Seems I’m not the only one who views the death of Osama Bin Laden as something of a surreal anti-climax. I had to smile when I saw the New York Times article entitled “Death of a Failure”. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/opinion/02douthat.html
Failure, indeed. If world domination was Osama’s goal, then surely he fell short. He killed thousands, frightened millions, but never came close to ruling any of us. As always, Christopher Hitchens offered up some choice words. There is, he said, “some minor triumph in the confirmation that our old enemy was not a heroic guerrilla fighter but the pampered client of a corrupt and vicious oligarchy that runs a failed and rogue state.”
There was, in fact, never anything heroic or grand about this man, who issued threats and orders from some secret (or perhaps not-so-secret) location, his danger all the greater because of his invisibility. To me what was frightening about bin Laden was not so much the man, himself, but his ability to unleash deadly discontent on the part of the world’s other Muslim men. He always seemed to me less dangerous than the thousands of other minor villains whom he inspired. Who are still alive and no doubt freshly inspired to carry on Bin Laden’s nihilistic legacy. All the more dangerous because many of them are hiding among us.
Yes there is some karmic satisfaction in seeing the end of Bin Laden. But I’m not entirely convinced that the world is, in fact, a safer place because of it.