Osama bin Laden

Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Bin Laden's Death and America's Reputation Overseas


In her latest column at The Daily, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia notes that with Osama bin Laden dead, U.S. policy makers should face up to the fact that international terrorism is not the bane of our existence. The 9/11 attacks were an anomalous event that Osama pulled off because he got lucky. But incidents of international terrorism were declining before that awful September day and have continued to decline since. In fact, 2001 was in the bottom five least-active years for terrorists since 1976.

The shock and awe of 9/11 led American foreign policy astray for a decade, antagonizing the world. And in the long run, Dalmia writes, Operation Geronimo won't undo this damage to America's image abroad but will instead compound it:

America has further crossed a line by invading the sovereignty of a friendly nation with which it has full diplomatic ties without any advance notice…This can't help but make the world nervous.

It is time to call off the war, she says.

Read the whole thing here or download it on your iPad for the full multi-media experience.

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  1. America has further crossed a line by invading the sovereignty of a friendly nation with which it has full diplomatic ties without any advance notice…This can’t help but make the world nervous.

    I’m not quite sure how this is bad for America. If anything, it sends the message to second-rate countries that we can go anywhere, and kill anyone, and there ain’t jack-shit you can do about it, so don’t fuck with us.

      1. That’s pretty damn funny.

        1. I started using chrome yesterday and can see the picture above in the thread. How is that possible?

          1. It’s part of reasonable.

      2. “..on Christmas”

        So you better watchout Christmas-celebrating nations of the world. China, Iran, and Best Korea reported to be “unimpressed.”

      1. It’s big stick time!

  2. I think its high time for the US to stop playing World Police and start dealing with its own problems.


    1. Well, America’s biggest problem is that it keeps playing World Police so stopping that will go a long way. 🙂

    2. Careful what you wish for. America just might switch focus to its growing Skynet problem.

      1. skynet is DOA babieee!!

  3. I care little for the views of an international community composed mostly of kleptocrats, mass murderers, authoritarians, and their tranzi NGO courtiers and enablers. I have no use for their respect, but their fear should be useful. Douple-tapping OBL in the middle of a nominally sovereign country whose rulers fit pretty neatly into the general pattern of thuggery and incompetence sends a message, yes indeed it does, that I approve of.

    1. Sounds good – right up to when they start doing it to us.

      1. If they could do it to us, they would, regardless of whether we capped OBL or not.

        This sounds an awful lot like the argument that we shouldn’t torture captives, lest our enemies torture our soldiers. Kind of overlooking the fact that amoral thugs always do whatever they can get away with, and do not check first to see if we have done it first.

        1. If someone else tortures they’re amoral thugs, but if we do we’re noble Americans.

          If someone else sends a team of armed men into a sovereign nation to execute someone they’re amoral thugs, but if we do it we’re noble Americans.

          Just like the local police are exempt from the laws they enforce, seems the world policeman need not be bothered with the rules it expects others to follow.

          1. We are not the world’s police. The world has no police. And if you can’t defend and take care of yourself, your nation will not be long for this world.

            1. Honestly? Come on.

              Team America!
              World Police!

              Defend and take care of ourselves?
              I hear Mexico and Canada are planning an invasion!


          2. Missing the point, sarcasmic.

            I’m not looking at any arguments for kill missions other than the “if we do it, so will our enemies, and if we don’t, neither will they.”

            I think its a fatuous argument, because our enemies would run kill missions regardless of whether we do, just like they torture regardless of whether we do.

            1. Principles shminciples.

        2. The Germans in WW II decided not to use chemical weapons on the battlefield because of that very calculus. The Russians and their allies also declined to use them for the very same reason.

          1. I thought that’s because Hitler had suffered from chem weapon fallout in WWI. The history channel lied to me?!

      2. If we start harboring international terrorists, they should do it to us. It is not like we went into Pakistan to get some random guy.

        1. But Chenybushitler is an international terrorist! OMG! we deserve to be attacked!!!

        2. Plenty of IRA murderers were harbored.

          1. Plenty of IRA murderers were harbored.


          2. And if the British SF had shown up and whacked Gary Adams on a fund raising tour of the US, I would have said Bravo!!

            1. Maybe the Brits will have the courage to whack Peter King now?

    2. RC Dean is an extremist for liberty and enemy of coercion who just happens to want the rest of the world to fear US violent might.

      God I love paleos!

      1. So Obama is a Paleo? Do you not approve of his actions? You seemed to approve of them all this week. And if you do approve of Obama’s actions, how can you disaprove of RC’s logic?

        1. “I have no use for their respect, but their fear should be useful.”

          I think RC, not Obama said that. You might want to check a reputable, credible source like pajamas media and get back to me…

          1. You don’t think that Obama had Bin Ladin killed to show the world that he is a strong leader? You think reputation and fear didn’t play into it?

            1. Do you think Obama wants the world to fear our violent might? I thought the meme on the right was he was a UN bound wimp. You guys should get your memos straight!

              1. You guys should get your memos straight!

                Yeah, if only the rest of us had your skill with talking points.

                1. Yes wylie, everyone who disagrees with you is part of a LeftWingSocialist Cabal. The fact that your views and opinions at any given time are remarkably similar to the themes of various right-wing media shows and sites during the same period is just evidence of the purity of you and their thoughts, not that you are being led by the nose.

              2. “Do you think Obama wants the world to fear our violent might?”

                One, why did he have him killed and not captured if that were not the case? And two, when have I ever said anything to the contrary? Obama is the President of the United States. He will do what is necessary to protect this country. He may be a leftist but he does understand that. And yes, he wants the world and the American public to know about it. Have you missed all of his toadies in the media saying how strong this makes him look?

                1. I think he killed him for the reasons he said: justice. I don’t think Obama wants the world to fear military violence from us, no.

                  1. “I don’t think Obama wants the world to fear military violence from us, no.”

                    to each his own dellusions.

                    1. Nothing he has said supports your view, much he has said undercuts it. Ditto his actions. The Nobel committee said they were giving him the Peace Prize because they felt he was setting up things and changing the rhetoric in a way that would make the world easier with the US than it was under Bush.

                    2. Everything he has done supports my view. He has whacked hundreds of people in Pakistan. He had Bin Ladin killed. He is trying to kill Gadafi. He surged tens of thousands of troops into Afghanistan.

                      Yeah he pays lipservice so people like you have talking points. But his actions reveal something entirely different. And I don’t fault him for that. But stop blowing smoke up people’s ass pretending he is any different than Bush.

                    3. It’s one thing to want to disrupt terrorist enemies and even wanting them to fear our military might and another to want “the world” (including our allies and such) to do so, that is what RC wanted and nothing Obama has said or done makes me think that is what he wants. If anything he has acted to make the world easier regarding fearing our military might.

                    4. “Ditto his actions”

                      Obama went further than McCain wanted to regarding the targeting of Pakistani land. This is one of the few instances where he did exactly what he said in the debates. He didn’t “change the rhetoric”, Obama got more aggressive in the WOT in action and in words. His Peace Prize is just a monument to his ability to soothe liberals.

                    5. So a McCain administration would not have gone after OBL in Pakistan?


                    6. Read the presidential debate transcripts.

                      Obama talked an aggressive game (I thought he was just trying to treat the “wimp factor”), and he did what he said- act unilaterally without Pakistani support to kill terrorists in Pakistan.
                      Can you please point to where Obama “changed the rhetoric” in the WOT?

                      Conversely, I figured McCain was trying to escape his persona of the nutcase who would use U.S. force willy nilly without the ally Pakistan’s approval.

                    7. You are so dumb minge. Try to discuss the issue without devolving into gotcha remarks and talking points.

                      Obama has stepped up the WOT, is blatantly ignoring international borders in order to strike terrorists wherever they are. It’s very much a Nixon bombing Cambodia thing, because you cannot allow your enemy a sanctuary to operate from. It’s something I’m ok with, because unlike a whole lot of libertarians, my foreign policy is Jacksonian not Jeffersonian. I’d prefer to ignore the rest of the world, but when the US is attacked an example must be made. I do not care what the barbarians do in their piece of shit hellhole, but when they mess with the bull, you give them the goddamn horns. You do it fast, and you do it with nothing held back, you make a desert, call it peace, and leave.

                      The war, actually, along with the space policy, been the one thing Obama’s been ok on. Of course the fact is that he’s breaking every campaign promise he made and utterly spitting in the face of the hippies is something I love to talk about.

                      Try to reach beyond blind partisanship and consider the facts at hand MNG. It’s pretty awesome, all things considered.

      2. I have no idea what MNG wrote and my world is all the better for it.

        1. Oh my God, Lady Googoo has pussed out with the incif, imagine the edifying debate I’m going to miss out on now!


            (this is so much fun!)

    3. “composed mostly of kleptocrats, mass murderers, authoritarians,”

      Exactly how is America different from these other countries?

      1. Who says we are? And whether we are or not makes no difference to the low opinion I have of the international community.

  4. Hypocrisy rules the (comments) day.

    Also, I think I’m in love with Shikha Dalmia.

  5. The American Empire answers to no one.

  6. America has further crossed a line by invading the sovereignty of a friendly nation…

    OK, look, I’m with you in general sentiment, but this is 100% grade-A bullshit.

    Pakistan is by no means a friendly ally, and we by no means “invaded”. That may sound contradictory but the truth is that no one can state with any certainty at this point the degree of Pakistani cooperation (or lack thereof) that was actually involved. We’ve been shooting missles into the FATA for years now; *that* doesn’t amount to an egregious act of war? They decried every missle after they handed us the fucking coordinates. Pakistan’s ‘sovereignty’ is a chastity belt on a whore. It is nothing but a nominal claim to some sort of dignity when they have done nothing but wage uncontrolled wars across their borders since the inception of their nation. Tell it to the judge bitch. One might have a dozen arguments why the War on Terror is a giant waste of time and money and its about time to wind it down; the fact that we bitch-slapped the pakistanis ‘sovereignty’ is not one of them. In fact we could do it two or three more times and it wouldn’t be nearly enough to be worth condemning. You see ANYONE out there in the international community saying, “naughty american! respect pakistan!”?? Forget about it. ‘Antagonizing the world’? Big whoop.

    1. “chastity belt on a whore”


    2. Fucking eh man.

  7. I watched friends and family quietly cheer every time the BBC reported American casualties or setbacks.

    Your friends and family are demented assholes. Shocker.

    1. Yeah, what? Shikha, your “family” is really twisted.

    2. Only a demented asshole would be against US foreign policy… especially as it relates to the invasion of another country.

      1. Being against American foreign policy is fine. Rooting for American casualties is a slightly different matter.

        1. As an American that makes total sense. OTOH, I don’t think it should come as a total shocker that people enjoy seeing (what they perceive to be) a world bully get a black eye… especially as a result of invading a foreign country.

          1. For a group of people where a non-negligible portion would quietly cheer that a cop got gunned down in a bad SWAT raid, it shouldn’t be a shocker that the world’s pig doesn’t get much more love.

  8. Rock on, Shikha! Keep on keepin’ it real! I even forgive, sort of, all your whining about Obama “ramming” through health care reform!

    1. Stop misspelling my name!

      1. You forgot the word “rough”

  9. “I watched friends and family quietly cheer every time the BBC reported American casualties or setbacks.”

    Are you claiming you simply watched?

  10. Pakistan was harboring one of the biggest terrorists in history. And a terrorist who was responsible for the worst terrorist attack on US soil in history. No princple of international law allows a country to harbor those who attack other sovereign nations. The US had every right to do what they did. If Pakistan wants their soveriegnty respected, they shouldn’t harbor international terrorists.

    1. “And a terrorist who was responsible for the worst terrorist attack on US soil in history. ”

      Allegedly. In the last ten years America has killed 100 times the number of innocents who died on 9/11. Who are the real terrorists?

      1. 9/11 truthing and a moral-equivalence mongering in just few words.

        So who’s the real culprit?

        1. I have no idea. Bin Laden denied having anything to do with it and I’ve never seen any hard evidence linking him to it either. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. S basically Obama ordered the killing of an innocent man. No to mention the two couriers, his two sons and the wife of one of the couriers. Now we know only one of them was armed and resisting.

          1. Bin Laden claimed credit for them. The fact that you aren’t aware of the rest of the case against him is your problem. Stop being a moron.

            “In this country…”
            What, Pakistan?

            1. You need to wake the fuck up. Initially he denied responsibility and condemned the attack. The later messages in which Bin Laden took credit were obvious fakes. The fact that you think any kind of case has been made against him proves your the moron who believes whatever crap the gubmint feeds you on the boob tube. Maybe he did it, maybe not, now we’ll never know.

  11. “I watched friends and family quietly cheer every time the BBC reported American casualties or setbacks”

    I am sure if we would just be nicer to the people who want to kill us, your douschebag communist third world friends would like us so much.

    If we are that bad Shikha, why the fuck are always on here whinning for a Green Card?

    1. “If we are that bad Shikha, why the fuck are always on here whinning for a Green Card?”

      Oh boy, the reverse “love it or leave it” card, with requisite typo!

      I don’t think people come here for our muscular foriegn policy John.

      1. If you object to the foreign policy so much, why do you come here? I won’t be moving to China or Russia anytime soon and wouldn’t want to because find their goverment’s loathsome. If the US government is just as loathsome, why come here?

        1. Er, for economic and social opportunities?

          I doubt you find China so loathesome for their foriegn policy John.

          1. Yes I do dipshit. I think threatening Taiwan and allying themselves with every crackpot dictator in the world and propping up the worst of them all Kim Il Sung to be loathsome. You may think that is wonderful. But I don’t. And have never so much as visited China, despite a couple of opportunities, for that reason.

            1. I think the vast majority of immigrants come to the US for our economic and social opportunities and don’t care one whit about our foriegn policy.

              1. It’s so blissful!

                1. I’m not sure what is more funny, a grown man who is such an intellectual pussy he can’t bear to look at the words of those who disagree with him, or the same man who feels he must repeatedly reply to the blanked screen he set up to avoid those words.

              2. Then what the fuck do they care what our foreign policy is?

                1. You can have an opinion about a nation’s foriegn policy, even a negative one, and still think that living in that land would be better than where you are.

                  For example, if you lived in Sudan or Haiti I bet you would not turn down a job in Hong Kong to protest China’s foriegn policy.

                  1. STILL CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!

                    (i don’t even peek at this assclown’s comments)

      2. I don’t think people come here for our muscular foriegn policy John.

        No, they come here for our tractor pulls. And Walmart.

        1. Well, they already made most of the stuff Wal-Mart sells, might as well come over and take a look at it in the store.

          1. They have Walmarts in China. Not sure about tractor pulls.

    2. John, I was with you until you misspelled “whining”. Also, you can’t use the term ‘third world’ and call them ‘communist’ at the same time = the term third world specifically means un-allied to either capitalist or communist systems… therefore, ‘third’. but this is acedemic.

      but fuck it, I’m pretty much still with you. I think we’ve got a lot more hurt to deliver before we start apologizing to fucktards like the pakistanis.

      1. Communist is an ideology. You can be third world and communist.

        1. bzzzzzzzz

          Sorry, try again.


          The term “Third World” arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World), or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions.

          1. Zimbabwe’s not third world?

            1. No, that’s called “developing nation” or “un/underdeveloped nation” in modern international-relations-speak.

              The whole “third world” thingy is leftover vestigial terminology from the cold war. People commonly use it to mean, “developing country” or “shithole”, when in fact that was never what it actually meant. Many people (usually the same ones who think any kind of liberal arts education is a waste of time) argue that as long as the term is understood in context it doesn’t make a fucking difference; I personally think words are useful for their specificity and its better to save them from devolving into meaninglessness if possible.

          2. It doesn’t mean that any more.

            Now it just means “shitty”.

      2. Explain North Korea and Cuba. Show your work.

  12. Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk By Sean D. Naylor – Staff writer
    Posted : Wednesday May 4, 2011 18:07:39 EDT
    >The helicopters that flew the Navy SEALs on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden were a radar-evading variant of the special operations MH-60 Black Hawk, according to a retired special operations aviator.
    >The helicopter’s low-observable technology is similar to that of the F-117 Stealth Fighter the retired special operations aviator said. “It really didn’t look like a traditional Black Hawk,” he said. It had “hard edges, sort of like an ? F-117, you know how they have those distinctive edges and angles ? that’s what they had on this one.”

  13. But, we WON the war on terror! And this shows that torture is ok! And also proves we don’t need our civil rights. And that ‘murrica kicks ass.

  14. I watched friends and family quietly cheer every time the BBC reported American casualties or setbacks.

    And you freely admit this? Jesus Christ.

    1. Please lighten up, WTF. This is a free country.

      1. True – so I figure I am free to be appalled.

    2. You mean people who are not of this country watched as we invaded another country killing thousands and (gasp!) quietly cheered casualties or setbacks!? Shocking!

  15. I do remember on a Libya thread a while back a lot of paleo-GOPer leaning posters saying the real evil of the Libya attacks was that we were violating their sovereignty. I hope none of them were cheering the OBL raid!

    1. Pakistan was harboring someone who attacked the United States. That gives us a right to violate their sovereignty to kill or capture that person. Last I looked Libya involved a civil war.

      1. C’mon, John, don’t get all nuancey on Minge.

        1. Oh Lord, the Right finds nuance! Jesus is next…

          1. Minge knows damn well that killing a bin laden while he was being harbored by Pakistan is no where near the same as intefereing in Libya’s civil war, he’s just being a dishonest douche.

            1. Oh, no, I’m not equating the two (though both are fine), I’m pointing out the goofiness of those who railed against the Libyan action because “it’s a violation of a nation’s sovereignty!”

              1. Okay – Pakistan transgressed against us regarding respect for their sovereignty by harboring bin Laden. We violated their sovereignty only to the extent needed to get bin Laden. Libya did not, yet we committed acts of war against them such as bombing them. See the difference?

                1. Yes, I see the difference, I’m making fun of those who boiled Libya down to “violation of teh sovereignty”

      2. Oh I see, violations of sovereignty are not OK except when they are.

        1. When they are done in self defense and as the result of another nation harboring international terrorists who are waging war against you, violations of sovereighnty are perfectly legal.

          Jesus Christ MNG, even the UN charter recognizes war made in self defense. And it even recognizes war made with the persmission of the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council passed a resolution right after a big event in 2001. You might have heard about it. It authorized to make war against Al Qaeda wherever they found it.

          1. “even the UN charter recognizes war made in self defense.”

            dude, you fell right into my trap. The UN authorized Libya too. And the UN charter allows for interventions to combat humanitarian disasters.

            1. Minge is right on this one – what the UN decides to authorize or not authorize doesn’t mean fuck-all. Seeking UN approval only serves to legitimize the dictators and kleptocrats who make up the majority of the UN.

              1. Good point. The US should adopt a “fuck all” type foreign policy. As in fuck all your sovereignty we are going to fuck who we want, when we want. Thanks to the efforts of our recent presidents we are more than halfway there.


  16. This article fits the usual trend of anarchists placing the “rights” of terrorists and illegitimate terrorist nations above the rights of Americans. Ignorance is strength and self-defense is “imperialism.”

    “America has further crossed a line by invading the sovereignty of a friendly nation with which it has full diplomatic ties without any advance notice…This can’t help but make the world nervous.”

    Nations that sponsor and provide safe harbor to terrorists (and other dangerous criminals) forfeit certain rights. There is no “right” to protect those who have violated the rights of other nations and their citizens. Without such so-called “violations of sovereignty,” some of the most infamous and despicable Nazi war criminals would never have been brought to justice. If I pay thugs to commit murder and provide them shelter in my home, the government may raid my house and arrest me. There is no reason the principle of armed self-defense should not apply on a meta-level. The Pakistani government supports (both philosophically and financially) terrorist groups responsible for the murder of thousands of Americans – this action, by definition, is a violation of America’s rights.

    Furthermore, whether or not the authoritarian, theocratic Pakistani government even has a right to sovereignty is a matter of debate.

    And I’m not even gonna touch the hilarious claim that Pakistan is a “friendly nation.” That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve heard all week.

  17. On the overall article I actually agree with Gilmore and John that 1. Pakistan has meddled in other nation’s affairs so much it can’t credibly complain about this and 2. harboring a terrorist means they can’t complain.

    Were they harboring him? I don’t know. It’s possible they might not have been. I also think it is possible that they actually knew and gave permission for the raid but don’t want anyone to know that.

    1. The Truth is probably in the middle. But the fact is that he was there and had been there for years. It is a bit rich for them to complain about their sovereighnty.

  18. RC Dean is an extremist for liberty and enemy of coercion who just happens to want the rest of the world to fear US violent might.

    Pretty much. The rest of the world, ruled as it is by kleptocrats, thugs, etc., will only be restrained from doing Bad Things to us by fear. Ergo, instilling that fear is an excellent way to reduce the Bad Things they do.

    As a happy side effect, the fewer Bad Things are done to us, the less leverage our own crooks and thugs have to restrict our liberty. More terrorism = more Patriot Acts, you know.

    I see no inherent contradiction in favoring both liberty and a reputation for taking a Dim View of people who make a career of killing Americans.

    1. MNG is just displaying his 4th favorite delusion: libertarians are pacifists due to the non-aggression principle. All based on his refusal to recognize a moral difference between aggression and retaliation.

      1. Oh Lord I’m under no delusions you guys are gentle pacifists! Few people I know engage in as many thirsty fantasies of use of force on people as many libertarians here. Of course it all is OK because the force is aimed at TEH SLAVERS and such.

        And for the tenth time not only do I recognize the difference between aggression and retaliation I count on it in making fun of folks like you as it illustrates that, like everyone, you don’t mind force used on people in situations where you think the person is doing something very wrong. Libertarians and conservatives/liberals just disagree on what “things a person is doing that is very wrong” can justify use of force.

        1. like everyone, you don’t mind force used on people in situations where you think the person is doing something very wrong.

          See how the delusion is still there? It’s the “non-aggression principle”, not the “don’t use force on someone violating your rights principle.”

          But then you don’t believe that people have any inherent rights, just the crumbs they get from the government’s table. That is your number one delusion, by the way.

        2. Fuggoff slaver.

  19. I’m a little tired of this “America’s reputation overseas is getting hurt” bullshit.

    None of the groups who are warning about our reputation being supposedly maligned were doing a damn thing to defend us in the first place. It reminds me of the war in Iraq and how many of the countries that were helping is with boots on the ground were countries that the US has liberated from various oppressors in the past. This wasn’t a coincidence. (see more here- http://pwhce.org/willing.html)

    I don’t want the leaders of our nation to put our reputation in countries that already hate us above our own security. Pakistan was harboring Osama, of this there is little dispute. Losing reputation points with them should be the last thing we need to worry about when it comes to defending the country.

    1. If the American reputation was hurt overseas as often as these articles are run, we’d be well into the negatives by now.

      1. Not only that, but if terrorism really is a response to what America does overseas, shouldn’t there be a hell of a lot more terrorism?

        Also, the claim that terrorism is not so bad doesn’t cut it. Yes, the problem has been hystericized. But when people are killed for cartoons and intimidated into silence, it’s a serious problem that merits government action. Whether the action taken has been appropriate is another question.

  20. Libertarians and conservatives/liberals just disagree on what “things a person is doing that is very wrong” can justify use of force.

    You say that like what a person is doing couldn’t possibly make any difference in whether the use of force is appropriate.

    When in fact, what actions justify the use of force is entirely the point.

    If I am engaged in peaceful commerce in a good or service you happen to disagree with, then a libertarian would not say that force is justified. Liberals and Conservatives probably would.

    Its hard to come up with a parallel example, where libertarians would call for force but standard-issue liberals and conservatives were not, because they tend toward authoritarianism and the use of force pretty indiscriminately compared to libertarians.

    Speaking of mysterious distinctions, MNG, I am puzzled by how anyone could say that taking out bin Laden was unjustified/illegal, but going to war in Libya is the right thing to do.

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