People stood outside the White House, chanting “Yes we can!” after Osama bin Laden was pronounced dead on May 2. News mediums, social networking sites and class room discussions were all centered on his death.
Now, two weeks later, the commotion has died down, and I’m left wondering how much of an effect bin Laden’s death will have on the Middle East and on U.S. efforts to combat terrorism organizations.
Although bin Laden’s death probably gave many grieving Americans a sense of closure after the horror of 9/11, I doubt that they will see many concrete changes as a direct result of the assassination. Bin Laden had become much more of a symbolic leader than a working authority in al-Qaida’s operation. His followers were operating on the basis of his original ideas rather than his active supervision. Therefore, his death is also more of a symbol of justice than a critical move in the war.
Now that bin Laden is dead, al-Qaida will need to replace his leadership, which is definitely a possibility that the group anticipated for before he died. His death may cause the operation to lie lower than usual for awhile, but new leadership was probably in motion before bin Laden was eliminated. Those who support Islamic extremism won’t abandon those violent tendencies now that bin Laden is gone.
In America, bin Laden’s death has certainly raised morale and increased President Obama’s approval ratings. It’s encouraging for Americans to see significant events like this, giving them the impression that something is being accomplished abroad. However, in terms of active changes to the unrest in the Middle East, more change will probably come from the peaceful protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Joanna Peterson/Managing editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.