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Bin Laden’s death was an important victory, but the War on Terror continues
Published May. 03, 2011
The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death spread like wildfire throughout America – and the world – following President Barack Obama’s announcement Sunday evening.
“He was the ‘most wanted man’ in world history,” said Robert Watson, a professor of American Studies in Lynn University’s College of Liberal Education. “Thus, we just concluded the world’s most high profile man hunt.”
Although the death of Bin Laden is a joyous time in American history, it’s important to recognize that though this may be a turning point for the global War on Terror, the war is not over.
“The previous president’s analogies of cutting off the head of the snake were, unfortunately, false,” said Watson. “Bin-Laden has probably not been in control of either the planning or operations because he has been for several years, either holed up or on the run.”
Although Bin Laden was the architect and financier of Al-Qaida, the terrorist group has become a decentralized organization that operates across the world.
“America needs to continue to be patient, vigilant and realistic about the continuing threat of terrorism,” said Watson. “While it was an important victory to kill the man behind so much tragedy, the struggle continues.”
President Obama and the 2012 election
Since the death of Bin Laden, many have speculated that Obama’s approval rating will improve. “The president’s many critics should be silenced by the event,” said Watson. “It seems Obama was making the right calls all along.”
However, based on previous events in American history, Watson is unsure how the 2012 election will pan out. For example, “after the first Persian Gulf conflict, President George H.W. Bush (Bush I) was very high in the polls,” said Watson. “Many democrats felt him to be unbeatable, but not long after, he was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1992 by a scandal-prone governor from a small, southern state.”
“President Obama should get a bounce from this successful event, but we are at a point in American politics where opponents seem incapable of finding common ground or putting aside partisan differences – even in the case of national security,” said Watson. “We must realize that a year is now an eternity in politics.”
More on Watson
Robert Watson is a professor, author, media commentator and community activist who joined the faculty of Lynn in 2007 after spending 15 years teaching at other universities around the country. He has published more than 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, book chapters, encyclopedia essays and newspaper columns. His work in the community also includes founding and directing Think Act Lead, a non-profit think tank established as a free community service and dedicated to civic education and political reform.
He is one of the foremost experts and authors on first ladies, presidents, American politics and voting issues. In this role, Watson is frequently interviewed about campaigns and elections by local and national TV, print and radio media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, USA Today and The New York Times. Watson also serves as the official political analyst for WPTV Channel 5 (NBC), WIOD 610 News Radio and WFTL 850 Talk Radio. He offers a weekly political roundup for WBZT 1230 on Clear Channel and writes a regular column on politics for the Sun Sentinel.