Did Osama win the war on terror?

Upon news of Osama’s death, Americans were rowled up to a new degree. Crowds took the streets, rejoicing in the death of the one man we fought triumphantly to capture, Osama Bin Laden. In a valiant operation in Pakistan, Navy Seals took out the militant leader in a fury of gun fire. He, along with several “unarmed” family members (all of whom resisted arrest) and members of his regime, were killed in a covert night mission. CNN reports that the seals arrived on two helicopters attacked the compound and proceeded to clear the house, moving methodically from room to room.

Although the militant leader is now dead, the question on everyone’s mind: Did we really win the war on terror? Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein cites that Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism expert who specializes in al-Qaeda, believes that Osama was “enormously successful.” Gartenstein-Ross stated in a foreign policy article that Bin Laden’s true intentions were to bankrupt the United States, a tactic previously used to take down, then superpower, The Soviet Union.

The counter-terriosm expert contended, “He has compared the United States to the Soviet Union on numerous occasions — and these comparisons have been explicitly economic.” He continued, “For example, in October 2004 bin Laden said that just as the Arab fighters and Afghan mujaheddin had destroyed Russia economically, al Qaeda was now doing the same to the United States, ‘continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.’ ”

Don't believe him? Here are some facts about our spending habits over the past decade that have been attributed to Bin Laden and the "War on Terror":

  • The war in Iraq will surpass $3 trillion dollars.
  • Afghanistan war effort likely amounts to another trillion or two.
  • Beefed up home land security since 9/11 will amount to over a trillion dollars.
  • Taking into account the slew of indirect costs and measures taken by the U.S. government (i.e. loose monetary policies, the post 9/11 slowdown in the economy, etc.)
Klein contends that all measures taken were made on our part. A point to which I agree. We chose to increase security, we chose to slash taxes, we chose to invade Iraq and Afghanistan (I'll leave to you guys to decide whether or not these decisions were necessary). It'll be hard to prove whether or not Bin Laden's intention was to bankrupt the United States, but in the end, I feel the U.S. government acted accordingly given the circumstances.

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