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Ideas Don't Die: A Few Thoughts on Osama Bin Laden
When I heard that the U.S. Navy Seals had killed Al Qaeda leader, America-hater, and all around bad guy Osama Bin Laden after a ten year search, three thoughts went through my mind:
1. This is huge,
2. The War on Terror is not over, and...
3. President Barack Obama's popularity and approval rating just got a tremendous boost, increasing his chances for reelection in 2012.
I figured that Americans were not dumb as far as the war on Terror not being over; at least I hope those folks who were celebrating in places like in front of the White House and Ground Zero in New York City weren't. Only the most naive among us would think that terrorism was dead because the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks was finally done away with.
The whole thing reminded me of a TV show I watched in the mid-1990s, when after a Nazi-like figure was gotten rid of and someone asked how that kind of thing could happen, one of the main characters said something that's prevalent in my mind today:
"People die, ideas don't."
In other words, for the same reason that the Civil Rights Movement did not die because Martin Luther King was killed, the desire of Islamic extremists to turn the world into a Taliban-like state has not died off just because their leader was killed in a compound in Pakistan. Bin Laden's death was a humongous blow, but there are still plenty of Islamists out there who want nothing more than to wipe America and Americans off the planet in an ultimate jihad.
I actually knew that would be the case years before, when I told a friend, "Even if Osama Bin Laden died tomorrow, there will be people wanting and waiting to take his place."
I was also a bit afraid that there may be at least an attempt at retaliation by Al Qaeda. Indeed, there's already speculation to such, particularly where U.S. troops are in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I am definitely not trying to rain on anybody's parade here; Bin Laden's death should be celebrated as he had to go, but at the same time I don't think I'm saying anything overtly original by stating that we as Americans must maintain constant vigilance to those terrorists out there, as it would be an extremely bad idea to ease the security restrictions in airports and other places.
For the same reason that the South's loss in the Civil War and the victories of the Civil Rights Movement did not kill the notion that some whites still have of African Americans being inherently inferior, Osama Bin Laden's death has not killed Islamist fundamentalism - the idea of such remains alive, and we must all remain on alert.
I certainly hope people keep that in mind as they are celebrating out there.