foreign affairs | May 01, 2011

James Fallows: With bin Laden Dead, Will an Unending War Finally End?

The great significance of Osama bin Laden’s death, according to James Fallows, is that “it holds the potential of marking an end to the otherwise un-endable ‘Global War on Terror.’” Blogging at the just after President Obama announced bin Laden’s death, Fallows, the author of Blind Into Baghdad, muses that the news will be extra heartening if it signals “the beginning of the end of a period in which America felt that it had to change its essential nature and values in order to be safe.”

More from James Fallows:
As long as the "Global War on Terror" was defined as eliminating all threat of terrorist activity, it could never be ended. That threat -- like other threats -- will never completely go away. But if this admittedly symbolic victory in the "war" can be taken as closing a loop opened ten years ago (and earlier, with previous OBL-inspired attacks), perhaps it could free us to continue the vigilance while beginning to correct the decade-long warping of our values. That is another gift the commandos who carried out this mission may have given America. We will see whether Obama is willing to lead that way, and others are willing to follow.

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