Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, will that make the U.S. more safe from terrorist attacks?

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Answered by: Eric, An Expert in the Top Matters Category
The recent news of Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of the U.S. military has undoubtedly raised the question in the minds of many as to whether

his demise makes terrorist attacks on America any more or less likely. This question, like the larger issue of global terrorism and religious fundamentalism, is too complex for a simple yes or no. The answer is that in some ways his death benefits our national security, and in other ways it may work against us.



First, we must remember that although Osama had once been a widely popular and inspirational leader, his status had gradually fallen off among the general population of the Middle East to the point where his recent approval ratings in several countries had dwindled to a fraction of what they once were. Had Osama been left alive to reinvent himself or somehow rehabilitate his image, he may have again posed a threat level approaching what it was at the peak of his popularity. Second, although his actual leadership involvement with al-Qaeda was thought to be minimal or nonexistent, the discovery that he had been living not in a remote cave but in a secure, comfortable compound in a suburb of the Pakistani capital may cast doubt on that assumption. Finally, the manner in which he was killed, by a personal ground operation as opposed to the kind of predator drone missile strike that many middle easterners consider cowardly and offensive, works to the U.S.'s advantage. While Osama bin Laden's death will not raise the status of the United States in the minds and hearts of jihadists, it is important for us to give them as little psychological ammunition against us as possible. Bin Laden's prompt burial at sea, according to Islamic custom, was also in line with this strategy.

On the other hand, bin Laden's death by no means ends the threat of terrorist attacks on the U.S. There are still an alarming number of "sleeper cells" operating on American soil, and some are offshoots of terrorist groups abroad that were never even informally loyal to Osama. Furthermore, the possibility of a retaliatory attack against the U.S., although not as likely as it would have been at the pinnacle of Osama bin Laden's popularity, is still quite significant. To compensate for this possibility, security measures at our airports, government buildings, and other venues where large groups of people congregate will be elevated, so it would be wise to allow extra time when planning to travel or use any of these places.



In short, while the death of the man who orchestrated the most deadly attacks on American soil can not altogether be a bad thing for our national security, it also can not undo the changes those attacks brought to the everyday lives of our citizenry. The people as well as our government must remain vigilant to help combat the ever-present possibility of terrorist activity aimed at damaging our lives and well being, whether from abroad or from within.

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