03 May, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is Dead

So what?

Here are a few early thoughts on what it might mean that the "world's most wanted man" has finally been tracked down and executed.

1. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Bin Laden was waging war. Sometimes wars don't go the way you'd like them to and, even when you're a big-shot general, sitting safely in your stronghold, well away from the fighting, sometimes the enemy gets to you and kills you. Them's the breaks. Bin Laden dropped a plane on the Pentagon. The Pentagon dropped a Navy Seals team on Abbottabad.

2. It's made many Americans very happy. Let's face it, Americans went nuts after 9/11. They thrashed about in a frenzy of outrage, fear and frustration. They invaded Iraq for Pete's sake! How crazy was that? Yet the fear was the worst bit of it. Americans became obsessed with the idea that their enemies could reach out and get them and it terrified them. It was shocking and horrible. It went against everything they believed about their superiority and invulnerability. And much of that fear was focused on Osama Bin Laden. He was the one who had hurt them. He was the one who, for ten whole years, dodged their best efforts to wreak their vengeance. So, of course, now he's dead, some of that sense of dread and impotence has been lifted. No wonder they're dancing in the streets.

3. With any luck, President Obama will enjoy a 'halo effect' from being the president in office when Bin Laden was shot. Yes, many American's think he's a Muslim, and a socialist, and a foreigner, but now they also know he's the guy who brought down the Boogey Man. American conservatives probably have a much lower chance now of winning the election next year. This is a very good thing, especially considering the absolute clowns who have been suggested as GOP candidates - like Palin and Trump. If killing Bin Laden gets Obama a second term, at least some genuine good will have come of it.

4. Stock markets - especially the American ones - rose for a short while there. They've fallen back again, of course, but hopefully that little blip will show everyone how ludicrous the whole stock trading system has become. When our global economy depends on idiots who spend higher on stocks because some terrorist fly has been swatted, we really need to take a long hard look at what is going on in the free market economy.

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