The Fourth Estate
Osama bin Laden’s Death: A Cause for Celebration?Monday, May 23, 2011 By Staff Editorial
During "60 Minutes" two Sundays ago, a runner scrolled across the screen. It read, "President Barack Obama will be addressing the nation." Immediately, minds began to race as to what the announcement would be. Regular news followers knew the address would be of great importance, as last minute Sunday night addresses are a rarity. About an hour later the President announced that a team of American commandos had successfully eliminated Osama bin Laden. The death of bin Laden was a pivotal moment in America’s War on Terror. Some have described the event as this generation’s V.E. or V.J. day. However, such a comparison, while symbolically relevant, seems at best, superficial. The death of Osama bin Laden is merely a milestone in America’s War on Terror. In contrast, V.E. or V.J. Day represent the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Many met the news of bin Laden’s death with jubilation. Huge crowds gathered outside the White House and Ground Zero. Thousands were chanting, cheering, and waving American flags. At that moment, American patriotism soared. As one former female Army officer put it, "There seems to be a shadow lifted off the White House." Her statement certainly seems to hold true. The death of Osama bin Laden represents closure for the thousands affected by 9/11. The message sent by his death was clear in many people’s minds. America will prevail no matter how long it takes, no matter how tenuous the road, and as President Obama put it, "Justice will be done." Although the death of the infamous Al-Qaeda leader signaled the end of a dark chapter in America’s history, it also poses new questions. Will this event hinder the global Salafi-Jihadist movement, of which Al-Qaeda is a member? Has America’s reaction to Osama bin Laden’s death been morally appropriate? Sophomore staff writer Helena Davila shares, "I feel that the death of Osama bin Laden should be recognized, but not celebrated." This point of view is shared by many who view the celebration and jubilation as an inappropriate showing of American pride. Radical Islamists celebrated when the Twin Towers fell. Is it right for Americans to do the same while striving for the moral high ground? Senior Arabella Watters feels differently saying, "I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrating his death. This is a victory for every American. We have a right to celebrate." This opinion is also held by many; look to the crowds which grew outside of the White House and Ground Zero as a testimony to this. The death of Osama bin Laden begs the question, ‘Is bin Laden’s death a significant enough blow to knock Al-Qaeda off its fast track to power?’ While it may be a serious hitch in the road for Al-Qaeda, it will not derail the organization nor the Salafi-Jihadist movement as a whole. Some indications of this are found on radical Islamic message boards where postings such as "We were not fighting for Osama, the jihad will continue even if the Amir (leader) is Shaheed (martyred)!" Intelligence gathered at Osama’s compound suggests he was certainly more than a symbolic leader as many have suggested. It is clear that bin Laden’s death will not hinder Al-Qaeda’s plans. While bin Laden was held to be the mastermind behind 9/11, it is clear the death of any one member of Al- Qaeda could never topple the growing underground terrorist group from power. The death of Osama bin Laden merely high-lighted the fact that Al-Qaeda is just one of many Salafi-Jihadist groups who, as radicals put it, "Strive in the way of Jihad."