I heard it on Twitter first. At 2125, I was plugged into the sudden announcement by the president. So I got up and turned the tv on. Given that military forces upgraded the threat con level yesterday, I figured this was what it would be about.
For Bin Laden to be killed in a US solo operation, so secretly that only a handful of US officials knew about it and to keep it under wraps for over a week is the work of a political mastermind. While the entire world was focused on Pres Obama’s birth certificate and what underwear Kate Middledton was going to wear on her wedding night, the US was setting conditions for the action of the decade.
Bin Laden’s death is symbolic. I don’t believe it will change the shape of the war on terror. Nor do I believe that with Bin Laden’s death, Al Qaeda will cease to be the threat that it remains. I don’t believe that his death is cause for the jubilation or joy we’ve seen in the streets because really, I don’t think it will have the impact the media seems to think it will.
I hope I am wrong. I hope that this will turn into a transformative event that will reshape the world, that it will galvanize the Arab Spring movement and help reshape the Middle East. I hope that this will be the turning point in our decades long war in Afghanistan and that victory will be declared and peace brought to that nation which has suffered terribly under the ideology Bin Laden espouses.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be the case. I think that by tomorrow, the news will shift back to the royal wedding and the price of tea in china and whatever other vacuous nonsense that takes up our time. Because collectively, we have the attention span that can be measured in nanoseconds and the government and the corporations need us to not pay attention.
In this case, it was a good thing. Bin Laden’s death is good and it is great that it didn’t leak out prior. But the victory is purely symbolic for a nation that largely has forgotten that we’ve been in Afghanistan for a decade.
Now back to your regularly scheduled entertainment.