Friday 23 February 2018

Flawed US policy keeps Osama's message alive

The cover of 'Time' magazine shown on an electronic billboard in Times Square in New York this week
The cover of 'Time' magazine shown on an electronic billboard in Times Square in New York this week

Johann Hari

Scramble the film backwards. Rewind. Go back to the day 10 years ago when the air here in Manhattan was thick with ash and Osama bin Laden was gloating.

There were two options for the US government -- to pick up a scalpel, or to pick up a blowtorch. With the scalpel, you go after the fundamentalist murderers responsible, and steadily drain them of their support. With the blowtorch, you invade a slew of countries and embark on slaughter and torture, and swell the army of enraged jihadis determined to kill.

We know which Osama bin Laden preferred. He wanted to draw the West into endless bloody wars that haemorrhaged billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives. He told his supporters: "We conducted a war of attrition against Russia for 10 years until they went bankrupt. We are continuing in the same policy, to make America bleed profusely to the point of bankruptcy."

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