Victory or Defeat – A comment

When a few days before his disappearance, I heard Osama Bin Laden’s statement that the foundations for the destruction of the US were already laid, I thought he was either too naéve or had gone out of his mind. However, as time passes, the emerging scenario indicates a subtle sense of Osama’s thought process.

Immediately after the 11th of September attacks, the entire American leadership denounced the incident as an ‘Attack on the American way of Life’ and vowed to thwart such designs of the perpetrators of this gruesome tragedy. The success or failure of the Bush Administration’s war against terrorism should, thus, be analyzed in this perspective. This being the gauge, one must openly acknowledge that they have miserably failed as the ” American way of life” is slow being taken apart one step at a time. Civil Liberties, ‘the American strength’, have been hit hard. Before 11th September, nobody could have thought that military courts would be functioning to try civilians, albeit foreigners in the US. Multi-ethnicity, which played a major role in the development of this country, has also been polarized with biased treatment being meted out to Muslims and Arabs in the garb of ‘investigations’. The greatest exponent of ‘free media/press’, the US is not only clamping down on it’s own media but also arm twisting other foreign channels and denying people the right to hear different points of view, Al-Jazeera being a case in point. The American people now live a life of fear and uncertainty, thanks to hoaxes created by the government to justify spending billions of dollars.

Militarily, the losses are greater in magnitude than the gains. If killing a few hundred Taliban or Al Qaida members is construed as victory, the Americans must understand that in such ‘movements’ killing of one breeds many. Even their removal from power will have little effect on their activities given the demography of Afghanistan. They have dispersed and not been destroyed, retaining the capability to conduct a low intensity urban-guerilla campaign. In the bargain, however, the Americans have had to reconcile with the installation of a totally Russian/Iranian sponsored regime (barring a planted head who remains vulnerable to elimination). This, the Americans, so vehemently prevented from happening in the eighties.

Such developments have far reaching ramifications as seeds of dissent are being sown. US’s belligerency, not Osama bin Laden, has surely initiated a process far more destructive than the one we witnessed on the 11th of September. Even the coalition partners are becoming skeptical of President Bush’s handling of the whole issue, including expanding the scope of anti-terrorism operations to target other Muslim countries.

With the American way of life shattered, the economy sliding down-wards, pro Russian/Irani government in Afghanistan, the Coalition weakened, most of the Al Qaeda / Taliban intact (but dispersed) and Osama Bin Laden at large it seems that Osama’s words might have a ring of truth in them. History is often described as the ‘rise and fall of nations’. Where the US is today it can only fall, President Bush is only hastening the process.