Is America Safer Now That Osama Bin Laden is Dead?

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
As September 11th, 2001 will forever remain a critical date in the history of the United States, so too will May 2nd, 2011. On this date the world’s most wanted man Osama Bin Laden who was responsible for the death of thousands of innocent lives was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. From his death, the question as to whether America is now safer was asked throughout the country. As in every major news story there are two sides and many opinions; this holds true for this story as well. There are those who believe that the United States is safer because without Bin Laden, Al Qaeda can’t carry out its’ ideas without its leader. Others believe that with the beginning of the “Arab Spring” interest in the hard line theocracy favored by Al Qaeda has greatly diminished. It is being replaced by a quest for freedom and democracy. Conversely, many believe that the death of Bin Laden will fuel the hatred of the Al Qaeda factions, and spark more attacks around the world and more specifically in the United States.

In this controversial news story, many have alleged the idea that the United States is a safer place. Their feeling of safety rests on the idea that Bin Laden’s death is symbolically important because it showed the world that Al Qaeda can be infiltrated. According to the New York Times, it is believed that Al Qaeda has been losing strength for many years and that there has been a change in the climate among Arabs towards democracy and freedom. The groups of people in Egypt, Libya and throughout the Middle East called the “Arab Spring,” have shown that change can take place peacefully. This new manner of change has deflated Al Qaeda’s hard line views of violence and destruction in the name of change. With this change in importance, America in turn, becomes safer. Furthermore, Time Magazine alleges that Al Qaeda cannot survive without Bin Laden because “Al Qaeda is an idea, an ideology. And Bin Laden personified it, a man who for his followers represented courage and conviction” (Zakaria, May 20,2011, p.43). It is also believed that Al- Zawahri, the second in command of Al Qaeda in the Arab region is not likeable enough to unite all the factions to pull off large scale attacks. He is not as well liked and much more radical in his thinking. Additionally, Michael Nacht believes that Bin Laden’s death diminishes the threat of terrorism. “Now more like a chronic disease, it can cause you trouble, but is not a mortal threat”(www.newyorktimes.com, May 3,2011). There is also the belief that with Bin Laden’s death, our reason for being in Afganistan is no longer valid. The reason for our presence there was directly related to the ongoing threat of Al Qaeda. Along these lines, James Lindsay, Vice President of the Council on Foreign Relations said that Bin Laden’s death could say that America’s goal was achieved and we can now use that as an excuse to get out. This in and of itself makes the United States safer since our soldiers will not be risking their lives and the Afghanistan people will not harbor ill feelings towards us for being in their country. Lastly, there is the idea that Pakistan will now be forced to improve their image with the United States because of their obvious deception regarding the harboring of Bin Laden. Pakistan may be forced to cooperate more with the United States which in turn will help keep the United States safer. The overwhelming thought that the United States is safer is based on the fact that Bin Laden’s death closes a chapter in the war on terror. His death deflates the power of Al Qaeda and reveals the uncertainty of Muslim groups regarding the movement.

On the opposing side, many believe that we have exposed ourselves to greater risk now that Bin Laden is dead. According to The Washington Post, a statement was released by Al Qaeda on the Friday following Bin Laden’s death indicating that “the soldiers of Islam groups and individuals will continue planning… until they cause the disaster that makes children look like elderly”(Washington Post, Conversation Q&A, May 20th,2011). This statement confirms the fear that Bin Laden’s death has incited Al Qaeda to exact revenge on the United States. It is believed that once the 40 day mourning period has ended the dual prospect of punishing the United States and reigniting fear and anxiety will figure into Al Qaeda’s plans. Furthermore, the Director of Georgetown’s University Center for Peace and Security Studies believes that “we should worry about Al Qaeda using social networking like the “Arab Spring” to spark spontaneous terror attacks” (Joe Nocera, New York Times, May 2, 2011). He also wrote that Al Qaeda would look to strain Pakistan-United States relations by calling Jihad and regular citizens against Pakistan because they believe they are traitors and thieves. This would ultimately undermine the Pakistani democracy, which would create a backlash against the United States. Furthermore, it is believed that the United States is at risk because the different factions can launch smaller attacks, which could distract intelligence and give Al Qaeda the opportunity to launch a bigger, more destructive attack.

In conclusion, the question as to whether we are safer with the death of Bin Laden remains a point of debate. There are those who celebrate his death and feel that without its leader, Al Qaeda will cease to function. Furthermore, it is believed that Al Qaeda has diminished in popularity especially in the wake of the “Arab Spring” and their achievement of change by peaceful means. On the other hand, many believe that with the death of Bin Laden comes a new threat of attacks on the United States as a way to fulfill Bin Laden’s objective as well as to exact revenge for his death. In any event, as long as there are extremists who target the United States as a way to send a message or to take revenge, our country has to remain watchful to protect itself from future attacks.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback