Bin Laden's death exposes flaws in attitudes to war

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The death of Osama bin Laden did not end the war against jihadism, a war bin Laden had declared against the United States in a 1996 fatwa that mandated the killing of Americans wherever they could be targeted. But it did take one key leader of jihadist Islam off the global strategic chessboard, writes George Weigel in Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The death of Osama bin Laden did not end the civil war within Islam over the proper interpretation of Islamic law and the right relationship of Muslims to those who are "other."

But it did continue the dymythologization of bin Laden and his alleged invincibility, a myth that was no minor factor in his faction's power within that intra-Islamic struggle, which long ago spilled out of the House of Islam to shake the rest of the world.

The death of Osama bin Laden did not cure the social and political pathologies of the Arab Islamic world. But it did remove one obstacle to those pathologies being addressed by the democrats within 2011's "Arab Spring."

The death of Osama bin Laden did not resolve the intellectual dilemma of Islam in its confrontation with modern science and modern methods of reading ancient texts. But it may have hastened, if only slightly, the day when Islam confronts the intellectual fossilization that has made its lands cultural backwaters for centuries.

The death of Osama bin Laden will not bring the European Union out of its post-modern cultural funk (for bin Laden's wickedness was rarely grasped in Old Europe), and I doubt that it will have a decisive effect on 2012 presidential politics in the United States.

But it did create a moment in which to reconsider and recalibrate the full menu of methods the West uses to confront the ongoing jihadist threat, and that reconsideration might lead to wiser security policy.

Perhaps that moment will be seized by public authorities who care more for good governance than for good polling numbers. Perhaps.

FULL STORY The death of Osama bin Laden (Ethics and Public Policy Center)

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