Following the announcement of Ben Laden's execution by US special forces, I found the following items notable:
- nobody (other than a few idealists on the blogs) found it strange that Western statesmen and politicians bragged about the execution of a man, whatever crimes he may have committed. Assassination has become a tool of State policy again, and most people seem to find that normal. This is rather disquieting; the damage to the rule of law and to civil rights from the past 10 years of expansion of the State "security" apparatus appears irreversible;
- there have been notable calls in the media for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan, and even for an end to the GWOT ("war on terra"), but politicians are not following suit. If anything, the tone has been to emphasise the increased risk of terror attacks in the short term. The uselessness of the attacks and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan was underlined by the usual suspects, but not beyond; It does not seem like we'll get out of our siege mentality not will lose our thirst to kick (brown) people's asses at great expense anytime soon
- while the contrast between the revolutions in various Arab countries and the "califate" promoted by Ben Laden has been much touted, the fact that both the authoritarian regimes and Ben Laden were direct consequences of the West's policies to "secure" access to oil resources (in that we de facto funded them via our purchases of oil, and tolerated them as long as they did not attack us directly, like Iran or Ben Laden) has been largely glossed over. There still is no serious discussion of the fact that Islamism has largely been created because, for a long time, it was the only route that was allowed to protest hated regimes in Arab countries, and that our support for these regimes made us the enemy of the populations of these countries; we still don't have any policies to wean ourselves off of oil as a matter of priority.
In short, Ben Laden's death is largely irrelevant. He was successful beyond his wildest dreams in that we conducted horrible policies that killed millions and alienated many more in the Arab world, we gave up our own civil rights and freedoms in a pointless quest for "security," we spent untold amounts of money on a massive military/security apparatus which is not going away any time soon, and we did not do a thing to solve the underlying problem (our addiction to oil).
Maybe that death is providing closure to Americans, but for me it's just a reminder of how bad our policies have been in the past 10 years, and how far we are from doing anything about that.