Opinions : Column
War on Terror vitalizes political interest, support

Zachary Diaz de la Cuesta, '12.
May 11, 2011

While Osama bin Laden's death has been seen as the climax to the War on Terror, in reality it amounts to little more than a psychological victory. With multiple conflicts and unrest in the Middle East, American involvement is only likely to increase in the coming years.

Although bin Laden may be gone, there are still answers that need to be found. Since he had been located in a military town, it is reasonable that Pakistan may have already known his whereabouts. This casts doubts on U.S. relations with the country.

Furthermore, al-Qaeda is still functioning with the death of their leader. Ayman Al-Zawahri, bin Laden's second in command, is likely to be his replacement.

Being a decentralized terrorist organization, killing their leader will have little to no effect on their activities. If anything, their operations might escalate in the coming months.

With no way of crippling the organization by attacking its chain of command, it is near impossible for the U.S. government to end all terrorist activities in the Middle East. The War on Terror is symbolic for the most part, similar to the War on Drugs. No amount of federal intervention will solve this issue.

Even if the War on Terror could be ended, Republicans nor Democrats seem willing to let go of the issue. Nikita Khrushchev, a former leader of the Soviet Union, said, "Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river."

That being said, why let go of an issue that helped give President George Bush a second term? Bin Laden's death has already greatly pushed President Barack Obama's approval ratings.

Perhaps Obama has realized that presidents have often been reelected during wartime, given his emphasis on the successful strike and lack of negotiation over the hot topic of raising the debt ceiling. Furthermore, why order the U.S. seals to gun bin Laden down when Obama insisted on giving a fair civilian trial to other terrorists at Guantanamo bay? Clearly, human rights takes a back seat to political gain for this administration.

2012 Republican candidates, such as Newt Gingrich, have already warned that the War on Terror is not over and that America should continue its Middle Eastern involvements diligently. News of bin Laden's death and victory over terrorism bring to mind the banner, "mission accomplished" after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, only to remain for eight years. Today's shallow victory over the poster child of modern terrorism is little more than a political coverup of stagnant economic growth and debate over the debt ceiling.

While ostensibly bin Laden's death is seen as a major victory in the ongoing War on Terror, there still seems to be no end in sight. Politicians will continue to support the issue so long as they can personally profit. Perhaps now is the time to start limiting foreign entanglements instead of enlarging them.

For more political opinions, read the May 2 article, Bin Laden death brings closure, unifies nation.

War to nowhere

Posted by "Zachary Cuesta" on May 12, 2011 at 0:01 a.m.

In response to Trevor York's comment: While Robert Gates may say that bin Laden's death is "game changing," I highly doubt that anything will change in Congress. Most Republicans still support the war in Afghanistan, and President Obama has already proven to be an advocate of nation building, as evidenced by american involvement in Libya.

My impression is that Obama's message is nothing but political rhetoric, gearing up for the presidential election of 2012.

A beginning to an end

Posted by "Trevor York" on May 11, 2011 at 0:01 a.m.

Although I agree that someone will take Bin Ladens place and not the end of terrorism by any stretch, what would you say about Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates and his comment stating that Bin Laden's death is "game changing"?

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