From the Washington Post:
Did Osama bin Laden win? No. Did he succeed? Well, America is still standing, and he isn’t. So why, when I called Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism expert who specializes in al-Qaeda, did he tell me that “bin Laden has been enormously successful”? There’s no caliphate. There’s no sweeping sharia law. Didn’t we win this one in a clean knockout?
Apparently not. Bin Laden, according to Gartenstein-Ross, had a strategy that we never bothered to understand, and thus that we never bothered to defend against. What he really wanted to do — and, more to the point, what he thought he could do — was bankrupt the United States of America. […]
The campaign [against Soviet aggression in Afghanistan in the 1980s] taught bin Laden a lot. For one thing, superpowers fall because their economies crumble, not because they’re beaten on the battlefield. For another, superpowers are so allergic to losing that they’ll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand. This was bin Laden’s plan for the United States, too.
With trillions of dollars of debt and expanding wars all over the world, bin Laden accomplished exactly what he set out to do, bankrupt the United States, much like he helped bankrupt the Soviet Union. Furthermore, until Americans understand the root cause of terrorism, there will never be an end to it, perhaps just what the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex wants. More enemies means a bigger budget; simple really. The US government has been killing people all over the world for decades, isn’t there a chance that some of the “collateral damage” (the governments lovely term for when they kill innocent civilians) has created more terrorists? How would Americans feel if a foreign power periodically bombed our cities, propped up dictators in our government, placed deadly sanctions on us and had the temerity to say it was for our own good?
If the US government uses this occasion to start reeling in the empire, then this would have been a great accomplishment indeed. However, with the statements coming out of Washington, there is likely to be further expansion of the empire at a time when the government is bankrupt and the economy is teetering on the edge of a dollar crisis.
Regardless of what one believes about the bin Laden story, the world is better off with him gone. Of course, the world would be a lot better off if the mass-murderers in Washington were voted out of office as well.