He Won

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden’s motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the September 11 attacks, was to draw the U.S. and the West into a prolonged war—an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam.

Osama got both. And we gave him a prolonged war in Iraq to boot. By the end of Obama’s first term, we’ll probably top 6,000 dead U.S. troops in those two wars, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. The cost for both wars is also now well over $1 trillion.

We have also fundamentally altered who we are. A partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list of how we’ve changed since September 11 . . .

  • We’ve sent terrorist suspects to “black sites” to be detained without trial and tortured.
  • We’ve turned terrorist suspects over to other regimes, knowing that they’d be tortured.
  • In those cases when our government later learned it got the wrong guy, federal officials not only refused to apologize or compensate him, they went to court to argue he should be barred from using our courts to seek justice, and that the details of his abduction, torture, and detainment should be kept secret.
  • We’ve abducted and imprisoned dozens, perhaps hundreds of men in Guantanamo who turned out to have been innocent. Again, the government felt no obligation to do right by them.
  • The government launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign implying that people who smoke marijuana are complicit in the murder of nearly 3,000 of their fellow citizens.
  • The government illegally spied and eavesdropped on thousands of American citizens.
  • Presidents from both of the two major political parties have claimed the power to detain suspected terrorists and hold them indefinitely without trial, based solely on the president’s designation of them as an “enemy combatant,” essentially making the president prosecutor, judge, and jury. (I’d also argue that the treatment of someone like Bradley Manning wouldn’t have been tolerated before September 11.)
  • The current president has also claimed the power to execute U.S. citizens, off the battlefield, without a trial, and to prevent anyone from knowing about it after the fact.
  • The Congress approved, the president signed, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a broadly written law making it a crime to advocate for any organization the government deems sympathetic to terrorism. This includes challenging the “terrorist” designation in the first place.
  • Flying in America now means enduring a humiliating and hassling ritual that does little if anything to actually make flying any safer. Every time the government fails to catch an attempt at terrorism, it punishes the public for its failure by adding to the ritual.
  • American Muslims, a heartening story of success and assimilation, are now harassed and denigrated for merely trying to build houses of worship.
  • Without a warrant, the government can search and seize indefinitely the laptops and other personal electronic devices of anyone entering the country.
  • The Department of Homeland Security now gives terrorism-fighting grants for local police departments across the country to purchase military equipment, such as armored personnel carriers, which is then used against U.S. citizens, mostly to serve drug warrants.

I’m relieved that bin Laden is dead. And the Navy SEALs who carried out the harrowing raid that ended his life have my respect and admiration. And for all the massive waste and abuse our government has perpetrated in the name of fighting terrorism over the last decade, there’s something satisfying in knowing that he was killed in a limited, targeted operation based on specific intelligence.

But because of the actions of one guy, we allowed all the bullet points above to happen. That we managed to kill him a decade after the September 11 attacks is symbolically important, but hardly seems worth the celebrations we saw across the country last night. There was something unsettling about watching giddy crowds bounce around beach balls and climb telephone polls last night, as if they were in the lawn seats at a rock festival. Solemn and somber appreciation that an evil man is gone seemed like the more appropriate reaction.

Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special ops team can fix.

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246 Responses to “He Won”

  1. #1 |  Fay | 

    Right on, Radley. Thank you for this post. I know this is a weak comment, but I’m strangely relieved to see this.

  2. #2 |  random_guy | 

    hear, hear.

    My thoughts exactly, the man is dead but the war he started goes on forever. The American people are left to suffer through the shortsightedness of their fear while proudly celebrating an admittedly bad mans demise.

  3. #3 |  adamcrazypants | 

    look at how it changed the country. . .meh. look at what it revealed about the country, is more like it.

  4. #4 |  Greg N. | 

    “The actions of one guy”? That’s one hell of a euphemism.

  5. #5 |  Jeff Darcy | 

    I’m with you on this one, Radley. In addition to all that we’ve given up to kill someone already reduced to a figurehead, let’s add one more problem: now al-Zawahiri is in charge. He was always the more immediately dangerous of the two, and also less interested in holding the even-more-extreme splinter groups together. Anyone who thinks the terrorism situation got better today hasn’t been paying attention.

  6. #6 |  David Hume | 

    You can’t even allow people to feel happiness and relief for just one day…fuckin’ douchebag.

  7. #7 |  George Bluth | 

    Excellent post.

  8. #8 |  Marc | 

    Thank you for having the balls to post this up. I was called a Nazi and told to move to Afghanistan for stating something similar.

  9. #9 |  BSK | 

    I always think of the movie “The Siege”. Filmed before 9/11, it was oddly predictive in how the US would respond to a wave of terror attack or threats on US soil, including the detention of Middle Easterners, the torture of suspects, and the shredding of the Constitution. Denzel Washington’s character gives a speech where he states that “they’ve already won” if a suspect is tortured. “Shred the Constitution… that’s what they want”. A very well done movie.

  10. #10 |  justinslot | 

    Yeah, I mean, America–fuck yeah! But also this post fuck yeah.

  11. #11 |  GÄC | 

    I was trying to put into words my feelings this morning when I learned the news. I see now that I didn’t need to – I just needed to wait for this to appear.

    I was right across the street from the Pentagon on 9-11. I can still remember the smell of the fires. I went to more funerals for people I knew than I care to remember. Yet, I still don’t think I consider what I’m feeling happiness that he is dead. More sadness at the costs that we’ve had to pay….

  12. #12 |  TC | 

    Olli North told us to watch or remove him a very very long time ago. Way back when he was showing OBL how to operate a Stinger.

    Your observations seem to be correct.

  13. #13 |  Professor Coldheart | 

    One sad caveat: America has been renditioning and torturing people since prior to September 11th. I suspect the only thing that’s changed since then is the scale.

  14. #14 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Cool they got him.
    Er…Does this mean I won’t have to remove my belt and shoes
    and empty my pockets and stick my arms up in the air like a criminal when I want to fly somewhere?

  15. #15 |  Jim | 

    David, that comment was way out of line.

  16. #16 |  QuietWatcher | 

    Thanks Radley, everything I have been thinking and saying. I’ve been taking the same kind of flak as Marc for saying this is NOT something to celebrate loudly and publicly. The burial at sea is also one of the stupidest things we could have done here. That one act opens the door to SO many more problems. The backlash to that action is something I think we need to genuinely fear. I think this is FAR from over and Americans should be MORE afraid today than we were yesterday. Fuckin sad…….

  17. #17 |  fwb | 


  18. #18 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I wonder if “David Hume” recognizes the irony of posting his comment under that name.

  19. #19 |  fwb | 

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgobllins, all of them imaginary. – HL Mencken

  20. #20 |  Max | 

    I hear what you’re saying, but I feel like I should be allowed to be happy that the scumbag is dead.

  21. #21 |  Shannon's Mouse | 

    Great post, Radley! I’ve been dismayed by the desperate attempts to turn this into some sort of VE Day-like celebration and have been thinking much the same as you.

  22. #22 |  Terry Heaton | 

    I agree with almost every word here, but I reject that passenger screening hasn’t made air travel safer. As an old guy with an artificial hip, I get special attention, so my inconvenience is greater than most. After complaining once, a very polite agent referred me to their website and a weekly section on their accomplishments. Here’s what occurred during the last week:

    5 artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints
    18 firearms found at checkpoints
    9 passengers were arrested after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents

    I know it’s a pain, but let’s not be naive in our agitation.

  23. #23 |  OBL DEATH DIVIDEND: US dollar and shares climb on news of Bin Laden’s death · Hammer of Truth | 

    […] Brocast Show posted 3 hours ago by kaosv OBL DEATH DIVIDEND: US dollar and shares climb on news of Bin Laden’s death… So begins the shitstorm, I may duck for cover now? PART OF NEVER FORGETTING: How the CIA created Osama bin Laden… Details of the final mission… UM, DUH: A Huge Political Victory for Obama… Faked corpse photos pop up online, no official death photo release from military so far… Buried at sea… He won… […]

  24. #24 |  Tommil | 

    Would add created the Dept. of Homeland Security expanding the bureaucracy.

  25. #25 |  Russell Arben Fox | 

    Excellent–my point exactly. He gave us an outlet for some of our worst elements, and I wish I could believe a brief fire-fight could be enough to put them back.

  26. #26 |  BSK | 

    It did seem really unsettling to see people celebrating his death. As far as I was concerned, it was just one more added to the toll. Osama probably deserved death and I’m not sad that he’s gone, but I struggle to ever celebrate someone’s death. It is clear that we have lost more than we’ve gained through this struggle. The truly unfortunate thing is that we did not need to lose as much as we did, since so much of it was voluntary and unnecessary.

  27. #27 |  Irving Washington | 

    An excellent point, but it is diminished by referring to al Qaeda as the actions of one man.

  28. #28 |  anon | 

    Yes, my thoughts exactly. Well said, and very depressing.

  29. #29 |  el serracho | 

    the camera pulls back to reveal your true identity
    look its a wolf in sheep’s clothing a smoking gun holding ape

    what crazypants said.

    (apologies to jenny lewis)

  30. #30 |  Jeff | 

    The “impromptu” celebration in front of the white house reminded me a lot of an episode of MTV’s Spring Break, of course with a lot less skin exposed. I’m not sure that celebrating the death of Bin Laden in such a manner is very much different than the celebrations we have witnessed and abhorred in Muslim countries at the death of an American…I for one was deeply disappointed. We killed a man people…not won the world cup. It will, however, make for some good footage for Obama’s reelection campaign.

  31. #31 |  Greg N. | 

    You think bin Laden attacked us on 9/11 to make air travel less convenient?

    From the 1998 Fatwa:

    “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, *in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.*”

    How’d that work out for him?

  32. #32 |  OsamaIsDead | 

    I have been checking my RSS feed for the Agitator today because I knew a post like this was coming soon. The comments over at Reason show how pessimistic and bitter libertarians really are. Are you seriously this conceded Radley? 9/11 changed the world forever, yes. We kill the man responsible for it after 10 years of searching and you can’t even go 1 day without complaining about it or giving the government/Obama some credit in finally putting the nail in the coffin? Also you wrote a typical, holier than thou criticism of American’s ‘celebrating’ in the streets the day he was killed. Heaven forbid! But I’m sure you didn’t mind when much of the Muslim world was cheering in the streets the day the towers fell. I guess 9/11 didn’t have too much of an effect on libertarians until the Patriot act was passed.

  33. #33 |  FridayNext | 

    While I agree it was unsettling and unseemly to see people celebrating his death, most Americans did not go into the street treating it like a rock festival. And most of them seemed to be, and were reported to be, mostly college students from area universities in DC. I cannot speak to NYC, but lower Manhattan gets a pass on this from me.

    Just because TV cameras were there for every cheer and beach ball throw, do not assume these few thousand people represent all 300 million Americans. And I said the same thing when cameras found the few Muslims celebrating in the destruction of 9/11. Do not confuse images caught on video as a representative sample.

  34. #34 |  Tyler | 

    Well said.

  35. #35 |  Andrew S. | 

    @Terry: It hasn’t made air travel safer. Not one bit.

    1. Those numbers are meaningless without checking them against what happened with pre-9/11 security.
    2. In fact, there’s an argument to say we’re less safe. Recent red-team test snuck a gun past the body scanners 5 out of 5 times. There are going to be things that get through the body scanners that wouldn’t have gotten through good old metal detectors.
    3. Nothing the TSA has done would prevent a repeat of 9/11. Three things have happened that would prevent it: 1. Hardening of cockpit doors, which was done by the FAA and airlines, 2. Banning boxcutters, which was also done by the FAA, and is meaningless (since you can legally carry on other short blades), and 3. A change in the passenger reaction to attempted hijacking.

  36. #36 |  Pablo | 

    That is a really excellent post. I felt uneasy, even discombobulated seeing all the cheering people on TV. Like someone’s home team had won.

    I too cannot celebrate the death of another person although we need to recognize that an evil person is dead and that that achieves some measure of retribution. But nothing will change. If anything the war–er, uh, “wars”– will get longer and more complicated because now the Islamists have another martyr.

  37. #37 |  Nicholas Recker | 

    My only criticism is that in all those points, you’ve used the past tense, which implies that we will stop doing those things now that Bin Laden is gone.
    Aside from that, we are in agreement as usual.

  38. #38 |  Curt | 

    @Max… Happy? yes. But not a party like it’s 1999 kind of happy. When I see people dancing in the streets, it’s a very similar scene to Mogadishu and Falujah. It shines a mirror on our attempts to demonize those people.

    The problem with last night’s news is that it’s sort of like trying to kill the bogeyman. You can’t ever kill the bogeyman because he’s not real… he’s a symbol of our own fears. Very soon we’ll hear about the latest bogeyman to be declared the al qaeda #1 man.

    Don’t get me wrong, yesterday was a huge day but I think that most of the televised reaction isn’t quite appropriate. I may hold my head a little higher today, but not without considering what we’ve lost over the last ten years.

  39. #39 |  Judi | 

    His death isn’t a Victory Day exactly since there are more like him in the world ready to take his place. However, I have to say I feel some relief that he is dead.

    We couldn’t simply sit back and do nothing after the 9/11 attacks. You hit me? I’m gonna rip you a new asshole.

    Call me what you will, but if I were younger, I’d be right there with our troops on the frontline of defense.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass who you are, if you don’t like my country, don’t let my stars and stripes hit you in your fat ass on the way out.

    Having said that, I certainly don’t agree with everything my government does or says. So I’m not kissing the government’s ass either.

    I guess it’s much akin to the lyrics in a song by Charlie Daniels that says, “we may fight amongst ourselves, but you outsiders best leave us alone.”

    Call me a redneck, a heathen or whatever. Sticks and stones…

    People who are anti-death penalty are asking how can we celebrate a death.

    I am against state sanctioned executions because it is so arbitrarily dealt, among a few of my reasons. But I cannot deny there are some people who deserve a good killing when their crime is of such a magnitude as Bin Laden, Hussein, Hitler…

    Bottomline is don’t mess with my kid or my country. I can assure you the end result woulld not be a Kodak moment.

  40. #40 |  Bob | 

    What? Bin Laden is dead? Later, asshole!

    As to airplane security, the one change that made planes 99.99% harder to hijack was locking the cockpit doors. That was all they had to do. All the rest is just gratuitous jackassery.

  41. #41 |  Andrew S. | 

    Judi, I don’t think many people here would’ve said “do nothing”. We should’ve went into Afghanistan, routed the Taliban, and then gotten out of there as fast as possible. Instead we turned into a decade-long quagmire that shows no signs that it will end at any point. We allowed our government to play up peoples’ fears and use that fear to tear the Constitution to shreds.

    I’m not sad he’s dead, but anyone thinking this is any kind of “victory” for the US is either stupid, naive, or kidding themselves.

  42. #42 |  Curt | 

    @ #32…

    “finally putting the nail in the coffin”… which coffin? We killed a guy. That doesn’t end AQ or terrorism; it doesn’t make the world suddenly a safe place. There’s nothing “final” about this… other than UBL’s life.

    As far as celebrating in the streets, people here did mind the celebrations in the street on 9/11. Thought it was pretty f’ed up. That’s why it’s disturbing to see people in NYC and DC doing the same thing.

  43. #43 |  Judi | 

    I couldn’t agree more Andrew.

    My son is leaving for Parris Island after college graduation this fall. He is my only child.

    You see where this is going…

  44. #44 |  ClubMedSux | 

    We kill the man responsible for it after 10 years of searching and you can’t even go 1 day without complaining about it or giving the government/Obama some credit in finally putting the nail in the coffin?

    I’ve gotten a similar response to a similar (albeit far less eloquent) comment I made on Facebook last night and I just don’t get it. Radley outlined why he can’t really get excited today. If you disagree with any of the specific points he made, refute them. If you don’t, then why does it both you if somebody else isn’t celebrating? Why must Radley adhere to some grace period before pointing out facts that he believes should temper any celebration?

    And as for not giving Obama credit, I read Radley’s post as giving appropriate credit to the armed forces who carried out this mission. As for Obama, I’m not sure why he specifically deserves credit. 99% of the military personnel would have been the same regardless of who was president, and it’s not like McCain ran on a platform of giving up on bin Laden and/or denying the military the resources or authority to continue their hunt.

  45. #45 |  Radley Balko | 

    I was a mile from the Pentagon on September 11. I walked home to Virginia from work because my car was parked in a garage that the Secret Service closed down that afternoon. I was less than half a mile from the White House and the Capitol as (false) reports were circulating about car bombs, fires at the OEOB, and more hijacked planes headed for D.C. I drove by the smoking gash in the side of the building every day for the following six months. Don’t presume to know what impact September 11 had on me.

  46. #46 |  SJE | 

    One minor quibble. The US has not illegally searched “thousands”- the evesdropping is an illegal search of millions.

  47. #47 |  EdinMiami | 

    @32: 9/11 changed the world forever? I still don’t get that? How did it change the “world” forever? Pundits and talking heads spit that comment out like it has substance when it doesn’t mean anything. Osama helped to kill 3000+ ppl, but that is all he did. Did the death of those ppl change the world? That doesn’t sound logical. All the things the US gov. has done, it chose to do. It didn’t have to do those things. We didn’t have to invade Iraq. The Patriot Act didn’t have to written the way it was written. Civil liberties didn’t have to be attacked across the board.

    Did Osama do those things or did we do it to ourselves?

  48. #48 |  JA | 

    “The Congress approved, the president signed, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a broadly written law making it a crime to advocate for any organization the government deems sympathetic to terrorism. This includes challenging the “terrorist” designation in the first place.”

    I actually have no idea off the top of my head what law this is or what court case upheld it, and I generally stay updated on First Amendment issues – could someone please ID the case for me?

  49. #49 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    We couldn’t simply sit back and do nothing after the 9/11 attacks.

    Ah, The Politician’s Fallacy: We must does something about X. Y is something. Therefore we must do Y.

  50. #50 |  OsamaIsDead | 


    libertarians aren’t allowed to love (or even like) their country, not even today.

  51. #51 |  amy | 

    This is a very good post, and I am relieved to see that some of the commenters feel as I do — that it is shocking to see celebrations of a killing. I have been depressed to witness the absolute rejoicing in the news. If we had to do it, I wish that Americans would express appropriate reverence for human life and sadness that we had to become killers too.

  52. #52 |  omar | 

    We kill the man responsible for it after 10 years of searching and you can’t even go 1 day without complaining about it or giving the government/Obama some credit in finally putting the nail in the coffin?

    Keeping your head cool in the heat of the moment is a sign of maturity. Last night, a lot of citizens of the USA is failed the maturity test. Revenge is not a value I want to hold up as an example of how to behave. While it may have been necessary to conduct this operation, as I doubt ObL would have come voluntarily, I’m dismayed that our nation is excited about an assassination. I celebrate had we taken him alive and send him to an American courthouse our of self-pride.

    Conservatives always complain about extreme Islam’s culture of death. So unless I want to actually become our enemy, I won’t celebrate killing for a single day.

    Also you wrote a typical, holier than thou criticism of American’s ‘celebrating’ in the streets the day he was killed. Heaven forbid! But I’m sure you didn’t mind when much of the Muslim world was cheering in the streets the day the towers fell.

    I can only speak for me, but I was not exactly impressed by the maturity of the small part of the Muslim world cheering on 9/12.

    I guess 9/11 didn’t have too much of an effect on libertarians until the Patriot act was passed.


  53. #53 |  Jay | 


    *slow Brandon Walsh clap*


  54. #54 |  Thoreau | 

    He did indeed win. Being a Tolkien geek, I compare this with the way that Morgoth provoked the Noldor into self-destruction: Yes, he did horrible things, things that deserved punishment, but in pride and anger the Noldor spread war across the world, killed their own kin (multiple times), and brought themselves to ruin. And even after Morgoth was sent away from this world, the seeds that he planted continued to bear evil fruit.

    Some would say that I’m being overly dramatic by comparing a single terrorist leader to Morgoth, but the lesson is that those who do evil acts can provoke the mighty into ruining themselves, and Radley pointed out all the ways in which we have ruined ourselves.

    Bin Laden got what he deserved yesterday, but he still got us to ruin ourselves.

  55. #55 |  Andrew S. | 

    @#50: No clue why I’m responding to someone that might, might deserve a 2/10 on the troll scale, and only because he’s gotten a couple of bites.

    There’s a quote that’s attributed to Mark Twain. Dunno if he said it, since there’s a lot of quotes attributed to him that he didn’t make. Anyways, it goes “Loyalty to your country always, loyalty to your government when it deserves it”. Government hasn’t deserved loyalty at any point during my lifetime.

    Don’t confuse hatred of this country’s policies with hatred of the country. Of course, you and yours think it’s one and the same, as does everyone on Team Blue while a Democrat is in the Oval Office (and everyone on Team Red when a Republican is in the Oval Office)

  56. #56 |  Judi | 


    The attacks of 9/11 brought our nation to its knees. It also brought out a broad specturm of true and raw emotions that most people never knew they would or could feel.

    Sometimes these emotions exhibit themselves outwardly and of course some, inwardly.

    I don’t think there wasn’t a U.S. citizen that can deny that 9/11 and its aftermath hasn’t affected them in some way.

    I learned a long time ago to never ‘assume’ anything.

    Personally, I think we’ve established that Bin Laden is dead, the royal wedding was a success even though people wore ridiculous hats and that Charlie Sheen is a raving idiot.

    Time to move onward and upward and keep what little dignity we have left without letting our guard down. Lessons learned.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

  57. #57 |  Burlyman78 | 

    I agree. But I think this principle was established in U.S. law well before 9/11:

    Without a warrant, the government can search and seize indefinitely the laptops and other personal electronic devices of anyone entering the country.

  58. #58 |  Judi | 

    @50. I’m not a lib, rep or dem. I’m Judi. LOL I can love who I want to and when I want to!

  59. #59 |  Tman | 

    Osama had very defined clear goals in mind when planning the several different terrorist attacks including 9/11 for the last two decades. He preached at length of his desire to topple the house of saud (failed) restore the caliphate to east anglia (failed) and to topple the USA from within (giant fail).

    I agree that we over reacted in terms of the crippling of civil liberties and the ridiculousness of the security theater in airports and other places, but to argue that Obama “won” or achieved any of the goals he clearly defined early on is to completely deny the evidence.

  60. #60 |  OsamaIsDead | 

    @Thoreau: Go back to philosophy class bro and finish out your liberal arts degree. Take a few hits from your peace pipe, and let the adults talk.

    @Radley: If you were so affected by 9/11, then why couldn’t you take ONE day to stop bitching for the 1000th time about how the terrorists have ‘won’ and just acknowledge the they lost one of their great leaders? Or would that cost you too much libertarian street cred?

  61. #61 |  Duffy | 

    While I mostly agree with your list of how we’ve changed, I would hate to see what this list might have looked like had we not done anything. Think about that for just a minute. More skyscrapers down, more suicide attacks worldwide, more fear, more police enforcement, who knows. Your list was an easy one to put together.

  62. #62 |  justinslot | 

    @54: It helped that OBL had such a willing foil in Dubya. I mean I bet Osama’s best hope was just a repeat of the Soviet occupation. Two horrible wars concurrently? Only a fuckup on Dubya’s level could accomplish that.

    Re: people celebrating–does it make a difference that most of those out (in DC at least) were college kids, who’ve lived around half of their lives during the terror war? 9/11 is among their earliest memories and Bin Laden is the baddest bad guy they’ve ever known–how much restraint do you expect?

    And if anybody wants to celebrate in Manhattan today or for the next week I can’t possibly tell them they’re wrong.

  63. #63 |  goober1223 | 

    If the president declared the end of all of our wars simultaneously with the announcement of the death of bin Laden, THEN the celebrations would have certainly been warranted.

  64. #64 |  Judi | 

    “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” Mark Twain

    Well Mr. Twain, I’m sorry, but I wished Bin Laden dead and will enjoy his obit for years to come. As a matter of fact, if I had his head, I’d mount it on my wall. I’d share a beer with him but only after it passes through my kidneys.


  65. #65 |  Judi | 

    “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” Mark Twain

    Well Mr. Twain, I’m sorry, but I wished Bin Laden dead and will enjoy his obit for years to come. As a matter of fact, if I had his head, I’d mount it on my wall. I’d share a beer with him but only after it passes through my kidneys.


  66. #66 |  Darwin | 

    Couldn’t agree more. Osama succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

  67. #67 |  Highway | 


    It’s not about ‘liking or loving the country’. It’s about being a realist about what the death of Osama bin Laden means. It means that a symbol is dead. Nothing more, nothing less. Is the hunger for vengeance against ‘Islamists’ now sated? Is any war now over? Are hundreds of people currently locked up in Gitmo even though there isn’t evidence to even try them going to be released now? Are we now safe to rebuild the site of the NY World Trade Center?

    There’s no difference in today from yesterday. A man with a famous name has been killed. You can argue that now al Qaeda will be less operationally effective, since they’ve lost an important man. You could argue that they might be more operationally effective now, since they don’t have to spend resources on hiding and protecting a talisman.

    What I love about the US isn’t that we have guns or planes or ships or hard working dedicated people in uniforms. What I love about the US isn’t that we have a pretty flag or a cool anthem. What I love about the US is that people are free to be what they want, to think what they want, to act how they want, to do what they want. And the plain fact is that it wasn’t Osama who has reduced all of those abilities. It’s been the scared people of this country, afraid that an exceedingly rare thing will happen to them, who clamored for action, and then allowed government to run roughshod over those freedoms.

  68. #68 |  Sandy | 

    Wow, so this is where all the pansy hippie Lefties hang out. I am celebrating Bin Laden’s death, and it is a victory. Yes, the war goes on, and he did get a lot of what he wanted, but all you people can do is whine about it. One accomplishment you forgot to add to Bin Laden’s resume: Record holder of longest game of Hide and Seek.

  69. #69 |  Thoreau | 

    #60: Actually, I’m a physics professor, but thanks for playing.

  70. #70 |  Zeb | 

    ” | OsamaIsDead | May 2nd, 2011 at 1:26 pm


    libertarians aren’t allowed to love (or even like) their country, not even today.”

    That is a really dumb comment on many levels.

  71. #71 |  Les | 

    #59, I can’t speak for Radley, but it’s obvious that the enemy has lost a leader. It’s obvious that this is good. But it’s also obvious that people are still going to needlessly be prosecuted, imprisoned, and killed (innocent men, women, and children) due to the way our government has responded to 9/11. When that shit stops, I’ll be out on the street celebrating. In the meantime, the authoritarians and nationalists can party all they want. It doesn’t mean anything.

  72. #72 |  MIkeS | 

    While I agree with much of his post, I disagree with the conclusion that “he won”. Almost everything that has gone wrong can be undone (and was supposed to have been undone by this President).

  73. #73 |  Les | 

    Sandy, you need to work on your social skills.

  74. #74 |  DJK | 

    Great post, Radley! If the goal was to spread the seeds of freedom across the world, propping up corrupt dictators abroad and forfeiting our freedoms at home seems like an odd way to do it.

    I would add that bin Laden “won” in another aspect as well: the economy. Private sector employment has only recently resumed to pre-9/11 levels, as much of the jobs “created” by the Bush and Obama administrations were public sector jobs.

    The post-9/11 recession spurred our elected officials to embark embrace the most reckless fiscal policy in US history (for the rationale, see Stormy Dragon’s post, #49). We’ve become dependent on other nations to finance our own government’s operations at levels never seen before. As a result, we cannot even legitimately defend our country without hitting someone else up for a loan. Moreover, we face the serious prospect of runaway inflation and the loss of the dollar’s status as the currency of international transactions.

    We haven’t just given away our liberty and tossed aside our principles. We somehow managed to do so while making ourselves less secure at the same time. It’s really quite astonishing.

  75. #75 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ OsamaIsDead,

    Why can’t you just admit that killing OBL has changed nothing? A great win for our country? A great win would be to roll back all of the post 9/11 lost of civil liberties. This isn’t a win because this isn’t going to stop the errosion of freedom in America. If anything it will only embolden our leaders to do more of the same.

    This isn’t about loving or hating our country. Just being happy without putting everything in perspective shows a real lack of understanding and critical thinking. The latter is much more important than the former.

  76. #76 |  SJE | 

    The other point that is lost is that this assasination is largely symbolic, and killed a man who’s role was largely symbolic these days. Symbolic victory is important, but it doesn’t stop the movement, as the symbol of ObL can still inspire, even in death.

  77. #77 |  Greg N. | 

    He didn’t “win,” because the things Radley listed *weren’t what he was fighting to achieve.* Radley forgot to include *winning* the war with the U.S. on the list of bin Laden’s objectives.

    We can still bemoan all of the lost civil liberties, etc. post 9/11 without giving bin Laden a posthumous victory party. Read Hitchens today. Bin Laden took what could have been a very lucrative, very powerful network and gambled it on 9/11. It didn’t pay off. He ended up isolated, powerless and, ultimately, with a bullet in his dome.

    I don’t concur with the asinine things that “osamaisdead” is saying here, but to ignore why bin Laden did what he did and say “he won” because of our bad policies seems too cute.

  78. #78 |  Inconvenient possibility? — Marginal Revolution | 

    […] not always coincide, and perhaps we should be celebrating just a bit less.  It is possible this is not a totally “clean” victory on our part. 31 comments Peter May 2, 2011 at 11:58 amI do not care what had to be done to get the […]

  79. #79 |  Highway | 

    I might grant that triumphalism over the death of Osama bin Laden would have been warranted… 7 or 8 years ago. In the same way that some triumphalism over the death of Saddam Hussein was warranted, soon after the war in Iraq began. But that it’s taken a decade since his last significant action to find and kill him, a decade of rumors, false alleys, and wild goose chases really dampens any sense of accomplishment or closure. If people want to take some sense of victory from it, I guess they can, but that just leads to a bigger crash when they wake up the next day and realize everything’s the same.

    @Judi: “I don’t think there wasn’t a U.S. citizen that can deny that 9/11 and its aftermath hasn’t affected them in some way.”
    And people are still letting it affect them, in ways that are seriously detrimental to everyone. We chase phantoms of security. We spy on neighbors. We report ‘strangers’. We can’t take photos of anything unless it’s on an unwritten ‘approved pictures’ list. We submit ourselves to invasive questioning, groping, and scanning just to travel. All because people are scared of something happening *that can never happen again*.

    Why did 3 planes crash into targeted structures? Because the passengers on those planes had been conditioned to let the hijackers do what they want, and negotiations will get us out of it. That conditioning took all of 30 minutes to be unlearned, and it will never be relearned. It doesn’t matter what method people use to take over an airplane, unless it manages to kill or disable everyone on board without damaging the plane or the hijackers. Yet we still act like there’s going to be a repeat of 9/11.

  80. #80 |  EdinMiami | 

    @72 Undone?

    “The Obama administration and panel Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) have expressed support for extending all the expiring powers. The authorities include the “lone wolf” power, which allows investigations of suspected terrorists not tied to a specific organization or nation, along with powers that authorize “roving wiretaps” and make it easier for federal authorities to get tangible evidence — such as library records — as part of a probe.”

    How is that working out for us?


  81. #81 |  Osama bin Laden Dies | Inertia Wins! | 

    […] on May 2, 2011 by Ryan Young| Leave a comment I was going to write something about this. But Radley beat me to it, and said it far better than I could: Osama bin Laden may be dead, but he still won. Read the whole […]

  82. #82 |  Don108 | 

    You forgot to mention that his stated goal for 9/11 was to get U.S. Air Force Bases out of Saudi Arabia. G.W. Bush removed them a long time ago. He succeeded in gaining what he wanted.

  83. #83 |  Judi | 

    @Highway. Yes, I agree with you. However, when the river rises and overflows, you do whatever it takes to protect the lives it threatens.

    So we have to understand the mass hysteria even if we don’t agree with it.

    If I attempt to pet a baby lion and its mother sees me approach her child, she isn’t going to debate whether my intentions are good or bad. She would pounce and devour me. Period.

    So this is how I see the extreme airport searches, raised levels of security everywhere. I may not agree with it but I understand it.

    And I suppose it is our country’s way of saying, “We’ve learned our lesson and will not be caught with our pants down around our ankles again.”

    Not condoning it, but not necessarily condemning it either.

  84. #84 |  demize! | 

    And here you will view people who identify as libertarians, but are just authoritarian conservatives at heart. If you can’t be bothered to read the readily abundant history and concern yourself with the Meta and deep-politics that frame this issue than I have nothing in common with you. You are a jingo. If you can’t affords the same freedoms to an “other” that you clamour for your own “tribe” than you are a brand of libertarian that I don’t want to ally with. OBL is a construct of western intelligence, he became a convienient foil. He served whatever purpose assignated to him. Now he’s dead. Maybe he has been dead and this is a convenience to Obama’s campaign. I would think a good deal of cynicism would be in order, not the level of credulity I see in some of the posts. But then I’m an anarchist and that may come with the title. But it seems as if guys on your side of the boat like Lew Rockwell are more likely to agree with me.

  85. #85 |  Judi | 

    I guess there’s simply no way to pick up a TURD by the ‘clean’ end no matter how hard you try.

  86. #86 |  Zargon | 


    then why couldn’t you take ONE day…

    Why should he take one day? Why should anybody sit down and shut up for one day, or one minute, because some event that you attach great importance to has come to pass?

    Maybe this should be a national holiday. It could be called “No Dissenting Opinions Day”. I’m sure you would approve.

  87. #87 |  NobodobodoN | 

    Comment #12 is a lie and should be removed.


  88. #88 |  DJK | 

    #77 – Re: Hitchens’ article – Pointing out that bin Laden could have achieved grander, more diabolical objectives had he played his cards differently does not mitigate the damage he actually did to the USA.

  89. #89 |  Jeff | 

    It’s too bad that real life is not like the movies where when you kill the head vampire all the underling vampires die as well and the almost vampires return to normal. Would make things a lot easier

  90. #90 |  Highway | 

    I’m sorry, Judi. I don’t accept that because other people are scared little lemmings that they are then entitled to destroy other’s liberties. The uncritical thinking of so many people of “Well, I don’t like this, but I guess it makes us safer”, when in actuality it does nothing to make them safer is infantilism at its worst. It’s people wanting to be led, wanting to be inconvenienced since it means that ‘something is being done’, wanting to be taken care of, and willing to give up actual tangible things for an illusion.

    And it doesn’t reflect well on people who see through this, but go along with it to get along.

  91. #91 |  Two Bits | 

    That post was a bit much. In which war since our country was founded did we not torture people from the other side? When did we not pry into the lives of our own citizens? How could the country be forever changed if we fought this war like we did the others? I don’t challenge any of the things on the list as terrible, but come on it isn’t like we were Switzerland until 9/11.

  92. #92 |  Greg N. | 

    @88 Which of the bullet points Radley listed was among bin Laden’s objectives when he financed the 9/11 attacks? The only one that has any evidence for it is bin Laden’s attempt to draw the U.S. into a Soviet-style war *that bin Laden planned to win.*

    I mean, is it plausbile that Al Qaeda plotted 9/11 so the U.S. government would fund anti-pot ads?

    Once more, declaring bin Laden the victor in our fight with him isn’t necessary to criticize the loss of civil liberties post 9/11.

  93. #93 |  Judi | 

    @ Highway, like I said, it’s impossible to pick a turd up by the clean end.

    I am a survivor of YEARS of sexual child abuse and rape. I really have to make a great effort not to see ALL men as animals. I cannot let the actions of the men that violated me dictate who or what I am today.

    Having said that, you cannot ‘unring’ a bell. There are severe and indellible scars.

    Even though I have dated and even been married, I still have a structured security system inside of me that I cannot breach.

    I don’t walk around looking over my shoulder in dark parking lots and I’m not afraid to walk into a place alone. I do those things, but I no idiot either and will never forget what happened to me.

    In essence, this is how I see what is happening in our country. We were, if you will, ‘raped’ and that changes your perception of everything you thought was safe and how you determine to keep it safe in the future. Right or wrong it’s fight of flight.

    Again, I undertstand, repsect and appreciate what you are saying. Your points are well said and certainly valid. But I understand the ‘over-protection’ mode the country is in.

    I’m not an historian, but wasn’t some similar things like this going on after Pearl Harbor? Japanese camps, etc.? Horrible.

    Not excusing or justifying that or what is happening now, but this will come and go just as what occurred back then. Unfortunate as it is.

    As far as accepting it? Well, I don’t ‘accept’ it but what’s there to do about it?

  94. #94 |  Judi | 

    That should have read “fight or flight”

  95. #95 |  Radley Balko | 

    I mean, is it plausbile that Al Qaeda plotted 9/11 so the U.S. government would fund anti-pot ads?

    I think you misread the post very carefully, Greg. The bullet points are other consequences of our overreaction, not a list of bin Laden’s objectives.

    His main objective was a war with the West, both figuratively and in Afghanistan.

  96. #96 |  So, Osama bin Laden and a Navy SEAL Team Walk into a Bar… | 

    […] “He Won,” by Radley Balko In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden’s motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the September 11 attacks, was to draw the U.S. and the West into a prolonged war—an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam. […]

  97. #97 |  demize! | 

    @judicial who the fuck are you? I read this site everyday and.never saw your name. Your son is going into the marine corps, rah fucking rah, and you let him? All that says is you are a bad mother cause you couldn’t impart the skills to him to get a job at Wendy’s. Now I was a Military Police Officer some years ago so I don’t mystify the military or military men. But since your son has joined the corps may I suggest you read General Smedley Butler, he was Commandant and multiple CMH. recipient, then take the book and shove it up your flag waving pueblos.

  98. #98 |  Mark | 

    And yet we had the decency to give Bin Ladens body (jeez never thought I would use “Bin laden’s body” in past tense) a proper burial.

    Your points have merits, but I do see a few discrepancies.

    Like any new event that is encountered there is a period of trial and error before it is perfected. Our reaction to 9/11 is still being perfected. Why? Because we thought the trouble overseas would never reach us. And it was a logical thought.

    Until the invention of air travel the US was a bastion of peace/security and prosperity. Now we have to adopt a new way of thinking, that terrorists can strike us at any time. It’s a scary thought that will take time to adapt.

    As I see it Americans have an air of superiority. And why not? We have the greatest country in the world even if it doesn’t look like it now. I personally think we are going down the crapper but this is still a great country. We have long thought that trouble is “over there” and not here. Our weakness is the alarm we feel when our safety is threatened. Bin Laden exposed that and we took the bait.

  99. #99 |  Osama Won « The Unreal | 

    […] Won By Michael Brendan Dougherty, on May 2nd, 2011 Radley Balko’s makes the provocative charge that Osama bin Laden’s goals have largely been achieved, and though we killed him, we are […]

  100. #100 |  Beniamino | 

    For the record, there’s nothing remotely suspicious about the fact that “Osama” was shot in the face and promptly buried at sea.

  101. #101 |  Tom | 

    I bet OBL was surprised…oh shiz as our special forces commando blackop ninja’s wearing american flag ninja suits burst in – showering everyone with razor sharp throwing stars and flipping around steel nunchuks at blurring speed. I wish they would have rode elephants though. Or eagles.

  102. #102 |  Swayn | 

    Also, let me add there’s been a rise in anti-American fundamentalism across the world (even in our country) over the last 10 years. Thought I’m certainly glad that Osama’s dead, I felt much safer at this time yesterday than today. In addition, the “giddy crowds bounce around beach balls and climb telephone polls last night” remind me of those chaotic fundamentalist crowds we are always so keen to criticize in the Middle East.

  103. #103 |  Judi | 

    Demize, you’re ignorance is showing. You made my day.

  104. #104 |  demize! | 

    @Beniamino cause ya sez soo?

  105. #105 |  Greg N. | 

    That’s kind of my point, Radley. If none of the bullet points was an objective of his, then how could they weigh on whether he “won” or not. In my conception, “winning” seems like it has to refer back to someone’s objectives. If bin Laden said, “I’m doing this so America fucks itself on civil liberties,” then yeah, he won huge. But if his objective was something else entirely – and by all accounts it was – then how could all this other stuff be counted as his “win”?

    Like I said, the wars were part of his objective; that’s clear. But he didn’t want to drag us into a war just to fight it. He thought he would win it. Obviously that didn’t happen. So on the only objective he outlined – military defeat of the U.S. and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East – 9/11 was a total failure. That it led to all these other bad things isn’t evidence that bin Laden won anything. It’s just evidence that we made policy errors post 9/11.

    Which is all a long-winded way of saying: it’s entirely consistent to say our civil liberties policies post 9/11 are a big mistake (and that part of your post is a very useful dose of reality, especially today) *and* that bin Laden “lost.” And I think that’s actually the correct view.

  106. #106 |  demize! | 

    @judi Oh snizzap! You got me with that one. You call me a turd and then you don’t like.my reply. Tell your son to tell that to his DI. Then you can visit him in the infirmary, or brig.

  107. #107 |  Al V | 

    Sorry Radley. Not so much.

    Bin Laden did want to foment a war between Islam and the West, but the goal was to drive us out of the Saudi kingdom, overthrow Pakistan’s government to gain control of their nukes, and force the overthrow of all of the corrupt dictators to re-establish the Grand Caliphate armed with nuclear weapons.

    Ambitious wasn’t he?

    He didn’t drive us out of anywhere. In fact we are spread over the Middle East like butter on toast. The revolutions are happening, but by ordinary people outraged over the lack of freedom, not the hardline Islamists.

    Bin Laden flat-out didn’t care what we did with our personal liberties because they simply didn’t matter to him.

    When it comes to the things that mattered to him: He lost.

    I am willing to bet that he appreciated the Freedom of the Press when the Abu Ghirab photos came out. And when the cartoonists decides to have Draw Mohammed Day. What he was looking for was Muslim Outrage, and getting his follow (Sunni) muslims to hate the West. He got his outrage, but he could never turn it to get what he wanted. The corrupt dicators are being overthrown. It remains to be seen what kind of governments the people in Egypt and Tunisia (hopefully Libya and Syria later) decide to go with. We should let them decide on their own.

    Here at home the only people who can take our freedom away is still us.

  108. #108 |  Judi | 

    I never called you a turd, darling. I was referring to the issues at hand in this discussion.

    I’m sorry you are in such pain and misery that the only way you can relieve that pain is to be rude and hateful. Perhaps you should consider therapy.

    And by the way, I’ve posted on Radley’s sites here and Reason since 2008.

    Thank you and have a splendid day sweetheart.

  109. #109 |  CK | 

    So the use by date for modern bugaboos is ten years after.
    10 years of not being able to triangulate a kidney dialysis patient in the
    boondocks of afghanistan and Pakistan.
    He served his purpose, his time is up, time for the #2 man in Al Quaeda to move up to the #1 spot. ( Zawahari or Pearlman not sure which is the chosen one yet) And the numbers 3 can fight amongst themselves as to which will be the first erased.

  110. #110 |  demize! | 

    @judi ok lovemuffins?

  111. #111 |  Highway | 

    Judi: “As far as accepting it? Well, I don’t ‘accept’ it but what’s there to do about it?”

    You argue against it. You don’t sit back and say “Well, I understand why they’re doing all these wrong things, so it’s ok that they’re doing them.”

    You started off in this thread saying things like “You don’t like how my country is, then get out”. But now you acknowledge that the things ‘the country’ is doing are wrong or misguided. So should the people who are against those misguided things get out?

    A point of having a government set up the way we do is presumably to help fight against the urge to have rash, scared, knee-jerk lawmaking. It doesn’t work particularly well in crisis situations, unfortunately. But that doesn’t mean we need to always accept the results, or even acknowledge that the reasons the laws were made are in any way valid. No matter how those people feel violated. If people take some extra personal meaning from things like the terrorist attacks on 9/11, that’s *their* problem. It shouldn’t be anyone else’s problem.

  112. #112 |  Judi | 

    I prefer sugarbritches but lovemuffins will suffice until we get to know each other better. :))

  113. #113 |  SJE | 

    #91 | Two Bits | In which war since our country was founded did we not torture people from the other side? When did we not pry into the lives of our own citizens?

    Torture occured in previous wars. Yes, but those were truly isolated incidents and soldiers were prosecuted for it.

    After 9/11 we had had authorization go all the way up to the President for a vast program of secret renditions, special built prisons and entire program designed entirely for the torture of prisoners and the denial of oversight. THAT is entirely new.

    regaring prying into the lives of citizens: are you saying that the US govt previously opened and read all our letters like it did with email?

  114. #114 |  omar | 

    @judicial who the fuck are you? I read this site everyday and.never saw your name.

    Allow me to quote Jim at comment #15:

    That comment was way out of line.

  115. #115 |  Judi | 

    @Highway, I never said it was okay. I said I understand it.

    As far as my staunch stance for my country, that still goes. My feeling is that there is no where in the world a person can go without finding something to bitch about one way or the other.

    Having said that, I’ll take my country over any other place to live in spite of its flaws and shortcomings. After all, I have the right and freedom to have that opinion.

    And by the way, Radley can vouch for this, I HAVE made a stand and helped make a HUGE difference in Mississippi and I’ve only begun to fight.

    So I don’t sit back and say well my government screwed up and it’s okay. It’s NOT okay.

    I’m just not so sure what can be done about it. Any suggestions?

  116. #116 |  Mike | 

    Many of the techniques that are excoriated in the original post were just the ones used to extract the information necessary to get this done.

    As to who gets the credit, as other have said, it is the Intelligence and Military Community that gathered the intel, that planned and executed the operation.

    I am not an Obama fan by any stretch of the imagination. But authorizing such a bold plan was extremely risky, on a variety of fronts. I think Obama deserves a lot of credit here.

  117. #117 |  Highway | 

    You don’t need suggestions from me, apparently. My confusion is in the conflict between the suggestion that people that don’t like the country can leave, combined with the (perhaps assumed) idea that people who don’t care for the triumphalism that has accompanied the news of OBL being killed are folks who ‘don’t like the country’ and should therefore leave, yet you acknowledge that there are things you don’t like about the country but still hold the previous attitude while understanding this is the best country.

    Perhaps given this, my only suggestion would be to reconsider the use of statements like “I don’t give a rat’s ass who you are, if you don’t like my country, don’t let my stars and stripes hit you in your fat ass on the way out.”

  118. #118 |  Judi | 

    I see what you’re saying Highway. Yes, there is an inner conflict. That’s apparent.

    I guess perhaps a better way to say it would be ‘if you don’t like my country, faults and all, then….

    Yes, I do believe we are the best. I think my son is the best son in the world, but I am sure someone, somewhere would find faults that I don’t or can’t see. It doesn’t mean I would love him less or see him differently.

    Does that kinda clear up what I am saying?

  119. #119 |  Headspace » Blog Archive » Also… | 

    […]  Radley Balko reflects on the cost of killing one man; […]

  120. #120 |  Radley Balko: “He won” « Quotulatiousness | 

    […] distressing round-up of the lifetime achievements of the late Osama Bin […]

  121. #121 |  Judi | 

    By the way Highway, thanks for helping me to see that conflict. I truly had not realized that what I am saying and feeling sometimes are two different things.

    I’m no writer but I do try hard to express what I am feeling. I suppose it either loses translation from the brain to the keyboard or I’m just not good at saying what I am feeling.

    But I give it a heluva try! LOL

  122. #122 |  some thoughts on osama | The Thing with Tomatoes | 

    […] beach balls in Lafayette Park is only going to make it worse.  I’ll join the chorus and let Radley Balko sum it up (via TNC): That we managed to kill him a decade after the September 11 attacks is symbolically […]

  123. #123 |  John Thacker | 

    “I’d also argue that the treatment of someone like Bradley Manning wouldn’t have been tolerated before September 11.”

    OK, but what we’ve done to Bradley Manning is no different from what we’ve done to people in SuperMax prisons for years, certainly before September 11. Sure, those people are convicted, but that doesn’t matter for torture.

    We also had extraordinary rendition under Clinton-Gore, again before September 11.

  124. #124 |  albatross | 

    We’ll have to wait and see if killing OBL has any effect on the world. This war (or whatever it is) will never have a clean ending. There’s nobody who can surrender on behalf of every jerk with a homemade bomb and a desire to kill some Americans. But that means it would be easy for the war, and in particular for the occupation and fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to go on forever. And for the scary police state policies to likewise go on forever. If Obama wants to end those things, he probably has cover to do so now, in a way he probably won’t ever have again. Indeed, there may never be another time when we could end that stuff–declare that we’re pulling the hell out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq as soon as possible, repeal the AUMA (whose purpose has now been fulfilled, no?), etc.

    I don’t think we’ll do those things, but we might. And if we do, this will turn out to have been a wonderful day indeed, even though a bad man had to die to make it happen.

  125. #125 |  Did Osama bin Laden Win? | 

    […] Balko wonders today if, notwithstanding his death, Osama bin Laden hasn’t actually succeeded in achieving much of what he set out to do: In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author […]

  126. #126 |  BamBam | 

    There is no reason to believe Bin Laden is dead (now) or alive. Why believe anything from the same regime that constantly lies, subjugates, destroys, and has perpetrated all of the above bullet points?

    It’s far more likely to believe this is a PR stunt that most people will swallow without question to justify all of the above bullet points, and to further the cause of US empire and a permanent presence in the middle east.

  127. #127 |  Two--Four | 

    […] […]

  128. #128 |  Billy Beck | 

    I’ve always said so: I’d far rather take my own chances against terrorists.

  129. #129 |  Chris Mallory | 

    I celebrated more when Teddy Kennedy died. He was an actual threat to America.

  130. #130 |  GT | 

    Uhhhhmmm… Navy SEALS? Nuh-uh. It was a PAKISTANI operation.

    OK, So now that Jessica Lynch, Jesus and Rambo went and killed Adolf-Emmanuel-Goldstein-Saddam-bin-Laden, what now? It’s not going to be like that time that Rocky VI ended Communism.

    Less money for the Zionist Welfare-Queen to use to steal others’ land? HAH!
    Less airborne evisceration of innocents on the AfPak border? Don’t kid yourself.
    Less intrusion into the lives of Mundanes? You’re kidding, right?

    bin Laden has been dead since 2001 – that has been known, reported widely, and only Yanks who get their news from the New York Pravda believe otherwise.

    In any case, he was not ‘evil’; he was no more evil than George Washington was evil for opposing British oppression in HIS country – and he was several orders of magnitude less evil than Kissinger, Truman, Curtis le May, or even Clinton. I would argue that William S Sherman was MORE evil, since the civilians he killed were his own countrymen (and it was more than 3000).

    If the mainswamp story is to be believed, the nineteen men (mostly Saudis) that carried out 911 beat the most expensive air-defence system in the history of man, and flew some planes into a set of urban buildings that their intel told them was a C3 (command, control and communications) centre – communications infrastructure, a CIA station, some DIA offices and so forth.

    Sure, there was some ‘collateral damage’ – hell, let’s go Full Cheney Batshit and call the dead ‘alleged insurgents’ or ‘supporters of the US reign of terror over the developing world’. But it was ‘worth it’ to try and secure freedom in their country from people who were hell bent on changing their way of life (to steal a phrase from Cheneyites).

    Not for nothin’, but 911 did a FRACTION of what the US has been doing globally since 1985; from the Phillipines (“remember the Maine!” -a false flag) to Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (“remember the Maddox” in Tonkin Gulf – another false flag), to Iraq I and II (“500k children were ‘worth it'” according to on US vampire) and Afghanistan/AfPak. Literally MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of innocent men, women and children incinerated, their lands occupied, their enemies supported, their governments overthrown… and some guy who leads the charge AGAINST that is the evil one? FFS…

    Yanks need to get their heads out of their collective arses and stop pretending that when your government kills and maims and steal it’s “whoops”! It’s not accidental, not is it an unfortunate consequence of trying to do good and spread Liberty(tm) and Freedom(r).

    Your body count is almost the size of Stalin’s or Mao’s, but it’s folks OUTSIDE your borders. And bin Laden just wanted your Death Machine to back the fuck off and stop killing (and aiding the killing of) Arab kids.

  131. #131 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    “When you smoke dope you get high with OBL.”. My vote for most hypocritical message by government. Ignore US foreign policy as contributing (you mad Rudy G.?) and go after a hippie. First degree vs. 286th degree of separation.

  132. #132 |  Jesse | 

    I feel no more safe nor like celebrating at Bin Laden’s death. The greatest threat to my life and liberty is still secure in its position: The US government.

  133. #133 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I read your whole post, GT! A lot of choir here…maybe put this on Balloon Juice?

  134. #134 |  post-Bin Laden link roundup | The Handsome Camel | 

    […] Balko thinks that despite our killing him, Bin Laden got the last laugh, because he tricked us into giving up our civil liberties and running up catastrophic debt and […]

  135. #135 |  GT | 

    Oops typo… since **1895** not 1985 (and apologies to the 30 or 40 million dead Red Indians not included in the ‘non-evil’ body count…).

    You can’t even put the <3000 WTC victims in the 'karma, bitchez' column – unless karma has become a total wuss.

  136. #136 |  Deoxy | 

    Generally, I come to this site because of its good coverage of important things, and certainly, our government has fallen SO SO far from the concept of “limited government”, but this post is so over the top it’s counter-productive (to put it mildly). In order, then:

    -nothing new, slightly larger scale (more activity overall, so really, nothing new)

    -nothing new, slightly larger scale (more activity overall, so really, nothing new)

    -nothing new

    -this one is REALLY stupid – welcome to Ye Olde “Laws of War”. Actually, no, I take that back… it’s an IMPROVEMENT. In the old days (not very long ago), summary execution was more likely.

    -nothing new, really – the “War on Drugs” has been stupid since… well, just about forever. Any excuse for that stupidity will do. Also, this point doesn’t even REGISTER compared to the other ones, and makes your list look silly.

    -nothing new. AT ALL.

    -When it’s been used on more than 1 person per Presidential term, get back to me. Seriously – it sounds serious (and the theory behind it is), but so far, it’s all smoke and no fire.

    -OK, this one IS more serious than the last one… but (unless I’ve missed soemthing), it hasn’t actually been used yet. If/when that happens, it’s serious, until then, it’s mostly just noise.

    -OK, this one is actually serious. Very serious. Especially that last part of it.

    -This one is really annoying, really popular to bash (for good reason) and really… kinda petty compared to several other points on here (though still a lot better than the “War on Drugs” stupidity). Yes, it does show government stupidity and complete disregard for citizens’ rights.

    -“a heartening story of success and assimilation” – @#$!#$%^!&!*!!! Luckily, I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that. You seriously alienate many potential supporters with BS like that.

    -Tangentially related at best. Very typical over-reach more suited to “War on Drugs” discussion than “War on Terror”-related problems. Yes, it’s a problem, but it doesn’t belong on THIS list (at least not primarily).

    -Yup, this one is stupid, but again, it’s just “War on Drugs” by another name with a different excuse.

    Why not lay the Kelo decision on bin Laden while you’re at it! Seriously, this is ridiculous.

    “Osama got both [an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam].” In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve had a “broader global war with Islam” since at least the 70s – Osama just managed to make us finally notice it and participate. Heck, we could almost thank him for that – making a big enough attack that we actually wake up and pay attention instead of knocking that many people off just a bit slower so that we just ignored and grew even more callus to such things until it got MUCH worse.

    He didn’t win – he could have, but he was overconfident and didn’t take the time to really understand us. The US has some SERIOUS weak points, and he really didn’t hit them very well at all.

    You think this is bad? If Osama really understood what makes most Americans tick, he could have kept throwing low-level stooges onto planes to make it look like this ridiculous “security theater” was actually working, and it would have MUCH higher support from the general population (and would probably be even more invasive, if that’s possible). He could have arranged small-town massacres at random locations across the US at random intervals – low cost, low risk, low manpower requirements, HIGH psychological damage. He could have had somebody (or a very few of them) does MAJOR damage to our electrical grid (again, fairly easy, low cost, low risk).

    You are just elevating the guy. That’s foolish, irresponsible, just plain dumb, and a bit surprising to me, though perhaps it shouldn’t be.

  137. #137 |  Alex | 

    lol @ Sherman killing more than 3000 civilians. Also lol that you think American deaths are more important than foreign deaths.

  138. #138 |  Frank Hummel | 

    Why the f*ck don’t you read your post into a bottle, cork it up and well open it later when the party’s over and maybe listen to it?

  139. #139 |  OBTC | 

    Thank you for your post today Radley.

    I, too, could not remotely relate to the “celebration” displayed on TV lastnight, considering all we have lost.

    Whether ObL could forsee our lost freedoms and the literal shredding of the 4th Amendment is irrelevant.

    We’re living it and we all know these freedoms and these protections WILL NOT BE RESTORED to us at anytime in the near future – if ever (at least in my lifetime.)

    I believe that “things” will only get worse.

    On that note, have a lovely vacation!

  140. #140 |  Bin Laden Dead. Now What? « Rob Taylor Blog | 

    […] An alternative and somewhat brutal point of view on Bin Laden’s impact on U.S. Government and U.S. citizen behavior entitled “He Won“. […]

  141. #141 |  “Yes, but…” on bin Laden : esguerra.cc | 

    […] He Won | The Agitator Published: May 2, 2011 Filed Under: micropost, quote Leave a Comment Name: […]

  142. #142 |  MPH | 

    Good post. I have only one objection that I didn’t see in the existing comments (I’ll admit to not reading all 135 of them). I haven’t read The Looming Tower, but there is one item related by Radley from that book that is inaccurate (I am sure that Radley related it correctly, I am claiming that the item related is wrong). The non-islamic world has been at war with Islam since Islam’s inception. Mohammed himself issued the declaration. Muslims have been forcing conversion, enslaving, or killing those who refuse conversion or slavery for around 1,400 years.

    We’ve been at war with Muslims for the entire time our country has been in existence (look into the Barbary Pirates, of “the shores of Tripoli” fame). We just haven’t been fighting back for most of the time.

    Personally, I refer to the war with Islam as World War Zero (WW0), since it predates WWI by about 1,300 years. Alas, most of us in the non-islamic world aren’t taking the war seriously, but THEY are. In the 10 years since the attacks on the towers and pentagon, they’ve committed over 17,000 attacks world wide, many in areas outside Iraq and Afghanistan (see http://www.thereligionofpeace.com for details).

    So we have been embroiled in “a broader global war with Islam” for all our lives. For most of that time, we just haven’t realized it. At least Osama made that clear to all but the most dense of us. For those who still don’t get it, here’s the words of journalist Aaron Klein: “I can attest from scores of interviews with some of the region’s most dangerous terrorists that they are not waging a jihad against the U.S. because they are poor, or angry or desperate, but because they believe it is their Islamic duty to spread their belief system around the world.”

    We’re fighting for our lives and our way of life, and we better start getting serious about fighting back before it’s too late.

  143. #143 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    GT, I want documentation, right now, of U.S. caused death numbering a minimum of 20,000,000, or an apology from you, stat. For the record, Stalin ordered the murder (not death in war, MURDER) of something like 30,000,000, and Mao’s “score” is probably somewhere between 45,000,000 and 65,000,000 (numbers courtesy of THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM. The names of the authors escape me at the moment, but it was from Harvard Press).

    For the record; Bush did not start this war. Osama bin Scr*wed did not start this war. This war has been ongoing for decades. We stopped being able to ignore it on 9/11.

  144. #144 |  Brian | 

    So, Radley, did Hirohito win WWII? I mean, Japan accomplished none of their goals, they lost their entire military, lost all their conquered territory, had two cities nuked, and had to suffer foreign occupation for years afterwards. But they did cause America to do terrible things to its own citizens, such as interning Japanese-Americans, and killed far more Americans and cost the U.S. far more treasure than OBL ever did.

    If you want to argue that he hurt us pretty badly, and is still hurting us through the loss of civil liberties, then fine–but saying that he achieved his objectives is utterly insane. This villain didn’t kill 3000 Americans with the goal of causing America to torture–what do you think this is, “The Dark Knight?” Osama wins if Batman kills him, because Batman isn’t supposed to kill?

  145. #145 |  jb | 


    Cute moniker.

    That you don’t know from whence cometh the US-generated figures speaks volumes about your knowlege.

    Start around 1812, and move forward. But bring a calculator.

    Q: Would a mere mill or so let the US off the hook?

  146. #146 |  Stick Johnson | 

    Your assertions, I believe, are meant in good spirit at pulling down the moral curtain behind the war on terror and I feel that many of your examples point out great flaws with our country currently, that is true.

    However, you give one person way to much credit for all of these wars and too little evidence to support that they were all caused by the singular actions of one man. While Obama was symbolic, to the U.S., as a figure head, and to his supporters he did not invent the idea of mass-terrorism on his own. To say that, in itself, could be very harmful considering that there is a vast network of economic funding and power structures supporting militant cells in more than three continents that specifically aim to harm American citizens.

    Is all the monitoring and private scrutiny necessary? NO!! I entirely agree with you on that. Most importantly, I agree with you that the American will and freedom of liberty has been injured in a way when every street corner from Texas to New York has a camera monitoring 24 hours in the sake of safety from terrorism.

    You make some great points, but without citing solid sources your argument becomes a little weaker. But you choose a great title so you will get hits from that. PEacE on EaRth!!!

  147. #147 |  omar | 

    Personally, I refer to the war with Islam as World War Zero (WW0), since it predates WWI by about 1,300 years.

    You can refer to this non-event involving multiple civilizations, races, and religions as one thing, but that would be a stretch of simplificatoin. We, meaning western civilization of generic Christian extraction I suppose, have been at war with other white people of other Christian extraction for all of that time as well. White people vs. Islam, others need not apply to WW0.

    Replace the words “Islam” with “Christianity”, change the stupid details, and your statement is indistinguishable from a bin Laden supporter.

    We’re fighting for our lives and our way of life, and we better start getting serious about fighting back before it’s too late.

    No we aren’t, no we don’t, and it’s not. What exactly do you suppose we do to get super serial? Shall we invade someone else? This attitude is simply non-thinking.

  148. #148 |  Stick Johnson | 

    Yeah, exactly man – I don’t think America believes in irony, I think they believe in getting the job done right!!

  149. #149 |  mk | 

    I agree with every word of this post except the first sentence. The Wright book makes no such case — that scenario is mentioned once, in passing, by Ali Soufan. While it would be convenient to think that bin Laden planned this all from beginning, the reality is that an inept administration and gullible American public have only themselves to blame for our disaster in the Middle East.

  150. #150 |  masonary | 

    Fuck you Radley. You coward scumbag.

  151. #151 |  Marking Osama Bin Laden’s death | One Fine Jay | 

    […] Bush and Obama’s policies in the name of national defense, but not without a heavy heart. Radley Balko has a list of sins done in our name and these are matters of fact. Yes, the initial intelligence was a product of enhanced […]

  152. #152 |  Greg C. | 

    Thanks for this post. I have not made a single comment to anyone ( either socially or privately) since the news. I just really didn’t want to allow myself to be drawn into a “debate” that will just take resources away from what I need to do in life and cause myself to become an emotional wreck. I observed twitter and facebook messages from friends and “friends” and mostly just shook my head or did my best to calm my anger. I was pleasantly surprised by a few people and comments and took some sense of pride- if I am “proud to be American” it is because of these dissenters, regular people who are not afraid to call B.S. on the whole narrative and show some flash of independent thought. If anyone wants to know what I think, I will direct them to this post. It pretty much sums it up.

  153. #153 |  BamBam | 

    @130 GT is on the money …

  154. #154 |  kcan | 

    It’s a relief to hear SOMEONE voice what I’ve been thinking but have been too sacred to say…

  155. #155 |  Osama | 

    Its not over.

  156. #156 |  Lost in Translation? MLK Jr. and Osama Bin Laden « Ice Cream Headache | 

    […] Hey, it’s perfectly fine to have feelings of confusion, antipathy, or pacifism following the announced death of high-profile figure at the center of a decade-long, costly, mishandled war. But I have to say to these would-be bleeding hearts – 1) get off your moral high horse and let Americans/New Yorkers/DCists/Military families/whoever feels the need just enjoy the damn day; and 2) if you want to make a poignant statement against the government war machine, remind people of the massive erosion of our civil rights over the past decade. […]

  157. #157 |  Bergman | 

    You defeat an enemy by identifying his objectives, and denying them to him. His defeat becomes total by denying him all of his objectives. You grant him victory by giving him things he wants. You grant him total victory by giving him everything he wants.

    About the only thing Osama wanted that we didn’t give him, was an open declaration of war on the religion of Islam. But between the way our citizens spit on the constitution at the sight of a turban, we’ve effectively done that too.

  158. #158 |  Two Bits | 


    All of the soldiers that tortured Vietnamese were prosecuted, all of the soldiers that tortured the N Koreas were prosecuted, all of the soldiers that tortured Japanese or Germans were prosecuted, all of the soldiers that tortured the Indians were prosecuted, all of the soldiers that tortured either the North or South prisoners of war were prosecuted, etc… The government spied on its citizens during the Vietnam War, locked up citizens during WWII, WWI, and the civil war. Every major war we have fought in had horrible things happen that would not live up to the standard that Balko was suggesting. Even in 1993 the get away driver for the WT bombing was tortured by Egypt before we brought him back to the states for trial.

    There was no glory period when the government behaved itself during a war. The methods have changed but terrible things and gross human rights violations have been with us from the beginning. The idea that we are fundamentally changed forever is just over the top, especially when you consider that our country enslaved blacks for over 200 years.

  159. #159 |  Two Bits | 

    I think that all of the things that are listed above are terrible and that more people should speak out about them, and I am very disappointed in Obama for not doing more to change course. But I’ll I’m saying is that one of the reasons to be down about the list above isn’t that we were clean before 9/11 and now this terrible new era has been written in our history. It is much more of a continuation from prior wars then people want to admit.

  160. #160 |  Joe PZ | 

    I agree with everything you point out, however Osama greatly underestimated the democratic tendencies of the middle eastern people. I think you must point out the fact that there are now democratic revolutions occurring in over 20 middle eastern countries, with little or no mention of Osama or Al Qaeda. Even if he did win, in terms of changing our freedom, privacy and lifestyle, he had little effectiveness in trying to hold back the tidal wave of democracy about to wash over “his people.”

  161. #161 |  Belligerati » Blog Archive » Has war transformed us into our enemies? | 

    […] I am sad that I cannot be more positive about this. I don’t think this makes us much safer because he is just one man, and at that one forced to lurk in the shadows for years as new leaders have arisen. In the interim. Lybia, Afganistan, Iraq, Syria, Chechnya have given rise to new skilled terrorists who have killed thousands. Iran appears stronger than ever. Yes, he is a symbol, and a powerful one, but little more than that.  If the threat of Islamic-fascism isn’t a overblown then I fear that this victory is more symbolic than substantive. I hope I’m wrong. Adding to my moral ambivalence is the worry that we only got him with information gathered through possibly illegal means. We may only know it because we tortured prisoners or violated Habeus Corpus. Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. Detective Work on Courier Led to Breakthrough on Bin Laden Update: I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one this death worship concerned. In addition to many of my friends and family who decried it on Facebook and by email, I found several bloggers who spoke out against it. “USA! USA!” is the wrong response Bin Laden’s death is a great relief, but by cheering it we’re mimicking our worst enemies BY DAVID SIROTA I Must Be A Bad American by Coyote Killing of bin Laden: What are the consequences?BY GLENN GREENWALD He Won by The Agitator […]

  162. #162 |  Ryan Vann | 

    Lot of good winning does when you are dead as dirt. I think the title of these article aught to be changed to we all lost, as that describes the scenario from basically all interested parties points of view (aside from maybe some defense contractors and arms manufacturers). With that said, I have no laments that Osama is dead; he was for all intents and purposes dead to me (perhaps literally) years ago. I don’t begrudge anyone who may be more celebratory about the news, but nobody should be foolish enough to think that the death has any significance in the continuing geo-politics and hostilities between the US and the Middle East

  163. #163 |  Osama part 3 « Righteous Path Blog | 

    […] this guy much […]

  164. #164 |  Ryan Vann | 

    Joe PZ,

    Democratic revolutions my foot. Those revolutions will result in theocratic states, unrecognizable to anyone in a modern republic. The only ME state that has any hope of a true liberal paradigm shift is Iran, and the US policy towards them is bellicose.

  165. #165 |  Sleep Interrupted « Maspik Teruzim | 

    […] I manage to keep abreast of current events just fine, thank you very much. (Speaking of the demise, this post at The Agitator has a sobering take on the […]

  166. #166 |  Ben | 

    #160 – Joe PZ

    We’ll see what kind of governments result from all those revolts. I doubt they’ll all be strong on civil liberties and human rights. I bet you 90% of them will end up functionally theocratic, primarily ruled by fundamentalists.

  167. #167 |  Was Waterboarding Worth It? - Page 2 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum | 

    […] carriers, which is then used against U.S. citizens, mostly to serve drug warrants. more at- He Won | The Agitator __________________ "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be […]

  168. #168 |  Adios, motherfucker! « Blunt Object | 

    […] Laden’s death.  Like Brad, I’m not thrilled about the means of his killing, and like Radley Balko I see this as a spectacularly destructive net loss — but all wars are spectacularly […]

  169. #169 |  Whim | 

    OBL achieved all of his major objectives. What has actually been achieved in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya? Nothing that will last.

    Using very little resources, 19 terrorists proceeded to take over 4 of our own airplanes and then use them as missiles against us.

    This provokes the intended reaction desired by OBL. Coincidentally, Al Queda operatives assassinate the leader of the Northern Alliance, Mr. Massoud, the same day, Sept. 11, 2001.

    We attack the Taliban, using an excellent strategy of assisting the Northern Alliance, and drive the Taliban out of power. Then, we pause before destroying the Taliban, and allow it to reconstitute itself while NATO begins “Nation-Building” in Afghanistan.

    Then, all dressed up for a war that didn’t happen in Afghanistan, Geo. W. Bush to his eternal disgrace invades a country that is not a threat to the U.S., and does NOT support terrorism. Eight years, later, we’re still stuck in Iraq like its fly paper. Our removal of secular Saddam Hussein has fractured Iraq, and immensely strengthened Iran, our implacable Theocratic foe.

    Yes, our military finally snuffed OBL.

    But at what cost?

    And, OBL achieved all of his major objectives…….

    In the next few months, let’s see how these so-called Democracy movements actually gel in the Middle East.

    They could all be just a front for different tentacles of the Muslim Brotherhood.

  170. #170 |  America’s Shameful Response to Osama bin Laden’s Death | Political Progressives | 

    […] have as humans, and that if we ever do need to take away that right, it should not be celebrated. This interesting commentary from The Agitator points out all the polices and attitudes that bin Laden was able to change in America before he […]

  171. #171 |  Greg N. | 

    Brian @144 nails it.

  172. #172 |  Joe | 

    Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special ops team can fix.

    Brian at #144 is spot on. And I am pretty sure the last thing through Obama’s mind (just before the bullet) was “I have achieved all I have set out to acheive.” Unless you equate Osama bin Laden “winning” with Charlie Sheen “winning.”

    I agree OSL caused a lot of death and destruction. I agree that our country made some grevious errors in prosecuting this war. I agree our civil liberties have suffered as a result. But I think you need your vacation to reflect on things. And maybe consider things are not quite as bad as you think they are.

  173. #173 |  Elena LaVictoire | 

    So next time someone performs an act of terror on our land and kills thousands of innocent people we should what exactly?

  174. #174 |  CyniCAl | 

    Biggest “who gives a shit” of all time.

    No one I know talked more than a sentence or two about this today. And I know no other anarchists in my immediate circle.

    No flags, no ribbons. No emotion whatsoever. No one cares. My daughter said no one even talked about it at her high school, a public school.

    You people who believe the government’s word on faith make me want to puke. No proof whatsover and you all are talking about this like you know it’s true. And I thought The Agitator crowd had some critical thinking skills. Oh well, like the rigged card game, it’s the only game in town.

    Anyone out there honest enough to admit that no one knows what happened, what the truth is? Well, none of us peons anyway.

  175. #175 |  CyniCAl | 

    BTW, love all the “shut the fuck ups” and “fuck yous” this post generated. Should warm the cockles of every liberty-minded individual.

  176. #176 |  Mr. Personality | 

    Too Soon!

    I’m jubilant in the bastard’s death, but I know what you’re saying. But, is one day out of 10 years to celebrate too much to ask?

    Starting tomorrow, I will get back to my grumblings.

    Rock on, Balko!

  177. #177 |  Choice quotes on murder as justice « A Leap of Bad Faith | 

    […] the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special ops team can fix.” – He Won | The Agitator GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  178. #178 |  Les | 

    So next time someone performs an act of terror on our land and kills thousands of innocent people we should what exactly?

    It’s not what we should do, it’s what we shouldn’t do. We shouldn’t lie to the world in order to justify invading countries that had nothing to do with the attack. We shouldn’t send prisoners to countries where we know they’ll be tortured. We shouldn’t torture prisoners. We shouldn’t hold prisoners indefinitely without trials. We shouldn’t enact policies that guarantee the violent deaths of innocent civilians, even if they are only impoverished foreigners.

    As for what we should do, well, beyond acting within the confines of the Constitution and common decency, I really don’t know. But I’m sure there are plenty of really smart people in intelligence and the military who have plenty of good ideas.

  179. #179 |  cApitalist | 

    Good to hear from you CyniCAl.

    I’m with you. I don’t think, “do you think OBL was killed yesterday?” is a very interesting question. There’s no way any of us could have any idea. But, a better question is, “if someone were going to fake this for political gain, how would it be handled?” I bet it would be announced just prior to the incumbent’s reelection campaign and the body would be disposed of immediately.

    And even if it is true, the US government squandered over 1 trillion dollars in stolen wealth and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians just to kill one crazy old asshole who was never convicted of a crime. USA! USA!

    I need a drink…

  180. #180 |  Rick H. | 

    “For the record, there’s nothing remotely suspicious about the fact that “Osama” was shot in the face and promptly buried at sea.”

    No reason to doubt the Official Story. Why, it’s so implausible it has to be true!

    Not to mention, what’s the political benefit to making it up? Our fine, trustworthy leaders have nothing to gain from a bipartisan celebration of infantile xenophobia, government violence and nationalism. It’s just for our collective good, that’s all.

  181. #181 |  CyniCAl | 

    And you Capitalist, thanks. It is always strange when TPTB bitch-slap the proles in the face, and so brazenly. When I saw my first news report, I looked at my wife and said, “Really?! Wow, it must be a slow news day. He’s been dead for like 10 years, right? Why now?”

    And then I stopped caring, except for the amusing read of the comments section to this post.

    Reminds me of how the media all decided for us when the new millenium began … in a year ending in zero!!! Who cares about math — we’ve got to watch the odometer roll over!!!

    And everyone just goes along with it. Millennium starts in a zero year, Kennedy died just like the government said, and so it is the same with Bin Laden, whoever that might have been.

    It’s one thing to compare the world in which we live to 1984, it’s quite another to be given clear examples of actually living in 1984 — oddly, refreshingly shocking, like suddenly discovering (again perhaps?) that life is real.

    Saddest part of 1984 is Winston Smith realizing that the only hope for change lay with the proles, then coming to understand that the proles would or could never act.

  182. #182 |  CyniCAl | 

    Well put Rick, glad the skeptics are making themselves heard. Last night was the greatest suckfest in media history, it actually hurt to watch it.

    I think someone wrote here not long ago (or maybe it was on ZeroHedge) about the Japanese having two different concepts of reality — the reality that exists and the reality that everyone pretends exists.

    Kurt Vonnegut touched on this in Mother Night, that one must be careful who one pretends to be, because one is who one pretends to be.

    It is times like these that make me aware of just how outnumbered us cynicoskeptics are.

  183. #183 |  Strange | 

    “how we’ve changed since September 11 . . .
    We’ve sent terrorist suspects to “black sites” to be detained without trial and tortured.
    We’ve turned terrorist suspects over to other regimes, knowing that they’d be tortured.
    The government illegally spied and eavesdropped on thousands of American citizens.”

    These were going on before 9/11.
    Clinton’s very first rendition to Egypt was tortured to death. Then he sent more. Ain’t much interpretation required there about the purpose.

    Likewise with the NSA spying on Americans. Would you have given a pass to Bush if he had instead sent the NSA to Canada to setup a Canadian base from which to spy on Americans? Well that’s actually what the pre-9/11 system was, Bush just did away with the geographical CYA.

  184. #184 |  Open Thread And Link Farm: Carnival Barkers Edition | Alas, a Blog | 

    […] “Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for the worse. Mostly because we let him.” […]

  185. #185 |  Obligatory bin Laden Post | The Bawdy House Provisions | 

    […] Ridgely nominated Radley Balko for best post-bin Laden post. Out of all two that I’ve read, I’d have to agree. […]

  186. #186 |  albatross | 

    Elena #173:

    That’s a worthwhile question, and one that looks hard to answer. I think the most important thing we can do is recognize that it’s impossible to stop all terrorist attacks, and that many of the obvious things we can think to do will cost hundreds or thousands of times as much as any benefit we get from them. (That is, we can try to overcome the natural politicians’ urge to Do Something, and instead engage in some cost-benefit analysis.)

  187. #187 |  Mattocracy | 


    That is a poor comparison. WWII was a conventional war that we clearly won. The WoT is not a conventional war, we’re still fighting it, don’t seem to have an end in site, and it’s bankrupting us. It’s still pissing off the rest of the world, and as long as we keep fighting, we’ll always be creating our enemy continuesly. In that sense, we’re not winning. We’re getting closer and closer to economic collapse and the WoT is a big reason why. It’s not that OBL won, it’s that we sure as fuck aren’t winning and our leaders are too stupid to realize that this ship is sinking right underneath us.

    Sorry if that hurts everyone’s patriotic feelings. I know it sucks when your side is fuckig up. It’s a really hard thing to have to admit to when we’ve all had so much to proud of when it comes to being Americans. But goddamnit, are we really going to just march off the edge of the world lock step and pretend we’re not destroying ourselves in the process? There is nothing patriotic about supporting a government and it’s dumb decisions.

  188. #188 |  Balloon Juice » The Flames are All Long Gone But the Pain Lingers On | 

    […] hard pressed to disagree with any of this. I wonder if this will earn a Moore award from […]

  189. #189 |  Ajay | 

    I have felt this all along. Regardless of outcome of wars(both have been failures), Osama controlled us. When he said jump, America said how high. We gave up everything we stand for. Fuck, torture is now supposed to *the* thing and we are so proud of it.

    OBL wanted high price of gas, US to waste money in wars, incite muslims to be against US etc. Bush/right wing gave him all this very quickly. In US, muslims cant even have a house to pray without controversy. OBL, for the evil he was, he was a master tactician as he exploited weaknesses in our political system.

  190. #190 |  Ajay | 

    @144 Brian,

    > but saying that he achieved his objectives is utterly insane

    WTF? What exactly is that he didnt achieve? In his wildest dreams, he didnt expect US to cave in so quickly and spectacularly. Iraq war was a wet dream for OBL. He wanted gas aroudn $144/barrel when it over $100 less than. Bush gave him that. He wanted americans outside US be fighting with Muslims. Bush said why not. He wanted all muslims to hate america, we are doing a good job of it by making this hatred as main stream. We are trillions down in the hole and he wanted us bankrupt. My goodness, wtf did he fail in?

  191. #191 |  Osama bin Laden: mission accomplished? « Phil Ebersole's Blog | 

    […] on He Won for Radley Balko’s list of all the objectives that Osama bin Laden achieved.  He pointed out […]

  192. #192 |  The “See Something Say Something Act” | Truth and Justice For All | 

    […] Radley Balko, whom I follow (as most know who read me regularly), put together an important post that explains — in excruciatingly painful detail — how in fact, even in death, Osama bin Laden actually won by achieving not only his primary goals of causing the United States to wage war both geographically and ethnically, alienating Muslims everywhere, but as well changing the nature of American society, and not for the better. See his post, “He Won.” […]

  193. #193 |  neonnautilus | 

    One might argue that OBL did not “forever change who we are”, but that he brought out into the open one of the least admirable characteristics of the USofA. We’ve been down the torture road before during the Reagan administration in Central and South America. We probably used plenty of enhanced interrogation during the VN war. Who knows when it started and whether it will ever end. Otherwise you are spot on. OBL accomplished his goals of humiliating our country and luring us into unwinnable wars.

  194. #194 |  neonnautilus | 

    I have to add that it took George Bush to accomplish OBL’s goals for him. Probably any president would have taken us into Afghanistan, but only Bush could have abandoned Afghanistan for his war on Iraq.

  195. #195 |  JS | 

    “It’s not that OBL won, it’s that we sure as fuck aren’t winning and our leaders are too stupid to realize that this ship is sinking right underneath us.

    Sorry if that hurts everyone’s patriotic feelings. I know it sucks when your side is fuckig up. It’s a really hard thing to have to admit to when we’ve all had so much to proud of when it comes to being Americans. But goddamnit, are we really going to just march off the edge of the world lock step and pretend we’re not destroying ourselves in the process? There is nothing patriotic about supporting a government and it’s dumb decisions.”

    Glenn Greenwald warned against voicing a dissenting opinion during the next few days although you’d think it would be ok to do on here. In a week or so all the patriotic goose stepping and flag waving and hymn singers singing “How great we are” will calm down and honest opinions can come out. In the end Radley was right. Bin Laden wanted to bring down America just like the war in Afghanistan brought down the Soviet Union, bleeding them to death economically. We haven’t had our Berlin wall moment just yet but it seeems pretty close.

  196. #196 |  What Osama bin Laden accomplished « Later On | 

    […] him. OTOH, one must recognize that, in terms of his self-assigned mission, he accomplished a lot. Radley Balko has a good summary: n The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author […]

  197. #197 |  Random Nuclear Strikes » Sadly | 

    […] have to agree with Balko. The people who gladly traded liberty for the illusion of security handed him that victory. […]

  198. #198 |  Torture didn’t help us track down bin Laden « Rturpin's Blog | 

    […] claims. With that now as part of the American political fabric, it’s tempting, as some on the left do, to credit bin Laden with how America changed in the decade of the noughts. I think that’s a […]

  199. #199 |  Joe Blow | 

    Emmanuel Goldstein

  200. #200 |  Peter A | 

    “Flying in America now means enduring a humiliating and hassling ritual that does little if anything to actually make flying any safer.

    For the record – airport hassles (take your laptop out of the bag, separate security checks for flights to the US from Europe) began under the Clinton administration. It’s gotten worse, but this was a process that was well under way even before 9/11.

  201. #201 |  Joe | 

    I am going with Usama bin Laden just to avoid the Obama typos with Osama bin Laden. My bad up above at #172.

    I agree that UBL caused a lot of grief and was a very bad guy. I agree that the US has, far too readily, given up civil liberties and freedom under the guise of safety. We need to resist that here at home. While we are at war with an enemy which is ruthless and cunning, I think we are slowly making headway. And while it is premature to declare victory, I suspect they did score a lot of invaluable information yesterday and that we may be on the way to breaking a lot of the remaining al Qaeda cells. Will that eliminate Islamo extremism? Heck no. But it is a step forward.

    UBL is not winning. He wanted a restored Calphanite. Now maybe the Muslim Brotherhood acheives that dream in Egypt, but my guess is it will not. Regardless of what you thought about events in Iraq, al Qaeda certainly didn’t get victory in Iraq. Rather the Muslim world got a taste of what it would be like with these guys in charge.

    Let’s learn from our mistakes and move forward.

  202. #202 |  Simple Man Baby Pays | Poison Your Mind | 

    […] Radley Balko says we lost: In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author […]

  203. #203 |  Anger, Arrogance, Canada, and Osama bin Laden | 

    […] Laden struck terror in so many, but if you react to him with anger, as I see so many doing now, he wins, and he knew this.  Bin Laden is dead, but he can still hurt us if you allow him to do so.  Remember that; as […]

  204. #204 |  links for 2011-05-03 « Embololalia | 

    […] He Won | The Agitator In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden’s motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the September 11 attacks, was to draw the U.S. and the West into a prolonged war—an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam. […]

  205. #205 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    …by M. Night Shamalan?

  206. #206 |  Obama Out of the Osama Loop « ricketyclick | 

    […] this from Radly Balko: because of the actions of one guy [Osama bin Laden], we allowed all the bullet points above to […]

  207. #207 |  jspoke | 

    He masterminded a horrible event, but did we really need to parade in the streets like sport fans whose team had won the Super Bowl/NBA Championship/World Cup/Stanley Cup. I wish that the “celebrating” had been more about remembering the 9/11 victims than devoting any attention to him. I also find it a bit hypocritical to be celebrating in the street because we “got him” yet being morally replused when Muslims celebrate the killing of our soldiers. We should better than this because we are Americans yet I felt that we were acting very much like people we supposedly “hate” so much.

  208. #208 |  Dave Ex Machina – A Thousand Points of Articulation » I Killed the Boss, Where’s My Powerup? | 

    […] He won. —Tags: […]

  209. #209 |  Tamora | 

    @ Osamaisdead

    Conceited. Sorry, I tend to block out any idea that what you’re saying is intelligent after the misspelling.

  210. #210 |  ‘David Hume’ misses the point « Occluded Sun | 

    […] the comment. Then read the post above […]

  211. #211 |  jason | 

    muslims are not allowed to build a simple place of worhship???? aw im so AGITATED. you got me you agitator you

    hey uh,, how many mosques are currently in the US? how many built since 9-11? seems a lot of mosques were allowed to me.

    the crowds out celebrating to me seemed mostly like college kids who what.. need an excuse to go binge drinking.

    your no better then all the other inflammatory rating whores. you finger pointers where was your intellect when WE needed you?

  212. #212 |  Gill Bates | 

    You made best of the web. Congratulations on you mention in Taranto’s daily. He’s right by the way.

  213. #213 |  CyniCAl | 

    The denizens of Plato’s cave knew more about the world than any of us here. It is beyond absurd to read the individual subscriptions to fairy tales, bedtime stories and campfire ghost tales here. The unification of church and state is complete — each of you is taking the word of the State as gospel truth, when the real truth is no one knows jack shit about who OBL is, if he really existed, what his intentions were, what actually transpired, etc. This has turned into a religious thread and is extremely uncharacteristic of the level of thinking usually found at The Agitator.

  214. #214 |  American Psyche « IAmA Cosmopolite AMA | 

    […] thousands of dead soldiers, war cost (3 trillion), tarnished American image, and degrading liberty (a list). Americans just want some closure, some silver lining, and an end to this nightmare, even though […]

  215. #215 |  In Which I Mostly Validate Your Osama Bloodlust | 

    […] like an Edvard Munch painting. Also strange to me is that less than a day after the single most accomplished terrorist of all time is murdered by a bunch of Americans, so many were in a race to winnow down the spectrum […]

  216. #216 |  Teenagers these days…. | The Agitator | 

    […] but I think this is depressing on many levels. Epecially if you read Radley’s excellent post the other day on how Bin Laden ultimately won, as he changed who we are as a country, and for the […]

  217. #217 |  Radley Balko Lays An Egg | his vorpal sword | 

    […] like the mildest criticism whilst taking his bows for mental acuity and other trapeze stunts, having rejected this mild comment: Welcome to the party, Mr. Balko, if just a couple years late. Ted Koppel was, himself, already a […]

  218. #218 |  Liz | 

    I’m Australian, so as one of your ‘allies’ 9/11 (or 9/12 in our country), we’re impacted by the decisions made. As a mum of two lil people, it concerns me as to the way the predominantly ‘Christian’ and ‘Muslim’ countries are becoming socially polarized & continue to be at war. But with all that’s transpired in the past, I still am unable to feel ‘good’ about Osama being murdered. In the words of a great American leader…

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr

  219. #219 |  This Is Where We Should Feel Good, Right? « Nothing Was Delivered | 

    […] And we blew it. For the past decade we have taken what could have been a an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to being a force of good in the world and have instead allowed our nation to become a funhouse mirror version of itself. And every one of us is responsible. We’ve turned on each other by allowing our civil liberties to be eroded. We’ve turned on others by claiming the right to invade other countries and treat their citizens as non-entities. […]

  220. #220 |  Celebrating a loss, Bin Laden’s victory in death | Daily Libertarian | 

    […] Read the rest at Balko’s The Agitator […]

  221. #221 |  wriskit | 

    Your interpretation of the” permanent” significance of OBL’s death is facile even if much of the details you cite are factual in describing our mistakes in strategy and execution since 9/11 which was an act of war that had to be answered. It should have been responded to by covert special forces since an army is useless against a group of terrorists. That responsible action would still have been criticized by you since covert actions do not follow the rules of judicial finesse except hat they are authorized by the executive power of the president. Covert action is still required today to confront terrorism. We should bring our armies home ASAP. The political battles over how we run the country can be decided by the will of the people if they only vote.

  222. #222 |  Civilization and Barbarism | Magic Blue Smoke | 

    […] the case of someone so virulent as Osama bin Laden, Radley Balko is right: he won. We saw to […]

  223. #223 |  demize! | 

    #211 Oh my brother, you have spoken many truths in that short post. I care not at all to discuss this further as I have become wearyan, but to say the elite lies with such ease and abandon as it always has. To expect the government not to lie just this once is to expect the scorpion to not sting the frog on crossing the river.

  224. #224 |  demize! | 

    Excuse syntax, grammer, spelling, etc. Kill my phone’s keyboard and my lack of patience.

  225. #225 |  chimpytt | 


    I think you will find we always have an enemy. We are always at war. OBL didn’t win shit, he was merely the face on the poster this decade.

  226. #226 |  SMT | 

    It’s much too simplistic to say Osama ‘won’ based on those two simple goals outlined above. Osama had other, much bigger goals which, in light of current events in the Middle East, can only be said to have failed.

    Osama was waging two battles – one against the US, in which yes, he drew the US into a couple of bloody wars, the long-term effects of which are yet unknown. However, his bigger dream of seeing the US collapse as the Soviets did before them has not come to fruition (yet), and he will not have lived to see it in any case. As for dragging ‘the West’ into an eternal war with ‘Islam’, all that shows is that Osama viewed the Muslim world and its relations with the rest of the world in much the same simplistic way that afflicts many Americans and Europeans.

    Osama’s second battle took place within the Muslim world, and here there’s no doubt he lost, big time, and it’s pretty much his own fault more than anybody else. There was perhaps a five-year opportunity post-9/11 when Osama could have successfully capitalized on the wave of anti-American feeling fuelled by the Iraq war and other issues. His aim was to mobilize the Muslim world to over-throw their regimes in order to implement his own brand of Salafism. Instead, he launched (or his followers launched, doesn’t really matter) a campaign of unimaginable brutality in Iraq and elsewhere, with all the horrible consequences that has brought upon Muslims everywhere, thus alienating the vast majority of them and completely discrediting his ideas. And nothing illustrates this better than the recent upheavals in the ME, where he has been exposed as…irrelevant. And good riddance.

  227. #227 |  The Harmlessness (and Inevitability) of “USA! USA!” « Submitted to a Candid World | 

    […] writer observes that we’ve done a lot for fear — and lost a part of ourselves in the process. But Bin Laden’s death, rationally or […]

  228. #228 |  Rob in CT | 

    It’s not really that OBL won (I’m putting that down as some exaggeration-for-effect in a headline), it’s that we scored so many own-goals. OBL himself lost (his goals were in many cases hilariously delusional), but our record is rather poor.

  229. #229 |  Boulderswithadashofsalt | 

    You should definitely see SYRIANNA (a geopolitical hypothetical literature-as-science portrait of the Middle East theatre(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syriana)) because OBL is just one piece of the horrible puzzle.

  230. #230 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    They faked the moon landing and Kid Rock’s career. They can fake OBL’s death.

  231. #231 |  Matt Derp | 

    I also disagree with those supporting excessive airport security, as it is basically security theater.
    None of the measures other than basic metal detectors (which have always been useful) have any practical use, our security measures are all reactionary, they are never preventative or proactive.
    We have to deal with liquid bans because of hypotheticals revolving around one of the least practical explosives ever to threaten air travel.
    When the shoe bomber tried to sneak bombs in his shoes, we made everyone take their shoes off, after the attempt already happened.
    When the underwear bomber tried to blow up the plane, we added full body scanning.
    We’re just lucky all of these attempts were foiled by dumb luck, for all intensive purposes they succeeded in defeating our security.
    None of these methods will ever repeat and the next attack will always be a method that circumvents the previous generation of security, all the while inconveniencing the rest of us, for a false sense of security.
    3d scanners?
    Expect explosives via body implants, removing non-vital organs for extra lethality etc…

  232. #232 |  Christopher Carr | 

    Dear Mr. Balko and readers, I have written a response to the death of bin Laden for my own website, the Inductive, which references this article. I’m wondering if I am correct in my assertion that the death of bin Laden serves more than anything as an opportunity to clearly perceive the nature of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

    There is more on the death of Osama bin Laden and metanarrative at:


  233. #233 |  tedbohne | 

    was COMMITTED ACTS OF TERRORISM BY THE US FOR OVER A CENTURY, one of the list? the US is the leading purveyor of terrorism on earth, followed closely by Israel. if the US would cease terrorizing small countries, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t try against american marshmallows. the CIA and FBI stated publicly that no actionable evidence was found linking bin Laden 911, that mantel fell on the shoulder of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. George, and his dick, Cheney both ON TELEVISION backed away from bin Laden as the ringleader or mastermind of 911. 911 is still up in the air except for the people who have an IQ greater than shirt size. America is a terrorist state, and a rogue. It is run by an international banking cartel at top of which sits the Bank of International Settlements, (BIS) the bastard child of the Rothschild robber barons. US Corporations made a KILLING off of 911 and the resulting wars that are presently LOST. this “orgasmic” belch by the americans over bin laden’s death is sickening. buried at sea? why? they didn’t want his grave to become a shrine. well unless he was a hero to the middle easterners, why would anyone consider him worthy of a shrine. that dog don’t hunt. that’s why you have unmarked graves and fire. the story out of Washington has already gone through a number of transmutations. so, clearly the truth is yet to be known. But that doesn’t matter to americans. all their interested in is gods, guns and flags. the mental equivalent of a forest of tree stumps.


  234. #234 |  tedbohne | 

    now, the first responders have to prove they’re not terrorists to recover monies owed them by the US Corporate government for injuries and illnesses aquired at ground zero on 911. one more thing. if Usama bin Laden was hated so much, why did the US offer what they referred to as “observance of muslim religious rites?’ I know a side show when I see one, and this one isn’t any good.

  235. #235 |  Wiklliam C Wesley | 

    The CIA recruited and trained Osama Bin Laden during the Soviet Afgan war, Later they recruited and trained Sadam Hussien and helped instal him as leader in Iraq, this is a mater of public record. It seems to me that if the American people are seeking to find the source of our problems they need look no further than the CIA. Without the CIA there would have been no Osama Bin Laden, no Sadam Hussien, and earlier still no Pol Pot who killed 3 million people. Why do we not hold the CIA accountable for the actions of their former agents, who learned everything from them? Because ignorance is Bliss

  236. #236 |  Strange | 

    “The CIA recruited and trained Osama Bin Laden during the Soviet Afgan war … ignorance is Bliss”

    Apparently so.

  237. #237 |  Some depressing things « Other People's Ideas | 

    […] Economist’s Democracy in America blog links to this reflection on Osama bin Laden. While acknowledging the positive result of Bin Laden’s death – that […]

  238. #238 |  Phoenix Living » politicky weekend links > Reesa Brown's homepage | 

    […] He Won — how Bin Laden changed the face of America for the worse Obama and the End of Al-Qaeda — How Obama could actually come out of this looking awesome…if only… Muslim nations sound off on Bin Laden — so over him, already Top 10 Myths about Bin Laden’s death — wow these spring up fast […]

  239. #239 |  Peter | 

    Well said sir. Thank you (and also Judge Napolitano and John Stossel) for being the only Designated Drivers during this macabre nationwide lawn party.

  240. #240 |  Balloon Juice » Flying While Brown | 

    […] Yet people want to argue when you point out that Osama has won. […]

  241. #241 |  How the American people are like a 10-dollar whore | Nobody's Business | 

    […] keep us all safe no matter what the cost to our liberties and to our wallets. I’d call that an unqualified victory. Bin Laden and his nineteen 9/11 henchmen even got the U.S. government to be his abettors. He and […]

  242. #242 |  >How Osama Won « Spatial Orientation | 

    […] impeccably captures my sentiments on this delicate matter. I have nothing substantive to add to his column, so just read it! In fact, you should check his site regularly if you don’t already do […]

  243. #243 |  Personal Krubner » Blog Archive » Osama bin Laden’s victory | 

    […] Osama bin Laden’s victory Tuesday, August 09th, 2011 | Author: lawrence Radley Balko writes of all that Osama bin Laden acheived, in terms of changing the USA: We have also fundamentally altered who we are. A partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list of how […]

  244. #244 |  Friday Links (6-May-11) -- a Nadder! | 

    […] Great bit from Radley Balko about how in the end, Osama won […]

  245. #245 |  Afternoon NOLA Yard Action, Ya Hurd May? | 

    […] in response to my statement that we shouldn’t allow bin Laden to win.  Hello!?!?  As this article states, we’ve given bin Laden exactly what he wanted; he […]

  246. #246 |  Osama. | Miscellaneous Heathen | 

    […] most cogent and clearest analysis of all this comes from Radley Balko. In his view, dead or not, Osama won. You should read this, even if you skip most of the rest of these links. He set out to harm […]