Osama outsmarted George
George Walker Bush today enjoys his Texas ranch, discovering his talent for painting. Osama bin Laden was assassinated ten years ago and thrown into the waters of the Indian Ocean, but both will be remembered forever for the same reason: the Saudi after the spectacular terrorist attack, and the American after the response that determined the devastating fate of the "eternal war".
Direct airstrikes on New York's Twin Towers sparked a global geopolitical and economic crisis that ended with the United States spending billions of dollars trying to immunize itself from Islamist extremism with massive government surveillance, privacy, and restraint programs.
Bush Jr. had a personal plan based on revenge. He interpreted September 11 as an act of declaring war, similar to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. But al-Qaeda's attack had no elements of an interstate conflict.
Instead of immediately concentrating on the pursuit of bin Laden and his associates, relying on counter-terrorism methods - which have proven to be equally effective for a decade - Bush has launched an invasion.
He started the "war on terror", an abstract concept that the world did not understand.
Who are Americans fighting against? Apart from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, it was difficult to find a government that would support the invasion of Afghanistan. Even the Taliban were not in favor of bin Laden's plan for international jihad, but Washington rejected offers of negotiations.
Aside from the Taliban, which is back in power in Kabul, Bush's neoconservative project to democratize Afghanistan is in ruins, and Washington has been forced to significantly reconsider its global ambitions. America was eventually defeated, although it did not lose a single conventional battle. Many today claim that Bush was the worst president in American history.
Bin Laden ended up as a morally defeated figure, but the former mujahedeen, recruited by the CIA to fight the Soviets, managed to defeat the world's best-equipped and most expensive army by commanding an army of several thousand tribal militias armed with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. .
The al-Qaeda leader dragged the United States into an asymmetric war, although the Pentagon also whispered that the war could not be won. He wanted Bush to occupy a Muslim country so that jihad could spoil its military power and, like the Soviets before them, be defeated and leave the gorges under the Hindu Kush.
As other jihadists sought to fight the "near enemy," pro-US regimes across the region, bin Laden pursued a "snake-head" strategy, provoking the United States into a violent and irrational response that poisoned US relations with the Islamic world, and presented all of America's Muslim allies as collaborators of the enemy. The al-Qaeda leader forced the Americans to fight according to his rules and to accept more and more of their own and NATO victims at a huge dollar price.
Bin Laden understood America better and more clearly than Bush. He urged the US president to do exactly what he wanted: to plunge the Muslim world into a period of chaos in which it still finds itself, and to create conditions for the ideology of al-Qaeda and other militant groups not to be defeated.
The neoconservatives who created the Bush response after 11/XNUMX and al-Qaeda are looking at each other. They preferred violence to diplomacy. There was no middle ground for them. The world is divided into two opposing blocs - Islam and the West - and only one can win. Both of them saw themselves as extremely good at fighting the ultimate evil. They did not tolerate moderate Muslims, nor did Western liberals.
Al Qaeda and Bush "neocons" shared a common but false interpretation of Islam as a religion of violence, as well as the same inverted view of the inevitability of a clash of civilizations. They introduced the world into a spiral of death.
Muslims pay a much higher price in human lives. According to a study by Brown University in the United States, the war on terror has claimed over one million lives across Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. America's reputation as a leader of the free world has also been damaged, and only now is it facing serious consequences from the military and geostrategic defeat of Afghanistan, which is a replica of Iraq.
The terrorist who changed history
The war on terror has created more terrorists than it has succeeded in eradicating. Terror has become the standard and accepted weapon of every participant in that war, including US drone operators, who have killed thousands of Afghan civilians. No one responsible for the war has been held accountable or offered an apology for the decisions made.
At a distance of two decades, it could be concluded that Osama outsmarted George. While spreading the idea that violent jihadism would be a machine for Islamic reconstruction, and that it was necessary to cleanse the region of foreign influences, especially American ones, bin Laden proved to be an experienced judoka who used the weight of his opponent to defeat him.
If George Walker Bush had reacted rationally, the al-Qaeda and Taliban virus would not have mutated so successfully, Osama bin Laden would have been despised as just another terrorist and nothing more. Thanks to Bush, he became the terrorist who changed history.