By now you’ve no doubt heard that Osama bin Laden is dead. Killed in a late-night Navy SEAL raid on a Pakistani compound, the most wanted terrorist in the whole world is gone, and people around the globe are celebrating. In general, not having bin Laden around to harass citizens of the world—remember, bin Laden attacked people in Africa and elsewhere, too—is a good thing. But what else does this mean for Americans? To be honest, not a lot.
While defeating the head of Al Qaeda does indeed create a power vacuum in one of the most dangerous terrorist cells in the world today, it’s worth noting that the second and third in command of Al Qaeda are still at large. Simply put, someone’s going to fill bin Laden’s shoes, and they’re going to continue planning terrorist attacks the world over. Osama bin Laden was scary, but he was also replaceable, and now there’s any number of monsters vying to take his place.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it would serve Americans best to remember that we’re still in the midst of three wars. Bin Laden is gone, yes, but American soldiers are still up against tremendous forces in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and not a single one of those conflicts has a scheduled exit date. And this is a big deal for Blacks: African-Americans are in the military in disproportionate rates, often due to the fact that they’re not afforded better educational and career opportunities. To that end, war disproportionately impacts Blacks.
While many Americans cheer today, as if we’ve just registered some huge victory on the scoreboard, it’s important to recognize that, if you have some forethought, this isn’t really that major of a victory. Osama’s dead, and that’s great, but as long as there are three wars going on, Black Americans don’t have a lot to cheer about. And as long as there are more terrorists—and there are—Americans in general don’t have a lot to cheer about either.
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