Jim Sleeper: Osama Bin Dustbin?
Jim Sleeper is a lecturer in politics at Yale University.
There's something valid in "great man" versions of history, including those focusing on the diabolically great: Without Adolph Hitler, it's unlikely that German racism, especially anti-Semitism, would have become as shattering and unspeakable as it did. Without Osama bin Laden, Islamicist terrorism probably wouldn't have become as maniacally effective and widespread as it has.
But while these men had tremendous catalytic or poisoning effects on the societies they touched, that was partly because they were channeling and intensifying dark, swift undercurrents already running in their societies. And it's partly for that reason that the damage such leaders do in harnessing such dark undercurrents outlasts their deaths.
Learning of Osama bin Laden's demise, I can't help but recall Paul Bremer III's announcing in Baghdad the capture of Saddam Hussein: "Ladies and Gentlemen, We got him!" And our troubles in Iraq were over, right?...
comments powered by Disqus
- Kissinger Memo from 1972: Make the North Vietnamese think Nixon and I are crazy
- How Much U.S. History Do Americans Actually Know? Less Than You Think.
- Ice cream cone named after Adolf Hitler on sale in India sparks anger in Germany
- Expressing Outrage over Attacks on Cultural Heritage of Iraq, General Assembly Unanimously Adopts Resolution Calling for Urgent Action
- Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize