It is the moment that many have been waiting a decade a more for. How many people have lost their lives in pursuit of the goal remains largely unknown, but it is fair to say that the numbers range in the hundreds of thousands. Two countries with already weak infrastructure have been reduced to rubble, and bombing and drone campaigns throughout the region have continued to damage and create tense relations with the Middle East.
As it might seem, we have just passed the climax of the story. If this were a Hollywood movie. We would all be standing around in awe until one lone soul starts clapping and others gradually join in.
The problem is, that the death of Osama Bin Laden is, for now, just a psychological relief. It is almost guaranteed that international reaction will be mixed. Many will cling to conspiracy theories that he really isn`t dead, while others will tie an American flag around their neck like a cape, get drunk, and pump their fists in the air while chanting "USA". Indeed it has already begun.
While I am certainly not sad the man is dead, I would be lying if I said I were particularly jubilant about the news. Ok, so there is one less "bad guy" in the world. Now what? What happens next to prevent future Bin Laden`s from rising to power? How many more people will have to die in order for US Foreign Policy in the region to change dramatically?
The death of Osama bin Laden proved two things. One, the Iraq War in particular was a waste of human life, and an unwarranted economic burden. The Afghan war, while some might see it as more justifiable, was also unnecessary given that Bin Laden was found in Pakistan and through good intelligence. Had we focused on good intelligence from the start, we might saved lives, and saved face in the international community.
Secondly, our foreign policy has to change dramatically. We can kill individuals and figure heads, but if we don`t find ways to combat the root causes of violence, and animosity, we will be doomed to a cycle of terrorism and war.