Monday, May 02, 2011

The New Yorker's excellent Steve Coll and Lawrence Wright on UBL:

Coll: "[T]he million-dollar, heavily secured mansion where bin Laden lived was constructed in 2005. The maps I looked at had sections of land nearby marked off as 'restricted area,' indicating that it was under military control. It stretches credulity to think that a mansion of that scale could have been built and occupied by bin Laden for six years without it coming to the attention of anyone in Pakistan’s Army.

The initial circumstantial evidence suggests the opposite is more likely—that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control."

Wright:  "[W]ith bin Laden gone, we will be able to test the truth of the observation that radical Islamist terror is a manifestation of the repressive governments that dominated the region.

Democracy and civil society are the cure for the chronic misery of Muslim countries that has fed the rise of Islamic extremism. The death of the most notorious terrorist the world has ever seen, whose mission was to create a clash of civilizations, will allow the door to open more widely to the tolerance, modernism, and pragmatism that is so badly needed and so long awaited in a part of the world where despair, corruption, brutality, and fanaticism have laid waste to so many generations."

(Coll's Ghost Wars and Wright's The Looming Tower are models of modern investigative journalism, and important antidotes to the ahistoricized spin of the Bush-Cheney-Fox axis).

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