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American jihad or the Osama effect: Has US become uglier & more corrupt power?
Bennett Voyles, The Times of India
It wasn't the Arab Spring.
Although he tried to claim credit for inspiring the movement, and some
associates undoubtedly participated, it's clear that the revolutions
owed much more to Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, than the old jihadist.
Nor was it Middle Eastern terrorism. Of course, there are still angry, dangerous people in Peshawar and Mogadishu, but they haven't been noticeably more effective than
their Western counterparts, at least when it comes to attracting global
attention. In fact, some of the most notorious terrorist incidents of
the past year were in Oslo and Toulouse - the first, the shooting of a summer camp by a Norwegian
fascist; the second a shooting outside a Jewish school by a young
Frenchman of North African origin. Even Al Qaeda as a brand is dead, as Osama himself acknowledged: one of his last bits of advice to some Somali
followers was to call themselves by a different name. Nor was it the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were precipitated by 9/11, although they have cost more than
250,000 lives and over $3.2 trillion dollars. The Home of the Brave has
always had a homegrown ruthless streak. From the bombings of millions of
civilians in World War II, to the coup in Iran in 1953, to the destruction of Indochina in the 1960s, and the military adventures in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, there has seldom been much that the US will not
do in pursuit of what it perceives to be its interests. Great powers
are like that.
No, bin Laden's most significant legacy is arguably the degree to which he led the US government to institutionalise an American jihad against terrorism that almost
constitutes a new Cold War, one that has led to the building of a vast
secret military and intelligence instrument that he would have
appreciated - a tool that can reach almost everywhere, usually without
courts or legislators to hold it back.
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