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
- World War I records reveal myths and realities of soldiers with ‘shell shock’
- Were Neanderthals a sub-species of modern humans? New research says no
- Irish archaeological sites explain huge European population fall
- Reactions to JFK Assassination Included Fear of Possible Soviet Strike against U.S.; Desire to "Bond" with LBJ
- Swiss Museum to Announce Decision on Nazi-Looted Art Next Week
- Middle East Studies Association Fights a Rising Tide of Critics
- Juan Cole says the postwar Middle East governments were modeled on the Soviet Union, though not communist (interview)
- Ted Widmer picks the 5 best presidential books worth reading
- AHA backs California's LGBT History law
- Cultural historian traces history of baby food