Join me for the Where Were You When? Series and share your story about how major world events impacted your life.
Image Credit: Where Were You? Events That Changed The World 26-episode series graphic
Osama bin Laden; the name has haunted the American public for more than a decade and taken on mythical status. On May 2nd of this year, President Obama accomplished what two presidents before him could not, the assassination of Al-Quaeda’s founder and international fugitive. While I don’t believe assassinations should be utilized as a wartime tactic I do believe that the President took the only option that he felt he had available to him at the time. I was in Nairobi, Kenya when President Obama announced Bin Laden’s death and his announcement sent shockwaves through the country and immediately put ex-pats on high alert for possible retaliation from Al-Shabaab.
I watched the announcement and updates on BBC News as well as read local Kenyan news sources. News articles reported mixed feelings about the Al-Quaeda leader’s death; while some welcomed his death as justice for his role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing others railed against the West for it’s interference in international affairs.
What struck me the most was the juxtaposition of Americans celebrating the death of a “terrorist” while the world watched, when 10 years earlier, Americans watched in anger as people on the other side of the world glorified the events of September 11th. I realize rejoicing the death of one man, a fugitive and “terrorist”, is not the same as relishing the deaths of hundreds of innocent Americans. However, it struck me, as I watched the reactions of people half way across the world respond to Bin Laden’s assassination that if we took some time to understand our cultural differences that we could come to coexist peacefully. Unfortunately, the world does not work this way and wars will continue as long as the West continues in its quest for global “Manifest Destiny” and the rest of the world continues to fight the yolk of democracy.
What are your thoughts on the assassination? Do you agree or disagree with the President’s decision to kill bin Laden? Do you think this is helping to bring the “War on Terror” to an end? What could we have done differently; now, under the Bush administration, or under Clinton’s administration?