Slide Show: What Will Osama bin Laden's Death Mean for the 'War on Terror'? | The Nation

Slide Show: What Will Osama bin Laden's Death Mean for the 'War on Terror'?

  • Osama bin Laden

    Osama bin Laden in an undated video still (1 of 8)

    On Sunday, May 1, President Barack Obama delivered an address to the nation announcing the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. Obama’s call to Americans to remember that “justice has been done,” Katrina vanden Heuvel writes today, “is a defining opening to seize. It is time to end the ‘global war on terror’ we have lived with for this last decade. It is time to stop defining the post 9/11 struggle against stateless terrorists a ‘war.” And it is time to bring an end to the senseless war in Afghanistan that has cost this nation so much in lives and money.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • Osama bin Laden's compound

    A Pakistani soldier stands near bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan (2 of 8)

    Jeremy Scahill explains that “the team of US Special Operations Forces who killed Osama bin Laden in a pre-dawn raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan were led by elite Navy SEALS from the Joint Special Operations Command,” widely considered “the most elite warriors in the US national security apparatus.” But “the fact that bin Laden's compound was a stone's throw from a Pakistani military installation in an urban area raises disturbing questions about how Pakistan's military or intelligence services would not be aware of his location.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • Afghanistan

    A boy and a US soldier in the village of Gorgan, Afghanistan (3 of 8)

    As Tom Hayden writes today, bin Laden’s death “is not likely to end the Long War on ‘Terror,’ now spreading from Iraq to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and a dozen other theaters of counterterrorism.” Whether the war ends with bin Laden depends largely on whether the US moves away from primarily military involvement in the Middle East to “more active support of the youthful social revolution sweeping the Arab world today, which has already surpassed Al Qaeda in its scope and momentum.”


    Credit: Reuters Pictures

  • Osama bin Laden

    Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, 1998 (4 of 8)

    In 1998, British Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk described his visit to bin Laden’s mountaintop camp in Afghanistan to interview the leader of Al Qaeda, but bin Laden seemed more interested in the newspapers Fisk brought with him than anything else. “As I sat there watching the man who had declared a ‘holy war’ against the United States a year earlier—the man who was supposedly the ‘mastermind of world terrorism’—I reflected that he didn’t seem to know much about the world he was supposedly terrorizing.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • World Trade Center after 9/11

    A firefighter stands at ground zero of the World Trade Center attack site (5 of 8)

    Immediately after September 11, 2001, The Nation’s editors emphasized that our legitimate right of response to the attacks was in no way an endorsement of unlimited force. “Our objective should be justice, not vengeance,” The Nation urged. “We will advance justice, as well as national security, by sticking to the facts and the cooperative procedures of international law and institutions (which means seeking a mandate from the UN Security Council and supporting a special world court to try the perpetrators of terrorism), and by recognizing that a random slaughter of more innocents is immoral and contrary to America's self-interest, as well as to its core beliefs.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • George W. Bush

    President George W. Bush at the White House in Washington (6 of 8)

    In a speech on September 20, 2001, President Bush pledged not to wage war on Islam but then proclaimed, "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." The President, The Nation’s editors wrote, “thus broadened the scope of his war to include, potentially, sanctions or even attacks on nation-states deemed not to be ‘with us.’”


    As an alternative to wide-ranging military intervention, the editors proposed that the US re-examine the role its foreign policy has played in creating the pools of anti-Americanism that breed terrorists… Such a re-examination should lead to a more humane and truly internationalist foreign policy that recognizes a responsibility to other nations.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • Afghanistan

    A US soldier in Afghanistan (7 of 8)

    “Bin Laden’s elimination means that the symbolic leader of Al Qaeda–style terrorism worldwide, and the inspiration for follower and copycat groups in Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North Africa and elsewhere, is gone,” Robert Dreyfuss writes today. What’s more, “If President Obama needs any more reason to order an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan in July, the killing of bin Laden provides a perfect opportunity to declare victory and end the war.”


    Credit: Reuters Pictures

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama on Sunday, May 1 (8 of 8)

    According to John Nichols, Barack Obama, “who conservative critics continue to dismiss as somehow less capable or less committed to battling terrorism than his predecessor, George W. Bush, has done what Bush never could: announce that US forces under his command had found and killed the leader of Al Qaeda.” Foreign policy coups count for less in times of economic instability, but Obama secured a major victory for his 2012 reelection campaign by overseeing the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.


    For links to The Nation’s complete coverage of Osama bin Laden's death, click here.

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