President Barack Obama deserves all the kudos for killing Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind. He kept his word. On the 2008 campaign trail, candidate Obama pledged to kill the terrorist, not to capture him. But, in killing bin Laden, the US president blew an opportunity to bring bin Laden to justice.
Real justice would have been served by capturing him alive, trying him and sentencing him to… OK, death. The kill gave Bin Laden exactly what he wanted. He would never have chosen the humiliation of being captured alive.
The US “victory” is symbolic. But both the politicians and pundits confuse the end of bin Laden with the end of terror. Global terrorism preceded bin Laden; it will continue long after him. Except for a few tapes released here and there over the last several years, there’s no evidence that bin Laden actually still ran the terror machine himself. I don’t remember the last terrorist attack Bin Laden orchestrated after September 11, 2001.
The killing will yield short term domestic political capital for Obama, and grave consequences for Pakistan. Obama will harvest a substantial amount of kudos at home. He may even use the killing to outmaneuver his opponents during the 2012 Presidential election.
But Pakistan will pay a big prize. Bin Laden’s followers will avenge his death and Pakistan, not America, is the easy target. No, the celebrated killing of bin Laden has not made the world any safer.