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May 02 2011

Death of a figurehead

Well it’s official. Osama Bin Laden is dead, and much as I am glad that he is dead, I wish he had been tried for crimes and shown how our justice worked rather than gunned down like this but you can’t get what you want. But what have we achieved?

Osama Bin Laden may be responsible for deaths of thousands. But he isn’t the only one, the ideology behind his odious movement is designed to have multiple redundancies and where no single man is the lynch pin in the organisation.

Oh the flag waving is fun to watch. It’s a very american thing to be happy about out. But it’s not for me. It’s not mission accomplished. It’s cathartic to a lot of americans because they do live in a safe bubble. Protected from geography from the reality of the rest of the world. Osama is the bogey man and the americans have killed him.

I can make anything an excuse!

Osama is not the king in a game of chess, his death does not mean the end of the game. Far from it. It would be like injuring a particularly loud fan of the game or the cheerleader. Osama is not the one running around killing people. He has been just a cheerleader. Sure he may occasionally claim that he is responsible for destroying the Great Satan and routinely claim responsibility for attacks on our civilisations, but is anyone really kidding themselves that this man had any real bearing on those attacks bar ideological support?

It would be like me claiming to mastermind Manchester City’s (yes I am a blue) recent renaissance rather than it being the brainchild of the massive funds of Sheikh Mansoor and the tactical brilliance of Mancini.  No matter how loudly I sing Blue Moon I am not actually influencing the actions of the team on the field beyond encouragement. They are doing the heavy lifting.

Likewise the real heavy lifters of the movement are still out there. These  are quiet men who don’t call attention to themselves. They make these plans throwing away the lives of deluded young men. The actual killing is done by these young men and recently women who come from a variety of backgrounds.

Don’t worry. The big guy told me that orange is particularly effective
at deflecting bullets and machetes.

They don’t have anything to lose. Many don’t have any choice, agreeing to aid these organisations is a one way trip. If you pull out they will also target your family. And a lot of these young men are infact child soldiers who are dragged out of schools in places like Afghanistan and inculcated with this mindset. There is no difference between the tales of Paradise with assorted virgins and the tales of magic T-shirts.

The truly dangerous men are people whose names we will never hear. All we have to remember are these stupid deluded tragic young people and the effect of their misplaced conviction.

I am not sorry to see Osama die, but the rest of us should worry. I fear we may have created a martyr and a figurehead for Al-Qaeda to march under. While he may have been a canker on the world alive, I fear he may do an equal amount of damage, if not more dead. There will be a counter-stroke in the sicillian attitude of American-Islamic Terror exchange, it’s not a case of maybe but a matter of time. If you throw enough spaghetti at a wall something will stick. Eventually one of these misguided young men will strike and the other figureheads will chant his name and how he avenged Osama.

Our fight against islamic extremism isn’t over. It’s not a war that can be won with bullets, missiles and soldiers. It’s a war that has to be won slowly over time. Islamic terror is like the Hydra, for every terrorist plot we stop there are two more launched. It takes thousands of Pounds to thwart a single threat while all it takes is a statement from one man to start a dozen threats. Who cares if a hundred plots fail while one gets through? Most are doomed to failure, if one does succeed it’s a cheap victory. Even if the plots fail, we waste money thwarting them.

It’s also weak against nude greek demigods

No the Hydra can be killed, we just need to be smart about it. Instead of focussing on the heads we should focus on the body. The young men and women who sacrifice themselves to the ideology must come from somewhere. We must figure out how to cut off the supply soon. And the way to do this is education, equality and by making the people safe and to have a future.  A school does more damage to the Taliban’s recruitment drive than any amount of bullets. We need the bullets to keep the schools safe and we need the schools to starve the extremists from their manpower to keep the young men and women who fire bullets for us safe. It’s why the Taliban and all extremists target schools and teachers.

We have thrown down the gauntlet. We cannot stop now else we will be in a far more dangerous place than we once were. We need to step up and destroy the manpower and ideological base for these odious murderers. Until then we can achieve no peace and muslims cannot achieve anything without the spectre of islamic militancy hanging over them. This is something we all must face since no country is really safe from people who would take insult to the most minor of slights and kill due to that.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Larian LeQuella

    Always great to read an opinion from someone who isn't isolated by geography. Also good to see that your thoughts seem to conicide with mine quite a bit!

  2. 2
    A.D. Ellis

    Interesting read. I agree that the death of bin Laden is not the end of the conflict, not even close. I also agree that education is the key to "victory." Unfortunately, people are so isolated in a place like Afghanistan that their education is tinged with local ideals and concepts and as long as we have the Taliban running around out there it is not likely to change quickly. It is going to be a long haul and something we are likely to be dealing with for generations. It hasn't been called The Long War for no reason…

  3. 3
    Avicenna

    Also that education isn't really "on the cards". The USA has a privatised system of redevelopment (If you wish to see the sinister side, I suggest reading The Shock Doctrine) and there isn't any money in education.

    Also in Afghanistan the people usually targeted by Taliban forces are Teachers and Hospital Staff. Makes all the people more dependant on their not very benevolent masters. Its easier to blow something up than to build it.

  4. 4
    Tit for Tat

    If you want a good read try "American Raj" by Eric Margolis. It is an eye opener for sure.

  5. 5
    A.D. Ellis

    Interesting read. I agree that the death of bin Laden is not the end of the conflict, not even close. I also agree that education is the key to "victory." Unfortunately, people are so isolated in a place like Afghanistan that their education is tinged with local ideals and concepts and as long as we have the Taliban running around out there it is not likely to change quickly. It is going to be a long haul and something we are likely to be dealing with for generations. It hasn't been called The Long War for no reason…

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