Osama Bin Laden Dead
By Taylor Marvin
Obviously it is too soon to make any authoritative statements about what this means, but it is clear that this is a turning point in America’s post-9/11 experience, and an enormously cathartic one for millions of people. However, I feel that it is important to view these headlines for what they really are. Death is death, and for Bin Laden’s demise to be real and meaningful it should be witnessed as a dirty, messy thing, not the sanitized destruction of a video game.
Interestingly, I think that it is in the aggregate beneficial that Bin Laden was only killed now, rather than in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, because it greatly reduces the chance of his death being perceived as martyrdom. For the last decade, Bin Laden has been popularly viewed as an increasingly irrelevant, impotent old man with little actual relevance to the perceived problems facing the Muslim world. The Arab Spring has certainly accelerated this perception, demonstrating to frustrated and potentially extremist young men that media-enabled protest is a much more effective route to real social change and personal affirmation than terrorism.
Finally, a huge thanks for the people that made this happen. Oftentimes Americans act like their gratitude towards the military and civilian intelligence officials goes without saying. It shouldn’t.