Osama Won

From The Agitator:

In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden’s motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the September 11 attacks, was to draw the U.S. and the West into a prolonged war—an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam.

Osama got both. And we gave him a prolonged war in Iraq to boot. By the end of Obama’s first term, we’ll probably top 6,000 dead U.S. troops in those two wars, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. The cost for both wars is also now well over $1 trillion.

We have also fundamentally altered who we are. A partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list of how we’ve changed since September 11 . . .


  1. What was Osama’s end game? Surely not to erode the rights ensured in a secular constitution, that’s something we have always had to deal with, and something every democracy must confront. His movement has so far accomplished nothing but death. The greater Islamic world seems to want democratic reform, not restoration of the caliphate, so in that sense he has lost.

  2. @ dude–the endgame was to cost us a lot of money and aid extremists in their recruitment efforts. Both were handily accomplished. OBL won; there is no doubt about it.

    1. Any resistance to Islamic fanatics would necessarily have helped recruitment and cost a lot of money and not a few of our lives. I don’t think that’s a very convincing argument against resisting. They lost their safe havens in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are diminished or in hiding, they are losing the argument that we support dictators who oppress them, and predominately Muslim countries are embracing democracy not sharia. It will still be a long struggle, but we are winning, and we will be a stronger nation for it, particularly our military who now has valuable experience fighting this new kind of war.

  3. I hate to say it but he nailed how I felt. Whoopee we finally got him… Now can we get on an airplane without being groped or carrying only enough shampoo for two days? Ooooooo I could go on and on….

  4. Mmmmmmmh?

    I’m not sure that this is the way to look at it at all.

    If we treat all of the Bin Laden ‘Allegeds’ as true, I think its a gross misinterpretation of the events that have occured to say that they have fallen into his plan or that any of the actions and changes in culture are his victories.

    For each of the points described, it’s debatable whether they are actually effective in preventing terrorist activities or the primary goal of a terrorist organisations, however in each case the benefactor is the military/industrial/law enforcement complex, from personal security contracts in Iraq to the company that makes the nudie-x-ray machines, to law enforcement that can do whatever it likes, the benefactors and hence most likely motivators for all of these activities are the agencies that have co-opted and magnified the terrorist threat for their own gain.

    The losers remain the same but the winners are very much alive.

    As someone who lived in Britain during the 70s/80s, one of the saddest betrayals of our govornment is for them to turn from leaders telling us that our lives can not and will not be dictated to by terrorists (The IRA), to one which instead of rejecting the power of terror (one bomb=100bomb threats), piggy backs on it (one bomb = ID cards).

    If the definition of a terrorist is one who creates terror and limits the movements and activities of groups of people in fear of consequences, then….

    1. Ha, your point that ‘the terrorists win’ rhetoric is a distraction from the reality that it’s the contractors etc. who really win is well made.

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