Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941; the JFK assassination on November 22nd 1963 and the destruction of the World Trace Center on September 11th 2001, May 1st 2011 is forever inscribed in American history. That day, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the worst terrorist act on US soil, was killed by Navy Seals raiders at a fortified compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, (62 miles) north of Islamabad Pakistan’s capital city. It was a day many Americans wish should have come on September 12th, 2001, but as the old saying goes: better late than never, since Bin laden had, in the past 9 ½ years, become a legendary figure among terror groups for his ability to escape the dragnet of some the world’s most powerful military forces. Most importantly, his bold act had fundamentally altered the American way of life in a way no one could have anticipated, as the need to protect the country from further attacks now takes precedence over civil liberties, those quintessential values that gave birth to the American nation.
Without a doubt, it was a bitter sweet victory for the families of the victims of the 9/11 attack and the thousands of soldiers who fought and died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Had the Al-Qeada leader, who was rumored to have been afflicted with a kidney disease, died of natural causes, US intelligence agencies, the most sophisticated and best funded in the world, would have suffered a terrible blow. Indeed, the war on terror is not over as the threat of terrorist attacks did not dissipate with the demise of Bin Laden. In fact, Ayman al-Zawahri, Al-Qeada’s number two man and its chief organizer, is still alive and will no doubt try to avenge the death of his leader. And then there is the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islamic group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, whose leader Mullah Omar remains an implacable foe of the US.
Former US president George W. Bush, whose presidency (2001-09) was defined by the September 11th 2001 attack, was philosophical about the historic event “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” he said in a statement that echoed the sentiment of president Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, and other world leaders. Another important fact in the Bin Laden saga is that until US government papers are declassified decades into the future, conspiracy theories are bound to flourish and for good reasons. It certainly did not escape the attention of anyone that the late Al-Qeada leader practically lived for years within the confines of Pakistan’s seat of power while that country’s inter-services intelligence agency (ISI) steadfastly claimed not to know his whereabouts.
Americans are known to close rank in times like this one. Even Rush Limbaugh was considerate toward the commander-in-chief “Thank God for president Obama” said the radio commentator and virulent critic of the president. Nevertheless, as soon as the smoke clears, Congress is likely to demand a detailed explanation as to what happened in the last 9 ½ years during which the search for Bin Laden ended up costing the US treasury well over a trillion of dollars, notwithstanding the lives of thousands US soldiers who died on the fields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Make no mistakes; no one should think that George Bush or Barack Obama deliberately pursued a policy of concealment for insidious purposes or geopolitical consideration, but someone or entity is responsible for this mind-boggling tale of deception that makes the American people look like fools. The probable culprits are renegade members of the ISI, who sheltered Bin Laden while Pakistan reaped billions of US taxpayers’ dollars during the protracted search for the Al-Qaeda leader.
Applying conventional wisdom, one was certain that the capture of lower and mi-level Al-Qaeda operatives would ultimately lead to Osama Bin Laden, but no one could have anticipated that he was actually living in a town that is home to retired Pakistani military officers, let alone so close to that country’s premier military academy. Deception is the most common tool utilized by intelligence services to achieve their aims, and the 27 million of dollars bounty offered by the US government for the fugitive leader’s capture was derisory in comparison to the billions Pakistan was reaping while he was alive and in hiding. This simple consideration, along with anti-US sentiment within influential sectors of Pakistani society, may have facilitated the double-crossing of US interests by the ISI. Conversely, an ISI member, who may have been passed over for a promotion, could have tipped the US about the elaborate deception, which may explain why Washington, fearing a larger Pakistani government role in the scheme, did not inform Islamabad of the raid beforehand.
In defending its worldwide security interests, the US sometimes made convenient alliances that ultimately come back to haunt it. In Libya, where the US and NATO are military supporting a ragtag group of rebels against Moammar Khaddafi, the emergence of an Islamic fundamentalist leader is a possibility that should not be discounted, as these people’s aspirations may not square with those of the US and its allies. Terrorism is here to stay; however, the fact that Al-Qaeda is now incapable of mounting a 9/11-style attack or something bigger should be considered the greatest victory against terror rather than Bin Laden’s death.
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