Friday, May 6, 2011

Bin Laden: He didn't realize what he was getting into

Two things occured to me yesterday while reading an article on Foxnews.com about Osama's killing at the hands of U.S. forces in Pakistan. The first is that bin Laden didn't truly believe the hateful doctrine he was spewing to his followers - at least he didn't believe it to the extent his suicide operatives did. The second is that when bin Laden first decided to confront and declare war against the U.S., he really didn't understand how powerful his new enemy was. He didn't understand the global reach of the U.S. national security apparatus, or envision it being more powerful than his old Soviet enemy (whom he honestly believed he defeated with his Afghan mujahideen holy warriors).

In the article, dated May 5, 2011, it is revealed that the Navy SEALs were trained to expect bin Laden to possibly have a suicide vest on and ready to detonate. This is not a surprise given that bin Laden has sent numerous members of his organization, and others, to their deaths in this "holier than thou" manner. But he didn't have a suicide vest on. He wasn't ready to blow himself and his pursuers to pieces in the name of Allah. It appears he was ready to do the exact opposite. It's been widely reported that bin Laden had 500 euros and two phone numbers sewn into his robe when he was killed. Osama bin Laden was ready to run.

Why was this so? Simply put, he was a coward who didn't truly believe in his own vitriolic preachings. If he had, there is no doubt he would have made sure to take as many American agents with him on his way to the after-life. Imagine the benefit to al Qaeda's movement had bin Laden decided to make his final moment a symbolic suicide attack against U.S. forces? He would have been praised by his followers for decades or centuries as a martyr to the likes of Jesus Christ. This would have been devastating for anti-jihadist terrorism operations. Suicide attacks against U.S. and allied forces would most likely increase exponentially for years to come. However, he didn't plan to, nor did he, sacrifice himself for the sake of his unholy cause. He planned to survive. He planned to run and hide like a coward, while he continued sending young Muslim men and women to their deaths on his behalf. We should all be thankful that bin Laden himself exposed his al Qaeda movement for the baseless fraud it really is.

Regarding the second point...bin Laden's public disdain for the U.S. began in 1990, when the Saudi Arabian monarchy allowed U.S. troops on their soil to defend against a potential Iraqi assault. Bin Laden was insulted by the fact that the Saudi monarchy denied his request to allow him and his mujahideen holy warriors to defend against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, but then allowed an "infidel" U.S. military - with women among their ranks - to have the job. After defeating the Soviet Union in Afghanistan - the greatest military force in the world in his view - why shouldn't he have been tasked with defending the holiest country in all of Islam? This was not to be, and bin Laden turned his ire toward the United States, a foe he believed much less powerful than his old communist enemy. Over twenty years later, after fleeing and witnessing the horror he'd brought down upon his colleagues in Tora Bora, while holed-up in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, how wrong he'd turned out to be.
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden is Dead

Tonight, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation to announce that the U.S. has killed and recovered the body of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. This is historic news as it may bring closure to the families who lost loved ones in the attacks on September 11, 2001. But it may also help bring closure to those families who have lost loved ones in the battle against jihadist terrorism since 9/11, and to the families who were effected by al Qaeda before 9/11. Bin Laden first declared a "holy" war against the U.S. in 1996. He told his followers that it was their duty to kill any American anywhere in the world. He then cemented his existence in the American psyche by bombing the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, killing hundreds of people, and again declaring war on the U.S. In 2000, the U.S.S. Cole was bombed by al Qaeda while at port in Yemen and tens of servicemen and women were killed. And then came his greatest single act of terror, in fact the most devastating terrorist attack in history, September 11, 2001. Indeed, this news of May 1, 2011, is historic.

While the battle against terrorist extremism will most likely go on for years to come, it is time to reflect on the intelligence community (IC) personnel, the soldiers, and the political leaders who have pursued this mission for the last ten years. It is time for gratitude. I want to personally thank all who have contributed to this effort around the world, those who have stood for freedom and tolerance, and put their lives on the line in defense of those ideals. I want to especially thank my family and friends who have served and continue to serve.

However, let us all remember that violence is not the only tool in our arsenal against terrorism, nor is it even the most important or always even necessary. Yes, Osama bin Laden is dead at the hands of U.S. forces...vengeance has been delivered. But the most devastating retaliatory action taken against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda was on September 12, 2001, and will continue on May 2, 2011. That action was resilience...the resilience shown by the American people when they went back to work, back on an airplane, back on vacation, back to a Yankee, Red Sox, or Nationals game, back to church, to temple, and back to the mosque.
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