Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden dead? So that means...

Supposedly, Osama bin Laden has been killed.  Well, okay, you'll have to forgive me if I only say "supposedly", since this is the third time since 9/11 that he's supposedly been killed.  Even Benazir Bhutto, prior to her assassination claimed he was already dead.  Gee, it's not as if terrorist leaders ever have body doubles like that Saddam fellow had.  While there is DNA evidence, we do have to remember that DNA evidence when compared against a family member can only really give proof that the people are blood relatives.  The type of profiling done in forensic applications is only dealing with major chunks of genes...  it is not a 100% complete nucleotide-to-nucleotide comparison.  Granted, I'm also a little bothered by the shoddy reporting where there is a great deal of inconsistency -- one moment, he's in a roughshod compound, the next moment it was actually a luxury mansion...  And the report about DNA evidence says something about 99.9% confidence that it's actually him?  I only have a cursory understanding of the technique, and even I know that DNA profiling doesn't offer that.  It's a classic case of telling you the story when they don't even have all the facts dead on the mark.

Well, that aside, it's still a little more likely he's really dead this time, though I'm a little bothered by the whole burial at sea within 24 hours thing.  Yeah, I know the cries of "must respect the local culture," to which I have to say bullshit.  Aside from my usual gripe that it's not to be respected if it's not worthy of respect, holding and killing a major terrorist figurehead who is a top priority enemy of several nations kind of qualifies as an extenuating circumstance which should warrant thorough examination and verification.  The setting in which the kill was executed was a little too unassuming to believe, but there's the counterpoint that he probably kept only the most trusted individuals in his company and avoided drawing attention to himself.

My big problem is really this -- So you've killed the figurehead...  what good does that do?  It's not like the Taliban, al Qaeda, Mujahideen, et al will all collapse now and he was the sole supporting pillar of Islamic terrorism.  There's still a pretty stable network set up covering the entirety of the Middle East by which supplies and weapons and training can be provided to support terrorists for centuries to come...  and let's not forget who set up this network in the first place -- the good ol' U.S. of A.

If anything, there's room for backlash and for new organizations to emerge, and the United States is still a nation of fear, a nation of paranoia, and a nation that clears its problems away with guns.  Sure, you're going to have people who feel the war on terror is somehow over now...  you're also going to have the people who feel that the war has some momentum now...  but overall, I don't think anybody really believes we're somehow safe now.  It's really just a moment of gloating over a perceived moment of victory.