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Osama bin Laden’s Death and the Future of War on Terror

What effect will Osama bin Laden’s death have on America’s War on Terror? What effect will Osama bin Laden’s death have on America’s War on Terror?

The face of contemporary terrorism, al Qaeda figurehead Osama bin Laden, was shot and killed in Pakistan following a firefight with a United States Military Special Ops team. President Barrack Obama made the announcement late Sunday evening. The news was met with a response of joy and relief in America and around the world. But while the event will undoubtedly mark a monumental place in modern history, the impact of bin Laden's death on America's War on Terror will only be revealed in time.

The war on terror continued with the image of bin Laden still burned into American consciousness.

Crowds gathered all over the United States on Sunday night in response to the news of bin Laden's death. At the Ground Zero site, citizens waved flags and sang the Star Spangled Banner. In Washington D.C., just outside of the White House, crowds cheered in celebration.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, bin Laden became the most sought after criminal in the world. The United States Armed Forces began an intensive search for the terrorist mastermind, determined to bring him and his terrorist organization to justice before the world. Then-President Bush launched the campaign in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, vowing to eliminate the threat of al Qaeda and terrorist violence in the Middle East and in the West. The United States military spent the next few years scouring the hills and caves of Afghanistan, where, according to military intelligence, bin Laden was hiding. However, after eluding the armed forces, and failing to release any public addresses, it was assumed that bin Laden's role in the group had significantly diminished and that he was probably no longer calling the shots. The war on terror continued with the image of bin Laden still burned into American consciousness, which throbbed with the pain of the attacks and the thought that bin Laden would not be punished for his actions. Now, justice has been done.

It does come as a bit of a surprise that bin Laden was discovered in a highly-fortified compound just north of Islamabad in the thriving rural town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, instead of in a cave or buried in a bunker somewhere in Afghanistan where he was long presumed to be hiding. This fact is particularly interesting given that Abbottabad is also the home of a Pakistani military academy. It was after an investigation lasting more than 10 years that U.S. intelligence forces were able to pinpoint one of bin Laden's most trusted couriers, likely acting as the only liaison between bin Laden and other al Qaeda officials, who led them to the luxury compound.

But was does bin Laden’s death mean for America and war in the Middle East? Will America identify another boogeyman, or find a way to diminish their role in that overseas conflict?

Saddam Hussein has been killed; now Osama bin Laden is dead too. Is it time to bring the troops back home? Was the war really all about getting to one man? It would be naïve to think so. While the internal structure of al Qaeda may now be damaged, bin Laden’s death may not hinder the organization's ability to wage a cohesive counterstrike. In fact, some experts speculate that the death of the terrorist icon could result in backlash from Islamic extremists. There’s also controversy about bin Laden’s burial at sea, its legitimacy, and its appropriateness. Conspiracy theories are already popping up. The question is this: should America rejoice? The world may feel better knowing that some justice has been served, but how much difference will a single death make? One of the most prominent figureheads in the war on terror has been put to rest, but only time can tell what impact that will have.

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President Barrack Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden.
Last modified on Friday, 31 August 2012 14:17

Cameron Handley is a left-handed English major who grew up spreading Holly-tone and hunting for morels in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He recently found himself relocated to the concrete jungle, but plans to make his way West in the future. Cameron hopes to one day make a living combining his love for gardening with his passion for writing and philosophy.

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/cameron-handley

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