The psychological effect of bin Laden’s death on his supporters

John Guardiano writes at The American Spectator:

[T]he psychological effects of bin Laden’s confirmed death cannot be overstated. He loomed large in the Islamist imagination. And the fact that the United States seemed unable to kill or capture him for so long emboldened our enemies and instilled fear and apprehension in our friends and allies.

I saw this firsthand while serving as a Marine in Iraq in 2003. Not infrequently, Iraqis would ask me about bin Laden. “Where was he?” they asked. “Why couldn’t the mighty United States of America defeat him?”

Thus to some Iraqis—and not only Iraqis, but to many ordinary Muslims throughout the Middle East and North Africa—bin Laden took on an almost mythical status. He was viewed as a sort of Jesse James figure—as a wily and rebellious outlaw who cunningly and miraculously defied the awesome military might of the United States of America.

This gave bin Laden and the Islamists tremendous political power, despite their manifest military weakness. And so it is that bin Laden’s death, likewise, will strike a tremendous blow against America’s enemies: Because the message that has been sent now to everyone worldwide is clear and devastating: The United States won’t quit, and the United States will not be defeated.

Oh, it might take the Americans some time to get their bearings; it might take some time for them to turn things around and to win. But make no mistake: those Americans are unrelenting and indomitable. And if you rain destruction down upon them, they will kill you and all those who are allied with you—maybe not right away, but in time. You can count on it. So act accordingly.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 02, 2011 10:31 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):