After bin Laden: West
Must Reflect on its Methods of Self-Defense
"It's now up to the West to
clean up the negative and illegal aspects of its self-defensive reaction to jihad.
It has failed to defend the human rights of those jailed or detained, if only
temporarily. While the fear of terrorism, outpouring of hysteria and sense of
exceptionalism that resulted are understandable, they aren't feasible in the
The physical disappearance of
Osama bin Laden should also lead to the disappearance of the political
disasters he created, as well as those he provoked. The central contribution of
the al-Qaeda leader to the history of world depravity is the transformation of
terrorism into the backbone of a new type of massive and devastating warfare. Its
only opponent is civil society and its chief victims are anonymous, defenseless
citizens, Western and non-Western, Muslim and Christian. But that's not all:
The cynical manipulation of weak, corrupt and non-viable states; his emergence
as a political actor in an underground crime network - or rather a criminal
franchise using religion as a cloak - and his attempt to enshrine his fanatical
beliefs under international law, are just a few of his other contributions.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Muslims were the first to bury
bin Laden's legacy, even before his death. This is the story of the Arab
revolutions. Inspired by democratic principles, these are the antithesis of the
theocratic and dictatorial doctrine preached by the al-Qaeda founder. It's now
up to the West to clean up the negative and illegal aspects of its
self-defensive reaction to jihad. It has failed to defend the human rights of
those jailed or detained, if only temporarily. While the fear of terrorism, outpouring
of hysteria and sense of exceptionalism that resulted are understandable, they
aren't feasible in the long term.
The United States,
particularly under George W. Bush, declared a permanent state of global emergency
and legalized the use of torture, extraterritorial prisons and illegal wars. America
should reflect on the fact that the successful operation against bin Laden
developed after these political principles died out. And, likely as a result of the Bush approach,
Guantanamo has done more to discredit democracy than to help it achieve victory.
Precise knowledge of what happened
in Pakistan will help us determine just how scrupulous Obama has been using the
legitimate methods democracies have at their disposal to fight their enemies.
The Americans can no longer adhere to the principle that the end justifies the
And yet, it would be
difficult to deny that the U.S. is legitimately and legally involved in a
defensive war against al-Qaeda. The United Nations recognized this fact in its
resolution immediately after September 11. The command that ultimately killed
bin Laden was part of this authority. And while the jihadists have sought to
blur the lines between bin Laden's assassination and military action, between
the state and this religious "mafia," between transgressions and
respect, no sane person would buy into that game. The questioning of the legitimacy
of one's actions is the first imperative of a liberal culture.
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