Bin Laden's Death Needs Perspective Far Beyond the Grave: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
May 2, 2011

Bin Laden’s Death Needs Perspective Far Beyond the Grave

May 2, 2011—The announcement that Osama bin Laden was killed in a US-led undercover operation in Pakistan came late yesterday evening, igniting a firestorm of reactions across the globe. Bin Laden’s death is a reminder of the devastating human toll that terrorism has brought to every continent of the world.

With the news of Bin Laden’s final defeat, it is important that our nation fix our eyes upon the long-term implications of this momentous mark in the war-on-terror.

The Independent Institute’s experts have been leading advocates for a deeper consideration of the costs of war, both financially and morally, since we commenced large-scale operations in Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 10 years ago. They react to last night’s news with reminders of how this development further illustrates the need for greater perspective in the engagements that can take far more than they accomplish, using veiled excuses to draw from the American purse at the expense of true justice.

Trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of deaths, untold destruction of property, vast human misery, and sacrifices of essential liberties in this country went into gaining the proudly proclaimed achievement of killing a single man. Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow

Independent Institute foreign policy experts agree that this news must be considered through a much deeper analysis of policy, past and present, if we are to move forward with a truly constructive international agenda.

“President Obama should declare a marked victory and move on. Most of the operating al Qaeda groups in regions focus on local issues. These large-scale commitments of troops must end. Perhaps we can end them with his death and reevaluate our approach.”
Ivan Eland, Senior Research Fellow

“While it is not unimportant, it is certainly a bit anti-climatic. The threat has evolved tremendously over the past nine years and Bin Laden became less relevant to the current war-on-terror than he was before. His death bears little impact on the terror threat as it exists today.”—Chuck Pena, Research Fellow

“U.S. response to 9/11 has been a minor revolution in American statecraft toward the principles of aggressive war, nationalism and centralized executive power. Hundreds of thousands have died. Trillions have been spent. Key civil liberties have been undermined. Obama does bring the troops home and end the ramping up of the national security state at home, he will deserve some credit, although that still doesn’t legitimize everything that’s happened since 9/11.”—Anthony Gregory, Research Editor

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