By Alan Caruba
Americans greeted news of Osama bin Laden’s death with a celebration of the payback it represents for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.
As former Vice President Dick Cheney said on hearing the news, “Today, the message our forces have sent is clear—if you attack the United States, we will find you and bring you to justice.”
This is part of the American psyche. A great power cannot allow itself to be attacked and harmed without rendering retribution. Every day bin Laden drew breath after 9/11 was a rebuke to America.
The 9/11 attack, however, grew out of a larger context, the Islamic central concept of jihad. Far from being “a religion of peace”, the Koran is a battle plan for the conquest of the world by Islam and jihad is regarded as a sacred duty for all Muslims.
This is why political correctness regarding how we deal with Muslim demands in the United States is a danger to the nation. Islam is one big hate crime directed at all other religious faiths. Failure to understand that is to sign the nation’s and the world’s death warrant.
The irony of al Qaeda’s legacy has been the vast numbers of Muslims that have died as a result of its efforts to overthrow the governments of nations whose wrath it invoked. In the bizarre illogic of the Arab world, even as many Saudis allegedly contributed to al Qaeda, one of its aims was to overthrow the Saudi royal family who bin Laden had condemned for allowing American troops to encamp on its “sacred sands” in the first war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
Al Qaeda was and remains a threat to the existing governments throughout the Middle East and, of course, anywhere in the world it wants to target. The U.S. has cut off the snake’s head, but must now remain even more vigilant against retaliation. That said, there is no doubt the organization has been significantly weakened with the loss of its symbolic leader.
Osama bin Laden has become to many Arabs what the Cuban butcher, Che Guevera, became to Communists and their dupes.
My suspicion is that al Qaeda will break into more isolated, individual units in nations throughout the Middle East and become even more vulnerable to being dismembered and destroyed. It is, however, northern African and Middle Eastern nations that are being restructured from within by millions of Muslims who have grown tired of the century’s old oppression that has been Islam’s hallmark.
Americans should not expect democracy to break out in the Maghreb or the Middle East, but it can expect governments there to become more responsive to the expectations and demands of their people. Even those in the Middle East know they are far behind those in the West in terms of any true freedom and justice. They have seen it and they want it.
We are told bin Laden’s body is in American hands. My suggestion—a fanciful one—is that it be embalmed and put on display in the Smithsonian as a reminder of the threat the nation will continue to face for decades to come.
Lastly, at a time when there are discussions of cutting the defense budget, we need to take heed of the courage and skill of those military who attacked the bin Laden compound in Pakistan and rendered the ultimate justice.
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” is a quote attributed to George Orwell, the author of “1984”, a novel warning against all forms of totalitarian government.
Americans, despite our present economic distress, have to keep in mind that our nation has real enemies in the world and they aren’t exclusively Muslim. They are the reincarnated version of the former Soviet Union, Chinese Communists, North Korea, and others that wish us ill.
Their greatest allies will be those who preach isolationism and passivity.
Thus, the role of our military, the wars we choose to fight and where we choose to fight them has never been more critical. Jihad is forever.
For that, we must put our financial house in order and soon—or we shall witness our enemies celebrating, just as we celebrate today.