Osama dead, is the war over?
Celebrations are gaining momentum, all because one man, Osama bin Laden is dead. Yet, is the war over? Are we going to declare victory, and remove out troops, some six thousand of which have died, to get one man? I think not. Is this a victory that we can point to as a turning point, like Midway? Not really. Will this affect the enemy, and demoralize them to quit the fight? Again, I doubt it.
That's why I'm not cheering tonight. Osama bin Laden was the bogie man, the shadowy figure that Democrats could use to chide Bush for taking his eye off the "real ball" and chasing Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
There are notable differences between the two however. First, Saddam was the leader of a nation, not a loose organization of radical lunatics. Second, there wasn't anyone strong enough to take over, especially since the Nation had been taken, prior to Saddam being captured, to take charge. Finally, the public wasn't behind the return of the Bath party and their rule.
However, Osama is a leader, but not the only one. He is generally speaking, considered to be the leader of the leadership council, consisting of twenty or thirty leaders. That is twenty or thirty people who can step forward and take his place.
This isn't even like when we killed Admiral Yamamoto. In that, we could claim we had impacted the planning of future operations, seriously degrading the enemies ability to harm us. It wouldn't be as accurate as initially claimed, but we could claim it. Yet now, can anyone actually claim that Osama was actively planning operations? He was a figurehead, and one with a broken record of hits.
I see reason to feel slightly satisfied that the mastermind behind 9-11 is dead. I don't see the reason to cheer, and assemble and celebrate in the streets. We haven't won the war by a long shot. We have increased the danger to American and other coalition forces in the world, all over the world. Now, dozens or perhaps even hundreds of attacks will come at us as other leaders try and show that they are just as strong, or perhaps stronger and smarter than Osama was.
I'm reminded of a story I saw once on Television about Afghanistan. An American forward air controller was telling about an attack. The Afghani warlord/general threw himself over the young enlisted man to protect him when Artillery was raining in. The young soldier asked the General what the hell he was doing. The Enlisted man correctly pointed out that the General outranked the young Sergeant.
"If I die, another will take my place. If you die, there isn't anyone else who knows what you do, and who can direct the aircraft like you do. You are more valuable than I." The General is reported to have said.
Osama was the General, now that he is dead, there will be another, and another after that to take his place. We have to create the atmosphere where this radicalized mentality does not exist. Removing the leader is effective, in the very short term. Another will step up, and take charge. We have seen that time and time again in the Drug Wars. One criminal leader is caught, another appears. Or another two, or three.
The war isn't over, not by a long shot. The celebration is a tad premature gang.