So, Ossama bin Laden is dead, they say.
They say it was over in forty minutes, with a bullet in the brain of the Archdeacon of Evil. A hit worthy of a Tom Clancy novel or a blckbuster movie (you can bet dollars to doughnuts that it'll be both within eighteen months). Two helicopters and a couples of platoons.
They should have done that seven years ago. But they didn't. Or more precisely we didn't. Instead, we spent billions of dollars inventing new forces such as Homeland Security, expanding old forces such as the CIA or even the FBI and developping pivate forces to insure our protecton in airpots and other public places. We spent more time and energy policing ourselves than fighting terrorists.
What has that given us? Very little peace: The US alone is waging three wars, France has sent troops to several nations in Africa, and I don't want to guess at what the rest of the world is doing. and it has certainly given us no sense of security. Quite on the contrary. We can no longer meander in a museum without first submitting to a search of our belongings; places like the Sorbonne, which not so long ago allowed anyone to come admire the beautiful, wood panel amphitheaters, now demands that anybody entering show proper ID. We have to take off our shoes before boarding a plane; I wouldn't be surprised if we won't soon be asked to strip naked and wear only company approved garments. Once we could take a plane the way we took the subway; soon we will have to take the subway the way we take a plane.
Because nowadays everyone is a potential terrorist. That person standing next you in the bus a probably going to bomb the nearby department store. The guy in the big coat is probably going to splatter bullets in the mall. Those young people are most certainly going to raid a museum. Not ot mention all those goons who trashed the stadium.We are no longer taught to love our neighbors but to fear them.
But we chose a different path, one of personal greed and collective contempt, predicated on fear.
Bin Laden may be dead, but is we who have been defeated.