
Although there is some semblance of relief on their end, they would more likely be grieving over lost loved ones than anything else. Bin Laden’s death would not bring back all of those victims. Of course, nothing will, but the amount of excitement suggests otherwise.
I am happy that the man responsible for countless deaths has paid the price for his crimes. But seeing this as a final “solution” to an ongoing crisis is clearly a mistake.