Osama bin Laden still free 3,514 days later

Like many New Yorkers living downtown on September 11th, 2001, I stood on a street corner — in my case, at Lafayette St and Kenmare — watching the towers fall while an almost unbearably wide and varied range of thoughts coursed through my head.  But one thing I never thought was that Al Qaeda’s two leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, would not be dead or captured by now.*  The latest cache of WikiLeaks data revealing the movements of the Al Qaeda leadership in the days just after the attacks is a reminder that the most astonishing part is not simply that the two men remain free but that there is no public pressure whatsoever to capture them.  None.  Consider all the bitter partisan debates that have preoccupied the American political mind in those 3,514 days: the bogus Iraq WMD threat and Saddam’s supposed connection to the World Trade Center attacks, the merits of invading Iraq, the abject failure to secure it once there, the rank incompetence of our governing administration and the spectacular sectarian violence that ensued, the sanctioning of torture and the systemic negligence that led to Abu Ghraib, the legal exploitation that put Guantanamo Bay beyond the law, and the long quagmire of Afghanistan; to say nothing of Katrina, the global financial crisis, deficit spending, “death panels” and medical socialism and birther conspiracies and tax cuts for the rich and any number of other issues distant from the Middle East that get the fire breathers snorting.  Yet amid all this, can there really be no one who demands that the most basic justice be done?

* Update: By remarkable coincidence, five days after posting this Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan and President Obama announced, “Justice has been done.” That post, more than this one, articulates why bin Laden’s death comes at a particularly perilous moment for Al Qaeda.


One Response to “Osama bin Laden still free 3,514 days later”

  1. Vanessa says:

    They must have read your post, S. You’re obviously more influential than you think…

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