The case of bin Laden
Posted by Fredsvenn den februar 17, 2008
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 changed the way that the United States related to the world. Although Eastern and developing countries like Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Iraq (during the first Gulf War) already knew that the U.S. could be “terrible in [its] strength and retribution,” 9-11 may be interpreted by historians as the day that the U.S. began its decline in the eyes of the West as the perceived bastion of democracy and liberty.[i]
Since Osama bin Laden (supposedly) orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Center, the United States has unleashed a fury of unprecedented preemptive warfare; the results of which are astronomical in the levels of suffering produced.
To date, over one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed due to the U.S. intervention. Falluja, a city of three hundred thousand residents outside of Baghdad, has been completely devastated. Although general John Sattler declares that the U.S. has “liberated the city of Falluja,” journalist Anwaar Hussain writes that “for the first time since the Wehrmacht (Germany’s WWII armed forces) swept through Europe, the world is witnessing a major imperialist power launching an unjustifiable war, placing an entire people under military occupation and carrying out acts of collective and visible punishment against civilian populace.”
As we enter into the fourth year of this War on Terrorism—and as to date no end appears in sight—it is imperative that the people of the United States not only reflect seriously on the reality engendered by this global conflict, but on what societal beliefs continue to legitimize it.
While all Americans are aware of the fact that the U.S. is currently fighting a war in Afghanistan and in Iraq, few people, when asked, can elucidate why. Many say that these nations posed a threat to the security of the United States; others explain that war is used to protect the US’s economic and military interests in the Middle East; still others are convinced that it all goes back to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida.
While much could be written on all three responses, I would like to expound on the latter case of bin Laden.