Osama Bin Laden dead - what does it really mean?

With the death of OBL, what does it mean for Al Quaeda? Will they be crippled by his death or will the various factions unite and become even more dangerous? What about Pakistan, what was their role? Do you believe they didn't know his location?
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Asked:
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sbdt8631Commented:
Jason210
In my opinion there is a line a person can cross after which he forfeits his humanity.  Osama bin Laden not only crossed that line, he could no longer look backward and see it.  I no more think it barbaric that he was violently killed and many are happy to be rid of him than I would think it barbaric to shoot a rabid dog and be glad of its absence.
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Jason210Commented:
For the USA, it means they now have some justification for pulling out of Afghanistan. I would not be surprised if his death was timed for this purpose, or even fabricated. Hopefully it will mean an end to the "War on Terror" and an end to the US support of totalitarian regimes around the world who support this absurd US foreign policy. As I said, uncanny timing in the light of the Arab Spring.

For the folk dancing around Ground zero, chanting "Bin Laden is dead" etc, it means party time. However I must say that it disturbs me very much to see people dancing with joy at someone's violent death. The media unnanimously present us with this news as if it's the best news to come from the middle east so far. World leaders like Cameron "hail his death" and welcome that news with unanimious enthusiam. Americans run around ground zero, cheering, singing and flag waving in a frenzy of celebration and enjoyment at the news his death. What happend to civilisation, to humanity? When exactly did we suddenly forget we were human beings and start behaving like animals in a return to the barbarism of medieval times? I find myself increasingly distanced from this kind of behaviour. I don't belong to that crowd, whatever it is. Although his death might be viewed by the USA as a symbolic victory, and however bad Bin Laden my be judged to have been, he is still a human being and his death a human tradegy. Let's not forget that, lest we lose our humanity.

For Al Quaeda, his death is largely a symbolical, psychologcal loss. Most of its original leaders are either dead or have long been in custody. OBL's death kind of puts the wrapper on it.

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CCSOFlagCommented:
what does it mean for Al Quaeda?

Change in leadership.  That's it.  Al Qaeda will continue to operate as long as there are those willing to lead and willing to follow.  I don't think his death will phase them much at all.  His comrades know what is going on as well as his advisors.  It will be business as usual.  

What about Pakistan, what was their role? Do you believe they didn't know his location?
Depends on who you are referring to.  I'm sure there were plenty of loyalists who knew his location.  As far as his enemies, I'm not so sure.  I do have a hard time believing we haven't been able to find him until now.  I'm a bit suspect about the whole thing to be honest.  It's coming at quite an opportune time for Obama, especially if he does pull out the troops.  Can you say jump in approval rating?  
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sbdt8631Commented:
"Many analysts see bin Laden's death as largely symbolic since he was no longer believed to have been issuing operational orders to the many autonomous al Qaeda affiliates around the world."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110502/pl_nm/us_obama_statement

I doubt it will have any significant effect on al Qaeda worldwide.
I imagine some in Pakistan were probably involved in the raid, but I doubt it was widespread.  It is not much of a secret that many in Pakistan's government support the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Jason210
As a person who lives four miles from the Flight 93 crash site I can understand the satisfaction many Americans feel that Osama bin Laden is dead. While dancing in the streets at the news of his death might seem a little vulgar, it is not surprising that some celebrate the killing of a mass murderer responsible for over three thousand dead Americans.   You may think "he is still a human being and his death a human tradegy."  I think his death is a fine thing and am glad that US Forces were responsible.
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Jason210Commented:
sbdt8631
I was as shocked and horrified as you about the incidents of 9/11. That was a human tragedy. I can understand the satisifaction many Americans may feel, but my point is when humans lose our sense of humanity, man then that makes the most atrocious actions seem appropriate and welcomed.

Another thing is, I cannot feel any rejoicement at the death of someone, however bad they may have been, when I am familiar with those people. For whatever reason I find his death disturbing. Not because I sympathize with him or what he did, with bin Laden's death I have a familiar face and a sad internal reaction such as I do to the violent deaths of anyone with whom I have become familiar for whatever reason.

I dislike Gadaffi, view him as an equally violent, disturbed, and murderous man. But, I will not rejoice in his death. To rejoice in the death of another is barbaric and reflects how far we, too, have walked down the path of barbarity.
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Jason210Commented:
QED
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sbdt8631Commented:
"QED is sometimes jokingly claimed to abbreviate "quite easily done". QED can also be used to ridicule the specious reasoning of another person by mockingly attaching it to the end of a poor argument, which was not in fact successfully demonstrated or presented."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.E.D.

If you notice I started my comment with "In my opinion."
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CCSOFlagCommented:
As weird as it may sound I agree with both of you.  I do agree that rejoicing in the streets because a person has been killed is a bit barbaric IMO.  There is a difference between being glad that someone is dead and rejoicing in the streets.  Personally, I'm indifferent at his death.  I do not believe it is going to change anything with the terrorist organizations.  I think the death of anyone is tragic to some extent no matter their age or worldly dealings.  On the other hand, I understand the anger and outrage that people have felt and now that they know the one responsible is dead, they can maybe be at peace.  I guess what I'm saying is, it's a bit extreme to be dancing in the streets, but I think it is human nature to feel satisfaction in revenge.  
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Jason210Commented:
Another thing I find disturbing about this affair is that OBL was not found hiding in a cave in the mountains, nor in the the lawless tribal region of Pakistan where he was believed to have been hiding, but in highly protected compund in central part of the Military Acadamy town of Abbottabad, according to reports.
What was he doing there and how the hell did the US get to carry out a military operation there?

Whatever the outcome of OBLs death in a shoot out there, it puts Pakistan in a embarrassing if not a difficult position. Al Quaeda will probably want revenge against Pakistan for his death, since Pakistan must have cooperated with the USA, while on the other hand the rest of the world may begin to think like I am beginning to think - has Pakistan become a new hub for terrorism?


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sbdt8631Commented:
CCSOFlag
I stated above that dancing in the streets over news of OBL's death was vulgar, but I think barbaric is too strong of a term.  I don't think there is anything barbaric about being glad a mass murderer is dead.  I also agree that his death will not make much long term difference in the operation of terrorist organizations.

Jason210
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110502/wl_time/httpglobalspinblogstimecom20110502binladensdeathwhatthismeansforpakistansisixidrssfullworldyahoo
"Just a few weeks ago, U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen told Pakistani English-language newspaper Dawn that the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had a "relationship" with the al Qaeda affiliated Haqqani network: "

Pakistan apparently has very conflicted government with factions that support the west as well as factions that support the Taliban and al Qaeda.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.  I don't claim to know enough about that region of the world to make a prediction.

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ropennerCommented:
I thought it ironic that 2 billion people of the world sat and listened to the words
   "recompense to no man evil for evil."

during the royal wedding reading in Romans.

This was then quickly juxtaposed with a death announcement of the leader of al qaeda and the rejoicing afterwards.

Seems quite like a 'lord of the flies' (William Golding) moment where the kids fight and dance until the adults arrive.  There is no blame for this behaviour as it comes natural to children without role models and leaders to guide them.

I think we can simply do better in our future and it is in the hands of parents, leaders, and role models.

For example the Canadian Prime Minister used these words to address al qaeda's leader's demise

 "sombre satisfaction"

This is a step in the direction of maturity, but I think we can do even better.
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ropennerCommented:
I believe in the adage
   "what you resist persists"

So to answer the question:  Al qaeda continues to grow directly proportional to our violent response to it.
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leonstrykerCommented:
Al qaeda continues to grow directly proportional to our violent response to it.

I will answer that with a quote from John F. Kennedy:

"We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
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ropennerCommented:
Ghandi would agree with that whole heartedly and yet he didn't push back (how I interpret 'resist': an active pushing back... it rhymes ... so it may not be the best word there).  He did oppose with every ounce of his being though through passive resistance.
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ropennerCommented:
perhaps a better description of this is the martial arts strategy of transforming the energy put out by the opponent and having it work against itself.

The alternative to this is hitting them harder and in response taking harder blows from your opponent until one is exhausted.  It is this approach that I do no think will work, because now there are at least 50 000 more families broken apart by violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and each child of those families will not be thinking 'thank you for killing my parents', but rather 'I am messed up because of this and have no qualms of retaliation because I have no leaders or role models that would teach me different.'

This latter approach would work if we could ensure that all holes are plugged and no means are available to that child for retaliation when they grow up, but that is unrealistic in my view.

We keep hitting them with a bat and they turn into two (greek hydra)
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ropennerCommented:
It is more simply perhaps (for the less poetic and more scientifically inclined)

Newtons 3rd law:

III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
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leonstrykerCommented:
We keep hitting them with a bat and they turn into two (greek hydra)

Same logic as was claimed in Iraq.

The fact of the matter is they will hate us no matter what, and our modern sensibilities will not allow us to wipe them out (which is the only true victory that can be achieved), so the answer is to make them pay a price they are not willing to pay.
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ropennerCommented:
"hate us no matter what".  I have a more hopeful scenario to offer below.

Yes, exactly  "a price they are not willing to pay".  Or slightly reworded "offer something they are more attracted to that killing us".  These are similar statements because when I give a man something and they are not willing to give back they are not willing to 'pay the price'.

I agree some cannot be consoled in such a way but those are not the ones I'm talking about ... For those, they need to be removed from civilized people because they cannot act civilized.  They don't play well with others.

However for the masses of people that just want to live a life and make a living, the deaths that have resulted from these conflicts have created 'haters' out of people that were just 'just let me live my life'ers.

There is a way to attract the masses to the warmth of the sun (food, jobs, health care, security) rather than make them afraid of the wind (conflict and threat of death), and thus have them remove their coats (hatred).  In this story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_North_Wind_and_the_Sun the wind doesn't win but makes the man hold tighter to his coat (hatred).

I believe that 'attracting to' rather than fear from is the only effective approach.

In answer to the original question:  History teaches that children orphaned in afganistan became the taliban fighters.  This will happen in some mutation to the children of all conflicts if someone leads them in that direction.
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BigRatCommented:
>>"We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Fine words, but unfortunately just that, as Vietnam and other places has shown.

I shall shed no tears for OBL, although I'm not happy about the killing, basically along the same lines as ropenner. I would have prefered him to have been arrested and placed on trial in the International Court at The Hague. I'm quite aware that that would have been an impossibility, given the hysteria in America, but the advantage would have been to discredit the man and his philosophy. We have seen people standing on bridges in Belgrade with target stickers on them supporting the nationalistic and racist aspirations of Milosovitch. You'd be pressed to find somebody who still thinks that way today. Furthermore we have seen similar things concerning Croatian and Serbian "war heros" who have been dragged in front of the court for their crimes.
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Jason210Commented:
I shall shed no tears for OBL, although I'm not happy about the killing, basically along the same lines as ropenner. I would have prefered him to have been arrested and placed on trial in the International Court at The Hague. I'm quite aware that that would have been an impossibility, given the hysteria in America, but the advantage would have been to discredit the man and his philosophy.

Not only that, but I think it would have helped victims more to come to terms with the 9/11 tragedy if he had been given the chance to talk about his actions, answer their questions, or to at least allow the victims to hear what he had to say. for the last 10 years OBL has been like some mythical being, a monster to some, a saint to others. Now he will remain a myth, he will remain eternally elusive, unreachable.

Also I don't agree with executions, escpecially givernment sanctioned ones, nor the celebrations that follow them. Such celebration is no more than a wanton stimulation of our lower instincts and indicates a lack of empathy. Also, they do not send out the right signal to the rest of the world.

I was glad to see on Swedish television last night that at least one government official said he did not think that the celebrations in Washington and New York were a good thing.

What was it Obama said about it... that they embodied the patriotic spirit of America?

Aaaaaa hoooo! Waaaaa hooooo!

Smoked!
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sbdt8631Commented:
Trying OBL at the Hague would have given him a soapbox from which he could continue to spread his hatred.  Bringing him in alive would have provided a rallying point to his followers to incite them to further violence against western countries.  They most likely would have committed multiple terrorist acts seeking his release.  Killing him was not a reaction to the so called "hysteria in America".  It was the simplest, most practical solution to the problem. KISS is still a valid procedure to follow.
Calling Americans hysterical or barbaric because we are glad that he is dead is applying an unfair label.  IMO the man was a mass murderer and deserved to die.
Incidentally, I was listening to a talk show interviewing one of the celebrants from Washington.  They were primarily college students, done with finals, who rushed down when they heard the news.  They were most likely blowing off steam at the end of finals as much as they were truly celebrating a man's death.  Young people do that.  Sometimes inappropriately.
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BigRatCommented:
>> and our modern sensibilities will not allow us to wipe them out.......................leonstryker

If you translate this into German it sounds like something out of the 1930s :-

und unsere modernen Empfindungen wollen uns nicht erlauben, sie zu vernichten (das ist der einzig wahre Sieg, der erreicht werden kann), so lautet die Antwort, sie zahlen einen Preis, den sie nicht bereit zu zahlen sind.
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Jason210Commented:
Interesting how we invent acronyms to dehumanise and santise the killing of another human being. KISS and EKIA etc...
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Jason210Commented:
If you translate this into German it sounds like something out of the 1930s :-

Lol-- thought it sounded familiar!
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leonstrykerCommented:
Everything sounds like that in German:

"Wir, das Volk der Vereinigten Staaten, um zu bilden eine perfekte Union, Gerechtigkeit herzustellen, zu versichern inländischen Ruhe, bieten für die gemeinsame Verteidigung, die allgemeine Wohlfahrt zu fördern und sichern die Segnungen der Freiheit zu uns selbst und unserer Nachkommenschaft, ordinieren und schaffen diese Verfassung für die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika."
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BigRatCommented:
>>Trying OBL at the Hague would have given him a soapbox from which he could continue to spread his hatred.

There is no evidence that this is the case. It didn't happen in Nurenburg, nor did it happen with Saddam (who looked really stupid in court), nor with any of the Balkans war criminals, nor with Eichmann. In fact I can't think of anybody who has used a courtroom as a soapbox.

>> Bringing him in alive would have provided a rallying point to his followers to incite them to further violence against western countries.

One needs to be a bit careful here. The purpertrators of criminal acts in Western countries are mostly westerners themselves - people convinced of OBLs "cause", which in fact they have not the slightest idea of Exposing OBL to THOSE people would be a good thing. The acts of volence in Iraq and Afghanistan have little to do with AQ and a lot with political power struggles.

>>Calling Americans hysterical or barbaric because we are glad that he is dead is applying an unfair label

Well the term "barbaric" was not used. Let's stick to hysterical and lets get it right. It has nothing to do with OBLs death but a lot to do with overreactions to "terror", which has been going on for a long time. Billions of dollars are spent on "Home Security" after 9/11 for what was in effect a one-off by OBL whereas the anthrax affair (which has far more potential for life and limb) has been virtually ignored, since it wasn't motivated by "Islamists". The prisoners in Gitmo were held without charge and most let go (although they're supposed to be "top die hard terrorists" and only a couple have been "tried" and that frankly in an unrecognised court. Basically Americans are not willing to apply the justice which they go on about when they think their interests would be compromised. Perhaps Kennedy's speach should have been "We shall break any promise, discard any principle, commit any crime, in order to maintain the standard of hyprocracy we have attained".

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BigRatCommented:
>>... um zu bilden eine perfekte Union...

Tsk, Google translate. "um eine perfekte Union zu bilden". You don't speak German then, leon?
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Jason210Commented:
In fact I can't think of anybody who has used a courtroom as a soapbox.
Göring did, actually. But it didn't do him much good, except perhaps one of the American guards smuggled him a cyanide capsule.
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>Interesting how we invent acronyms to dehumanise and santise the killing of another human being. KISS and EKIA etc...
Osama bin Laden dehumanized himself by ordering mass murder on multiple occasions, 1993 World Trade Center, African Embassy, USS Cole and 911.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
i'm a bit surprised by the number of people that do not support the different "celebrations" of OBL's death. While I personally wouldnt go dancing in the streets, I am quite happy that our civilization has one less bad apple in it. No one seemed to be sad when Hitler died, or Jeffery Dahmer, and I'm quite sure that most victims of these types of people felt some sense of closure on it, which in my mind, they deserved.

sbdt said earlier in the thread "In my opinion there is a line a person can cross after which he forfeits his humanity", which I couldnt agree with it more. There are just some acts done that disallows ones right to life. Giving OBL a world stage to preach his views is not something he deserved. The US did the right thing following Islamic tradition and quickly disposing of the body at sea (although I dont think he even deserved that, but thats just my own anger towards him), giving him anything else would be unnneccessary.

Back to my question regarding Pakistans role, I'm really worried they knew more than they let on, and this could eventually lead to more war(s). I dont understand how he could be hiding out in a military town or city, with his compound really standing out, it just seems a bit sketchy to me.
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sbdt8631Commented:
BigRat
I can argue with very little of what you said in the last paragraph of your last post.
>> It has nothing to do with OBLs death but a lot to do with overreactions to "terror", which has been going on for a long time.
You are right.  America has overreacted to terror and this overreation has nothing to do with the general satisfaction that OBL is dead.
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>I dont understand how he could be hiding out in a military town or city, with his compound really standing out, it just seems a bit sketchy to me.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/us-says-it-has-complicated-ties-with-pakistan/articleshow/8159669.cms
"Because they have provided extremely useful assistance over the years. And we look forward to cooperating with Pakistan going into the future.
It's a big country and a big government, and we have to be very focused and careful about how we do this because it is an important relationship.
I would also say that the idea that these kind of complications exist is not new... This is not an issue that arrived on our doorstep on Sunday."

This is nothing new.  Some in Pakistan support the US.  Some do not.
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leonstrykerCommented:
You don't speak German then, leon?

Nope, guilty as charged. German is not one of my languages. I also do not speak Chinese, Japanese, French, and/or Arabic

BTW, Bin Laden could not have been tried for 9/11 at the International Criminal Court because its jurisdiction runs only from 2002.

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Jason210Commented:
Osama bin Laden dehumanized himself by ordering mass murder on multiple occasions, 1993 World Trade Center, African Embassy, USS Cole and 911.
That's not the point. Two wrongs don't make a right. But I'm afraid you will never understand my point.
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sbdt8631Commented:
Jason210
>>That's not the point. Two wrongs don't make a right. But I'm afraid you will never understand my point.

I understand your point quite well.  I just don't agree with it.  I do not think it was wrong to kill Osama bin Laden.
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BigRatCommented:
>>Some in Pakistan support the US.  Some do not.

Yes, we have a rather complex political situation in Pakistan. The country, which is an acronym, came into existance as basioally an islamic place. They have an inherent mistrust of anything Indian, Persian and essentially western. particularly in the north of the country, where they still celebrate their successes with the first Afghan War and the various skirmishes with the British. There are also a lot of rules concerning the handling of guests - you don't hand them over to the police! Hardly a western country tolerates foreign criminals - they mostly have to go incognito to South America, but in the Pastoon regions of the north they'd house Adolf Hitler if he came in peace. The NATO forces in Afghanistan have repeatedly violated Pakistani airspace, have indiscriminatingly dropped explosives via drones on the population (less so these days), and have violated Pakistan borders. The Americans have even kidnapped people in Pakistan and flown them out of the country. There has also been many discussions in the West by senior politicians and thier advisors concerning the "taking over" of Pakistans nuclear facilities in the event of a "terrorist" takeover. In fact many "first strike" senarios have been explorer here in the West and extensively reported in the Pakistani press. It is therefore hardly surprising that the Pakistanis don't break centuaries old traditions and hand over a guest to the West. They'll rather keep the guest under surveillance, insure that he does no harm (which would in any case be so since that would break the guest/host relationship) and hope that one day a solution would be found. Since the removal of the military dictator president Musharraf there has been a shift towards real democracy so it is perhaps valid to speculate that the tip off was "controlled".
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Jason210Commented:
I understand your point quite well.  I just don't agree with it.  I do not think it was wrong to kill Osama bin Laden.
Ok, so you believe in the death penalty, I don't. Can leave it there?
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Jason210Commented:
They'll rather keep the guest under surveillance, insure that he does no harm (which would in any case be so since that would break the guest/host relationship) and hope that one day a solution would be found.
I think that sounds very civilised and humane.

While I think the American operation was extraordinarily well executed and while I understand that it sends out a clear message to the world that the USA can catch any criminal it chooses, I find the idea that they can invade another country's airspace, break into a high security compound in a military city, kill people, and kidnap others and get out again - disturbing. I can offer no explanation as to why -- it just disturbs me.

The_big_Daddy
i'm a bit surprised by the number of people that do not support the different "celebrations" of OBL's death. While I personally wouldnt go dancing in the streets, I am quite happy that our civilization has one less bad apple in it. No one seemed to be sad when Hitler died, or Jeffery Dahmer, and I'm quite sure that most victims of these types of people felt some sense of closure on it, which in my mind, they deserved.
One of the problems I have is that people call OBL "evil", and then he's dead, celebrate. As if it's that simple. There's a whole history behind OBL, why he happened and why 9/11 happened, and whole lot of people responsible, not just OBL.

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sbdt8631Commented:
BigRat
Interesting about the Pastoon rules concerning the handling of guests.  I did not know that.  It explains quite a bit.

Jason210
Yes, lets agree to disagree.
I also agree that it is not so simple as OBL is dead and all is now good.  In the US there is much talk that implies that al Qaeda will be severly damaged from this and that because of it, we can now withdraw from Afganistan.  As though it will be that simple.  I doubt in long run that much will change.
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BigRatCommented:
>> we can now withdraw from Afganistan.  As though it will be that simple.

Well in fact it is really very simple. You just pack up and go home. After all we've virtually no investments there (as against the Chinese), it's a bottomless pit as far as aid is concerned. We've no chance of influencing the local politics. And we have been singularly unsuccessful in stopping the drug trade. If the Americans pack up the Europeans will go as well. In fact they may be the first to go, listening to the comments here in Germany.

The only problem is the comittments made in regard to human rights, justice, democracy, and liberty.

For that I'll refer you to post ID: 35516388.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
@Jason210 - You're right, its not the end of the war on terror. All I meant (and I probably could have worded it better had I had my caffeine intake at that point) was with OBL being dead, the face of AQ has been killed. He was the spokesman for AQ, and for the last 10 years, he was the face of terrorists, the one terrorist that made the world finally pay attention that there are these groups out there that CAN influence and change the world. Hitler himself didnt kill 6 million people, he and his army and his allies did. But he was still the face of the Nazis, the one that everyone associates with when talking about that horrific time period in humanity.
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leonstrykerCommented:
Interesting article on BBC site, which is relevant to this discussion.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13264959
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Jason210Commented:
You're right, its not the end of the war on terror. All I meant (and I probably could have worded it better had I had my caffeine intake at that point) was with OBL being dead, the face of AQ has been killed. He was the spokesman for AQ, and for the last 10 years, he was the face of terrorists. . .
Yes, in the end he became THE symbol of Islamic inspired terrorism, the embodiment of "evil" for many, and as such an object upon which to take project fear and hatred. But he was also a symbol of quite the opposite for many in the world, and not just terrorists. I think he had a lot of silent sympathizers. His death was therefore a symbolic event of huge impact. However, in reality OBL died a long time ago, if not in body then as an active force in terrorism. The only reason he was successful in the beginning was because he had a lot of money to spend on his cause. On a human level, OBL was a sick, aging man hiding with his wife and daughter in what was effectively a prison.
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Jason210Commented:
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sbdt8631Commented:
Jason210
I read it and while I agree with most of the facts as stated and can't really argue with many of the points made, it is still highly slanted to be critical of the US, President Obama and the American people.  One needs to digest that article with a grain of salt.
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tliottaCommented:
There's a whole history behind OBL, why he happened and why 9/11 happened...

Apparently very true.

Different groups tend to pick specific points in history and say "THIS is when it began."

Currently, one group picks 9-11/WTC bombing/USS Cole/embassy bombings as their starting point.

A different group looks back to bin Laden's much earlier move into Afghanistan to resist the Soviet invasion and his actions connected with U.S.A. (and others) coordination and cooperation over assistance to the Afghani fighters, but followed by the seeming double-cross at moving troops into his homeland, Saudi Arabia, almost behind his back, for the Iraq/Kuwait mess (which the West probably could have avoided if the disagreement between those two had been settled even earlier).

By picking a point in time and discounting what went before, a given group can justify their stand to themselves.

Tom
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Jason210Commented:
Bigrat
The only problem is the comittments made in regard to human rights, justice, democracy, and liberty.
You appear to be saying that it's ok to turn our back Afghanistan since we have no economic interest there, as if that's all that matters, and that human rights, democracy, justice and liberty are of little importance. And yet, you claim in other threads that our bombing of Libya is justified because we helping them towards democracy. Are you saying that the action in Libya has more to do with the economic interest in the country, as opposed to human rights, and is this the real reason why you support it? It's ok to stand up for democracy and human rights etc when there is an economic interest, seems to be your view.

One things that seems to have been overlooked is that the US now seems to be turning its attention to Pakistan. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Pakistan protects terrorist. Pakistan is next to Afghanistan. The US already use bases in Afghanistan to conduct raids and bombing missions on Pakistan. Are they simply going to walk away from that?

I have no clear picture as to how events will unfold in the future with that part of the world. However, I do see that the trend in Arab countries towards democracy will counteract Islamic insipred terrorists - it's basically like taking the fuel away.

I have occasionally, as a thought experiment, wondered what would happen if I were forced to become a muslim in a world ruled by the Taliban. I don't think I would have a major problem adapting to the Islamic framework but I would never be able to accept their Sharia Law, in particular its prmotion of the ill-treatment of women. There is a big risk that this will happen again in Afghanistan if USA leave, and that's what disturbs me.
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BigRatCommented:
>>You appear to be saying that it's ok to turn our back Afghanista

"Appear" is the correct word. I meant that sarcastically because I think that's the way it will run.

>> Are they simply going to walk away from that?

There is a growing consensus in Europe to quit Afghanistan and there will be a "Mission Accomplished" cry in America due to OBL's death. The costs are horrendous and the achievement of objectives are unlikely which will harden the desire for leaving. We saw the "Vietnamisation" of the Vietnam war taking place as America left - the handing of more responsibilities to the local government for continuing the war - as a justifiable process for American withdrawal. We have also heard similar proposals for Iraq - the training of "policemen" - and the same is going on in Afghanistan. The right wing calls for costs to be cut and "bring our boys home" and what are they dying for. The left moans on about leaving the people to make their own decisions and non-interference as a principle, so the voice of sanity, of finishing what one wanted to achieve will not be heard.

It is more than likely that in both cases the local governments will last about a month. In Afghanistan the Taliban will probably take over Kabul and the region towards Pakistan and the War Lords will continue in their own areas - everything being financed by drug exports. Iraq will split into pro-Iranian, Kurdish and pro-Baath groups who might just learn to live with each other.

I don't see a problem with the Taliban in Pakistan, perhaps in the north, but there are too many other interests in that country for such a take over. What I do see is that the old rivalries will be reestablished - against India and Persia - and that democracy, which has a tradition in the country, will be enhanced rather than lost.

There is another point and that is with the Seals action the Americans have found a cheaper and quicker way to achieve their objectives, like the British SAS, German GSG-9 and the French paras. You don't need to invade a country just to capture one man (Afghanistan) or to knock out one president (Saddam). All American operations since Vietnam have been on a grand military scale, have cost a lot of money and have not been really successful. The last of this type of mission was under Carter in Iran and that was a disaster. Even the Seals had to destroy one helicopter because of a technical defect (and I believe that rather than it was damaged in action!). That sort of thing must not occur, but such things are possible to avoid with a bit more professionalism - something which the Americans have never really been good at.

What is necessary for these countries is to be allowed to develop by themselves without external interference - the temptation is all too great to "aknowledge" a strong man who then becomes a dictator. If anything such strong men must go, like in Libya and Syria. The trouble is vested interests.

It is interesting to note the reaction of Israel to the Fatah/Hamas reconciliation. Even the Zentralrat der Juden in Germany has issued dire warnings about this. Of course a democratic non-extreme government can only help the Palestinians, which is not in Israel's perceived interest. As I have said many times before Israel must admit that it is a Middle Eastern country and "fit-into" the landscape and that means making compromises with others. Up to now she has always been able to point a finger at the "bogey men" like Assad in Syria and claim "how can one work with such monsters?" and probably rightly so. But with democratically elected leaders that's a different thing.
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sbdt8631Commented:
BigRat:
>>Even the Seals had to destroy one helicopter because of a technical defect (and I believe that rather than it was damaged in action!). That sort of thing must not occur, but such things are possible to avoid with a bit more professionalism - something which the Americans have never really been good at.

Was that really necessary?  
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Jason210Commented:
I'm glad you were being sarcastic Bigrat.

I agree, the raid style is definitely a huge improvement on full scale warfare. Tom Clancy stuff.

and that democracy, which has a tradition in the country, will be enhanced rather than lost.
Why?
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BigRatCommented:
>>Was that really necessary?

QWell one doesn't want any of the high-tech equipement, like radar detection and avoidance systems (which the US has confirmed thatb they used) falling into the wrong hands - so it is understandable. The problem is that something like a defect shouldn't happen in the first place. It endangers the mission, endangers the lives of those involved and causes immense political backlash when things go wrong. Carter encountered enormourous flak after the abortive attempt in Iran. It wasn't really his fault because although head of the armed forces he isn't responsible for their training. There must be less gung-ho and more cold professionalism as one finds with the European special forces. The Pentagon won't avoid the temptation to allow a film to be made about this incident with their help. The people involved with this sort of thing must remain completely anonymous, as well as their training, base camps and so on. It has to do with the psychology of those involved. Hollywood dramatizes and emotionalizes and that is the last thing which should go though their heads. Their job has to be executed with the sort of professionalism of a dentist or a precision engineer and not that of Stargate or The Band Of Brothers.
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Jason210Commented:
Rainbow Six
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>The problem is that something like a defect shouldn't happen in the first place

Defects happen.  My point was that it seemed unnecessary to label the Seals who carried out the mission unprofessional because they lost a helicopter but not one single Seal life.  Seems professional to me.  The rest of your comment was so well wriiten, this stuck out like an unnecessary jab. IMO
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BigRatCommented:
Jason's Why.

One has forced Paktistan, though the military dictator Musharraf (who is luckily no longer in office) to take part in this "War of Terror" which is essentially a western war if not completely American. The overall reaction in Pakistan to OBL and AQ is that they are essentially something anti-Western rather than something pro-Islamic or pro-Pakistan. Nobody likes foreigners telling one how to think and act so that's the first barrier.Nobody liked the Western support for Musharraf. The west therefore seems anti-Islamic, possibly even pro-Indian (Bush and atomic reactor cooperation) and this explains the popularity in the North of fundamentalist Islamic schools. I think most people can understand the "eye for an eye" attitude of America against OBL - the making good by some means is part of the culture (more than the western concept of courts and justice) so that's not prima faecia bad. If the west withdraws from the region the people will be more concerned with their children's future than with the, then abstract, problems of Islam and the modern ways of life. The damage the west has done in Pakistan is repairable, indeed the help during the floods has not gone unnoticed.

The problems in Afghanistan are much more serious. The problem is not a regional one but specifically has to do with history. The Russians supported the republican element against the upper class Daoud dynasty which rapidly became a communist takeover. The US trained the Mujahideen which then prompted a Soviet invasion. The only possible answer to the Godless communists was a pro-God movement and by 1996 the Taliban was firmly in control. Note that Pakistan under Musharraf has supplied the Taliban not only with weapons but also with ground forces. AQ was also involved with monies comming from Saudia Arabia. This conflict has been going on since 1973. The place has been bombed and maimed back into the stone age. When the west leaves we shall expect the same sort of mess which existed between 1992 and 1996 (see the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan section History.)  Pakistan will support the Taliban and in doing so the Taliban won't be able to threaten Pakistan. Thus the democracy will continue in Pakistan providing that Pakistan can persue it's regional interests
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BigRatCommented:
>>unprofessional because they lost a helicopter but not one single Seal life.

I thought I called the Military unprofessional - which is my analysis over the last forty odd years of action - rather than directly the Seals. I don't accept that "defects happen" - it's more a case of using tip-top equipement and maintaining it in an A1 state.
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Jason210Commented:
Thanks for you explanation Bigrat. In short, can we say that for the USA, the Pakistani Army has been central to Pakistans political stability, which is seen by the USA as a prerequiste for their syupport in war on terror?

While their can be no doubt that war on terror and USA's attitude to towards Islam has contributed to the rise of religious extremism and militants, Pakistan's support for the Taliban pre-dates Musharaff. Both Bhutto and Shariff in the 1990s gave official recognition to the Taliban government in Afghanistan and continued to give military and economic support to the group, and as you point, that support will continue. I don't see how support for the Taliban can be conducive to democracy.
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BigRatCommented:
>>....conducive to democracy.

Not for democracy in Afghanistan. Pakistan wants, like most countries, to have neighbours under its control or at least extremely friendly and hence when it feels unthreatened there's the possibility that democracy will pull through. Dictators, particularly the military kind, usually come to power because the country perceives an external threat which the politicians can't handle - the call for the "strong man" who will sort things out. If they do they then stay for forty odd years.
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Jason210Commented:
The Taliban are active in Pakistan also. There is a group known as the Pakistani Taliban, and the dictorial nature of Taliban philosphy means that this group will be a direct challange to Pakistan's movement toward democracy.
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BigRatCommented:
Well, Jason, it wasn't in the past and I don't think that they'll play a big role in the future. If one has a repressive regime which effects ordinary people then the latter will give at least implicit symphathy to an organisation which will stand up to that regime. The Wiki article about their emergence, and subsequent philosophy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Emergence, clearly shows that they succeed where lawlessness reigns. I don't see the Taliban in the future being supported by Iran, but rather in continuance by Saudia Arabia and Pakistan. I think it will be important for the west (assuming a withdrawal from Afghanistan) to emphasise a difference between the Taliban and AQ. Ie: the west will not interfere with regional power play but will not tolerate AQ plotting against them. The problem the west has, particularly America, is how to ensure that, for you can't run Seal type attacks from the Indian Ocean - you need bases in the area and that means (currently) sucking up to the various dictators in the former Soviet republics. Obviously arab democratisation will lessen the influence of AQ. I think the West needs to accept the status quo in Iran and get real progress towards a proper Palistinian state and not this patchwork quilt of settlements and no go areas, possibly also with a sort of "guarenteed corridor" between it and Gaza. All this would lessen the anti-western rhetoric and thus the influence of extremists and AQ.
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Jason210Commented:
I don't see Iran supporting the Taliban either. Iran seems to have established an Islamic State that works quite well and is reasonably fair and one which most seem happy with. The only problem is Ahmadinejad who is a trouble maker.

need bases in the area and that means (currently) sucking up to the various dictators in the former Soviet republics
Or in the case of Pakistan India?
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BigRatCommented:
>>The only problem is Ahmadinejad who is a trouble maker.

I would have said the monkey, because they let him dance around and watch the reaction from the West.

>>Or in the case of Pakistan India?

A possibility, but I don't think that the Indians will want to worsen a bad relationship into one which might bring war. I also don't see the US gaining bases on Indian soil.

I think the best strategy would be to play everything down a bit. Unfortunately the opposite seems to be happening. The German foreign minister - supporting the Americans he says - is demanding a complete explanation of how OSL could have spent 10 years in Pakistan. Apparently Obama has asked for the same. Meanwhile the Pakistani parlement is sitting and there have been calls for the resignation of various ministers due to the invasion of soverenty by the Americans. This strikes me of people running apart rather than together.

It is more than likely that some in Pakistani military circles knew where he was, after all they supported him in the nineties and were probably friends (and you don't rat on people there anyway, particularly to "infidels") and kept him on a short leash and held him as a sort of ace card as and when needed. I think the west should drop this. Pakistan should fire the odd minister and everybody should forget the whole matter as otherwise it will just raise more antagonisms.


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Jason210Commented:
>I would have said the monkey, because they let him dance around and watch the reaction from the West.

Ha ha! Perfect description Bigrat!
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>Pakistan should fire the odd minister and everybody should forget the whole matter as otherwise it will just raise more antagonisms.

Hopefully that is roughly what will happen.  I agree.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
>>>> I think the west should drop this. Pakistan should fire the odd minister and everybody should forget the whole matter as otherwise it will just raise more antagonisms.

if the west just drops this, dont you think that it shows a sign of weakness, and also undermines any kind of trust between the Pakistan and the US? if we just ignore this, who's to say they're not harboring other terrorists?
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BigRatCommented:
To an extent you've got a point, BigDaddy, but if they were not very willing to cooperate before then it is hardly likely that they'll cooperate in the future.

I think the sign of weakness was the fact that instead of taking out OBL from the start we invaded Afghanistan. Instead of dealing with Saddam we invaded Iraq. Instead of taking out Gadaffi, we're mucking about with "limited action". Yes in all three cases it is LIMITED action.

What is the point in demanding explanations from Pakistan which will either not be forthcomming or just plain lies? It achieves nothing except to annoy the Pakistanis. Yes, there are probably other people in Pakistan who played a minor role in 9/11 or other actions, but if they didn't want to hand over OBL what makes you think that they'll do otherwise? Threatening the country like with North Korea and Iran will produce absolutely nothing - in fact it might make things worse with all sorts of wierdos wanting to revenge against America (like the idiots with explosives on their feet).

The best advice was given by Teddy Roosevelt - speak softly and carry a big stick. These days, almost a hundred years later, that translates into not saying anything which would get into the foreign press and upset people, and keeping a watchful eye on things and the SEALs in reserve.

And that's why I believe that things ought to be toned down.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
I see what you're saying BigRat, but I dont think I agree with it. I guess it depends on acting on the principle of it matters to people, and I think in this case, it does. OBL affected so many people here in the US, ranging from the victims of 9/11 to the soldiers sent off to war, that its very personal to a lot of people. also, i dont like the idea of "just because we dont think it'll help we shouldnt do it" mentality. suppose there ARE people within the Pakistani government that did support OBL, shouldnt we at least know that inforrmation so we know who to trust?

>>> I think the sign of weakness was the fact that instead of taking out OBL from the start we invaded Afghanistan. Instead of dealing with Saddam we invaded Iraq. Instead of taking out Gadaffi, we're mucking about with "limited action". Yes in all three cases it is LIMITED action.

couldnt agree more, our focus got lost over the past decade
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BigRatCommented:
>>suppose there ARE people within the Pakistani government that did support OBL, shouldnt we at least know that inforrmation so we know who to trust?

Well the trouble is you do. In the nineties the US supported the Taliban via Pakistan and via OBL. So in a sense you know basically who is who. I do appreciate the emotional side of things, but there is also the government "acting in the public interest" and getting all worked up about Pakistan, in a similar way regarding North Korea and Iran is not going to help.

I think it is necessary to go back and look at 9/11 for what it really is. It was a criminal act purpertrated by criminals who for the most part are dead or locked up. It was the same sort of act as the anthrax attacks which took place at the same time or the Oklahoma building affair. Out of this act has come a "War against terror" which has unknown enemies in almost all countries. It is so diverse a concept that it can mean anything It is also necessary to put it into perspective. More Americans are killed on the roads every year and more die of uncontrolled gun access. It was a spectacular one off well planned event - a bit like Pearl Harbor - which is very unlikely to be repeated. And like Pearl Harbor it belongs to the past. I just don't see any point in making a public display about the reasons why or why not Pakistan knew anything about OBL. As far as "knowing who to trust" I suspect that the spooks have figured that out already.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
if they  knew about OBL, then they had been making attempts at hindering our "war on terror". if they hid him, what other terrorists group are they hiding and more importantly, why ARE they hiding them. They claim to be our allies but then go behind are backs and are working with the enemy. I think this would be pretty important to know about...
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>They claim to be our allies but then go behind are backs and are working with the enemy. I think this would be pretty important to know about...

We have known about this for years.  I have been reading and watching stories in the news for years about suspected links between SOME members of Pakistan's Military and Intelligence and the Taliban and al Qaeda.  
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Jason210Commented:
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BigRatCommented:
>>if they  knew about OBL, then they had been making attempts at hindering our "war on terror".

Your war on terror is not everybody else's war on terror. There are allies, neutrals, and enemies and a lot of people who simply don't care. Keeping OBL under wraps (for example) is not necessarily "hindering". It might be in THIER interest to do so, as a barganing tool for later, rather than YOUR interest.

>>They claim to be our allies but then go behind are backs and are working with the enemy

That's not exaclty proven that they were "working with the enemy". But as far as "claiming to be allies" is concerned the US violated Paktistani territory by sending in trhe Seals. Obviously the US was concerned that involving the Pakistani government might have lead to a security breach, and in US interests it was better to proceed thus rather than in Pakistan's interest. Even under allies there is often a conflict of interest which can lead to absurd situations (The StPierre&Miquelon incident*  and Operation Torch are two from WWII which upset relations between France and America which lasted many years).

>>what other terrorists group are they hiding and more importantly, why ARE they hiding them

If they are hiding anybody at all they are doing it in their OWN interests. After all the US has supported "terrorist groups/Freedom fighters" at times because of her own interests.

* This incident is a good example of conflicting interests. The Roosevelt administration was hoping to convince Vichy France to fight against the Nazis, little did they know of the fascist support there actually was in Vichy. The Free French wanted to make their presence known to strengthen the Resistance in France, so they sailed across the Atlantic and took the islands, which held a propaganda radio station broadcasting to the US and Canada. The Roosevelt administration got really upset and insisted on returning the islands to Vichy, but General de Gaulle said "non" and that was that.
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BigRatCommented:
>>Now India are starting up...

As you can see by the comment regarding regional hegemony India is acting directly in its own interest. What is a bit of a pity is the US/Western attitude towrards Iran, which hinders India from using the Persians as an ally. I suspect as times draws nearer the US withdrawal that India and Iran will start exchanging diplomatic notes.
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Mujtaba_Alam_KhanCommented:
IMO the death of OBL might have weaken Al-Qaeda but not the ideology that OBL created.
Each conflict around the world has its own roots and dimension, perhaps it time for to end the so called 'War on Terror' and resolve these conflicts and that ideology will disappear.

As for Pakistan, it shows what actually is reality that there is great mistrust between the two countries (USA and Pak). Some Pakistani officials would have know the whereabouts of OBL. Pakistan for most part plays two roles, it supports both the Taliban and the USA.

It is not hard to imagine that such things would happen. Pakistan has been dragged into a war that it perhaps didn't want, so they might as well get paid well, since the USA can't operate in Afghanistan without their help. The support for the Taliban is historic and a tool for Pakistan to use against its enemy. The support cannot end because even if the US pulls out tomorrow, Pakistan still will need to deal with those people. The mistrust is also created by the USA, while calling Pakistan it's ally, it continues to support India with investments and technology.

---

They way forward for the USA in that region is perhaps to pull out of Afghanistan.
Talk to the Taliban and separate them from the likes of Al-Qaeda.
The death of OBL has opened the way now.
The war in Afghanistan cannot go on any further.


-Muj ;-)
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Author Commented:
thanks everyone for the thoughtful duscussion!
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