3 May 2011

Bin Laden and terror

I am in Tel Aviv this week, attending a briefing on Israeli water conserving/cleaning technologies.

Yesterday, I turned on the TV to see the news and saw that Bin Laden has been killed. (BBC had the best coverage; CNN switched to twitter reactions; FOX switched to other programming after awhile...)

That's good news to most of us, and especially to people who think that punishment is a deterrent to bad behavior.

Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

The war on terror (what a stupid name) will only end when terrorists have nothing to complain about. That will happen when they stop being suppressed by their governments and have the freedom to succeed or fail -- and can congratulate or blame themselves for it. For the US, it will also end (or get better) when we stop supporting these odious regimes.

The good news is that the (perhaps related) Arab Spring has brought changes to a few countries run by dictators. Tunisia and Egypt are moving ahead (more or less). Dictators in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya are, of course, fighting bloody battles to continue their oppression. This is sad to see, but only a sign of how little their care about "Their People."

The Israelis, btw, made no outward show of celebration on Bin Laden. They were already commemorating the Holocaust (1 May), and they have a lot of other issues (some self-inflicted, wrt the power of their fundamentalists) on their plates.

It was also nice to see Obama doing such a fine job as president. Like many Americans abroad, I am often asked about failures of my government.

Just a few thoughts.