Osama bin Laden was an evil man. He directed and encouraged the killing of thousands of innocent people from many faiths and backgrounds. He claimed to defend Muslims, but his actions simply brought devastation and misery to countless Muslims across the world. His death should not be mourned.
The movement he created, Al-Qaeda, is marginalised and despised the world over. The wave of rebellion sweeping the Arab world owed nothing to a man who led his followers into a dead-end of nihilistic destruction and religious bigotry. For the millions struggling for freedom from dictatorship and foreign oppression, bin Laden offered nothing.
But, by his deeds, bin Laden aimed to drive a wedge between the Muslim and non-Muslim world. He set out to provoke a bloody reaction, and Bush and Blair played right into his hands. Bin Laden would have perversely seen this as a victory of sorts.
Instead of responding to the events of 9-11 as an act of criminality, focusing all resources on pursuing the culprits, Bush and Blair invaded two countries, destabilised many more, and provoked an ugly tide of anti-Muslim racism. All of this gave succour to bin Laden’s narrative that the West was really engaged in a war against Islam.
The consequence has been to destabilise the world to a degree that bin Laden could not have imagined in his wildest dreams. How many more bin Laden’s have been created by this disastrous ‘war on terror’?