Your reactions: Osama Bin Laden's death
Here are some of your views and reactions to the death of Osama Bin Laden, who was last night killed by US Special Forces in Pakistan
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I learned of Bin Laden’s death in as text message from my father. Being early in the morning on a Bank Holiday, the tinny reverberations coming from my mobile phone woke me up. Any curmudgeonly feelings about having been prematurely woken up were quickly forgotten.
The capture of Osama Bin Laden, the single worst terrorist the world has ever known and a man whose actions have dominated global politics for my entire adult life, is a source to me of both elation and relief.
Bin Laden’s death comes at a crucial time, with public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic growing increasingly weary of our involvement in foreign conflicts. If nothing else, it represents “progress” – a quantity which has been lacking in foreign policy over the half-decade.
Reports coming from Washington this morning suggest that Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea in order to avoid the prospect of a macabre shrine which could serve as a rallying point for his followers. I cannot help but remember this is the same way – and for the same reason – Israel disposed of the corpse of Nazi Colonel Adolf Eichmann after his capture in 1962. While there was a sense of finality about the execution of the last of Nazi Germany’s figureheads, there is no sense of closure associated with Bin Laden’s death.
The United States may have succeeded in severing the head of al-Qaeda, but Islamic terrorism is hydra-headed – crossing borders, social classes and lacking one single commander. We’ve won this battle, but we haven’t yet won the war.
Daniel Hamilton is the Director of Big Brother
Another typically early start for the No2AV campaign; the bath’s running, the kettle’s on and the TV switch flips.
They got him.
Well, it took a bit longer than Saddam, and it seems he turned up in more airy and less troglodytic surroundings. There’ll be more said on why he wasn’t slumming it living off stale biscuits in a village shed with yetis for neighbours. Still, it beats the track record for catching the Fakir of Ipi or the Mahdi.
My thoughts turn to colleagues still in theatre from the TA and the National Guard. It’s not the end, not even the beginning of the end … not by a long chalk, not globally. But could it be the trigger that allows the Taliban to drop their Pashtun obligations of Melmastia, of hospitality, towards their old anti-Soviet friends in AQ, to reappraise whether there is a way out through the reconciliation programme?
There’s a chance, the possibility of an easier route after today. A slurp of the tea and on goes my polo top. It’s from the Canadian shop at Kandahar Air Force Base. A happy omen, perhaps.
Dr. Lee Rotherham is the author of 'Ten Years On: Britain Without the European
I was in bed... My initial reaction was: Is this actually true? Having satisfied myself of that, my reaction was: At last, this psychologically iconic figurehead is no more.
What matters now is that minds are refocused on what it is that we are actually fighting when we talk about Islamist terrorism. Fundamentally, it's an idea; an alternative to the West's narrative of democracy and freedom of expression as the cornerstones of our political and social identity, in favour of a narrative that actually views these aspirations as the problem.
Going forwards, it's going to be vitally important that our foreign policy, be it in Afghanistan, Libya or elsewhere, is geared towards winning this battle of ideas and making it clear that what we have to offer is both viable and preferable to that murderous narrative so long embodied in the person of Osama bin Laden?
P.S. Final thought: President Zardari's got some answering to do....
George Grant is the Global Security & Terrorism Director at the Henry Jackson Society
Rupert Myers, Barrister and Writer:
It was my 6am alarm clock, which didn't know it was a bank holiday, that blasted out the Today programme with the news of Bin Laden's death. Barack Obama was the third US President to try and put an end to Osama Bin Laden’s time as pin-up to many of the world’s most disturbed and dangerous terrorists. It is shocking that he may have been living for the last four years in a walled compound within spitting distance of a Pakistani military base, but really I feel two emotions today: gratitude, and dismay.
The consequences of bin Laden’s elimination, once the immediate satisfaction has subsided, can probably be split neatly into two categories: operational and geo-political.
Operationally, the chances of a retaliatory strike against the US or the West by one of Al Qu’aeda’s functionally autonomous franchises must be heightened.
The movement needs to be able demonstrate to its followers firstly, that its potency remains unaffected by the setback, and secondly that its ideological commitment to advancing the cause of jihad remains undimmed.
Moreover, to assume that an organisation which has been successful in the past, and which for 10 years has managed to protect its founder from the retribution of the biggest military capability on the planet, doesn’t already have a contingency plan for just such an eventuality, is reckless.
Geo-politically and regionally, the major consequences must be those stemming from how the US-Pakistan relationship plays out in response.
The revelation that the OBL compound was located close to military intelligence establishments in a city close to the capital is an awkward one for the Pakistani authorities: but paradoxically it may provide the justification needed on both sides to excuse any US decision not to share advance information about the operation, given the US’ long held reservations about elements within the ISI.
The US needs to support the Pakistani authorities, even at the cost of taking some unjustified criticism. After all, Pakistan remains the main overland logistical supply route to ISAF operations in Afghanistan.
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