I appeared tonight on ABCTV News’ The Drum (video here) talking about Osama Bin Laden’s murder and its ramifications, alongside Australian Financial Review journalist David Crowe, US Studies Centre Dr Pete Hatemi (formerly in the US military post 9/11) and former CNN correspondent Michael Ware (here’s partial video of the show, mainly featuring the intrepid Ware).
My main theme was highlighting the significance of Bin Laden’s death, and both his importance and irrelevance in 2011. The attacks on September 11 quickly ushered in a Western world obsessed with beefing up intelligence, military spending and foreign wars. The result? None of us are any safer, millions of people are dead and Western forces remain in many Muslim countries. The “war on terror” has been an unmitigated disaster that many in our political and media elites still embrace.
Bin Laden’s failures include a brutal methodology that understandably turned off most people (he killed scores of Muslims, after all). Today the strongest Islamic resistance movements are Hamas, Hizbollah and within the Islamic Republic, all with various roots in political and social sections of societies. Furthermore, the recent Arab uprisings have shown how unappealing was the ideology of Al-Qaeda. Millions of Arabs embraced change, some secular and some religious, and this was achieved despite Western wishes to maintain the status-quo and Bin Laden becoming almost irrelevant in this newfound and necessary resistance.
The celebration of Bin Laden’s death across America shows the infantile nature of mainstream US culture. We are good and They are Evil. I wish I was convinced this death will do anything to change this childish narrative.
I concluded on the program asking what kind of super-power (and its media courtiers) views a man, living in a luxury compound in Pakistan without phone or internet, as the most dangerous figure in the world?
Incidentally, after the show I was talking to Ware about his current projects. He has seen a number of Al-Qaeda videos, some of which have appeared on CNN, and he says they show the terrorist group is “more bureaucratic than the Nazis or the Khmer Rouge”, individuals obsessed with sending memos and following a strict code.