Monday, May 2, 2011

Victory conditions

So Osama bin Laden has finally run out of luck. Good riddance, and congratulations to whoever got him.

Not wishing to carp... but the US has spent, so far, more than $450 billion on the Afghan war. That's over $130 million per person allegedly killed by Osama, not even counting the lives wasted.

I say "allegedly", because since he's dead, he'll never have a trial. I bet some in the CIA are toasting that fortunate circumstance, as much as the achievement itself. Now no-one will ever question all the crimes they want to pin on him, and no-one will have to explain (publicly, at least) why it took 18 years*, plus the biggest budget blowout in human history, to catch up with him.

* (Counting from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, when the FBI first put a price on his head.)

And if we factor in the Iraq war, the economic costs to the US and its allies, the number of lives lost by the US and its allies, and the horrific damage to US foreign relations and strategic goals (think North Korea), and of course the gargantuan budget deficit - then strategically speaking, Osama has inflicted far and away the most humiliating defeat in US history.

I don't like it. I hate everything Osama stood for. But we should face facts: he won.

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