Gil Troy: Lessons from Osama bin Laden's Biography
The writer is Professor of History at McGill University and a Shalom Hartman Research Fellow. The author of Why I Am A Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today, his latest book is The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction. firstname.lastname@example.org
As President Barack Obama sought the right tone in announcing Osama bin Laden’s death – not too triumphal, not too cerebral – Americans took to the streets, celebrating the news. They were frustrated, having waited nearly a decade to eliminate Al-Qaida’s terrorist mastermind. Still, Osama must have suffered, fleeing from cave to cave. In many ways, that punishment paralleled the punishment he tried to impose on the civilized world. The terrorist wants millions to feel perpetually harassed, everywhere targeted, constantly endangered. The man constantly on the lam is perpetually harassed, everywhere targeted, constantly endangered.
Osama bin Laden fancied himself the preacher-terrorist, a jihadist firing off religious fatwas one minute and RPGs the next. He emerged unwittingly as a teacher-terrorist. His blood-splattered biography taught the world important lessons, including:
We can’t escape history. Too many Americans awoke the morning of September 11, thinking we were enjoying a holiday from history. The Soviet Union had fallen. The Dow Jones was rising. Electronic gadgets were proliferating. Serious thinkers and superficial commentators were feeding this notion that Americans had transcended history – using “history” as a euphemism for troubles....
comments powered by Disqus
- Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group
- Say goodbye to the weirdest border dispute in the world
- Harvard acquires Thoreau's notes on the death of Margaret Fuller
- It’s a national historic site, but hardly anybody visits the Idaho internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in WW II
- Big-time Hollywood director makes a movie about Stonewall
- Richard Rothstein says government policy created ghettos
- The Islamic historian who can explain why some states fail and others succeed
- High school senior credited with debunking book by Professor Richard Jensen
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems