Walter Russell Mead: Bad Man DownRoundup: Historians' Take
Walter Russell Mead is professor of foreign affairs and the humanities at Bard College and editor-at-large of The American Interest.
President Obama has been able to announce the news that Americans have longed to hear for the last ten years: Osama bin Laden is dead, his corpse flung into the sea.
Better, he is dead at America’s hands.
Better yet, he died a beaten man. His bid for the leadership of global Islam had failed, and Osama lived long enough to see other movements and other ideas shoulder his perverted synthesis aside. Osama was yesterday’s man, and he knew it.
Above all, this is good for the United States. Presidents Bush and Obama have not gotten everything right since 9/11, but on this matter they both did pretty well. The United States was relentless and determined in hunting him down, pursuing tens of thousands of leads all over the world. We left no doubt in anyone’s mind that getting Osama Bin Laden was a priority, but we did a pretty reasonable job (except when demagogic politicians were out on the stumps) of keeping our eyes open and our mouths shut....
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