Monday, May 02, 2011

The End of Osama bin Laden?

Osama bin Laden's death in Pakistan at the hands of the American military was announced yesterday, and few will mourn his passing. There was glee in many American cities, as though something great was accomplished.

There is no question that bin Laden's great accomplishment was to provoke the United States to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, just as he intended, and indeed as was his stated purpose, in the hope of bleeding the American empire to death as he had - with American help - bled the Soviet empire. You don't have to like the guy to recognize that he was a brilliant strategist with a deep understanding of his opponent, knowing how to turn his opponent's power to his ruin, while using his own weakness to maximum effect.

Even his death will serve to weaken the American empire's position in the lands it has invaded, while evidently encouraging it to remain there until national bankruptcy. He will be reviled for his criminality, which is uncontestable, although certainly no worse than that of the imperial managers that have used him as a pretext for greater crimes than his.

His worst injury to the United States was undoubtedly his success in provoking the American people to throw their own liberties away with both hands, becoming a vile, thuggish rogue state that disappears people, locks people away forever precisely because they have done no crimes, wantonly tortures thousands and often with sadistic sexual perversion, and which has already murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people to no purpose. Working with his co-conspirators, the Bush-Obama administration and its unprincipled supporters, Osama bin Laden has participated as a junior partner in the most serious destruction of the US Constitution and its republican liberties in the history of the republic. The American republic is most unlikely now to recover, and that is probably the worst thing he has done to us - far worse than killing 3000 people, which we do to ourselves on the highways in a month. That too was his intention, knowing that provoking Americans to express the most vile aspects of our national character would further destroy American authority and power in the world.

But was it bin Laden's responsibility to preserve the American republic and to keep Americans from turning to their own crooked ways (Psalm 125:5)? No, he bears blame for appealing to our basest instincts to ruin us, but keeping ourselves from our own crooked ways is our own responsibility, not his.

It's worth reflecting in this day of bin Laden's death that not many men so completely accomplish in life what they set out to do. In bin Laden's case, he had the active help of American rulers that were delighted with his success because it gave them their chance to establish police state institutions, with the eager agreement of the American people who despised their own liberties along with those of others - being thrilled at the excuse to express their own violence. He could never have done it without us. Osama bin Laden's work is not over. His enemies will see to that, as they have all along.


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