90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
America And Global Terrorism After Bin Laden

What Bin Laden’s death means for the country and global terrorism.

Perched on another's shoulders, Ryan Burtchell, of Brooklyn, waves an American flag over the crowd as they celebrate the news of Osama Bin Laden's death early Monday morning near ground zero in New York. (AP)

Perched on another's shoulders, Ryan Burtchell of Brooklyn, waves an American flag over the crowd near Ground Zero as they celebrate the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. (AP)

He took the world’s most powerful nation, wounded it grievously and disappeared into the mountains. Now, President Obama said last night, Osama bin Laden is dead.

It took a long time. Some thought it would never happen. Now, Americans have celebrated in the streets of Washington and New York — sung the national anthem, chanted against bin Laden. But we know this is not a simple moment.

In their longing for vengeance and justice, Americans have been on a long journey in the last nearly ten years.

This hour On Point: the long American journey to the death of bin Laden.

- Tom Ashbrook


Tom Brokaw, former anchor of NBC Nightly News and author of “The Greatest Generation.”

Retired Colonel Laurence Wilkerson,  former chief of staff to  Colin Powell. He is now a professor at the College of William and Mary.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Zeno

    Terrorism is the goose that keeps on laying golden eggs for the military industrial complex, and its associated contractors, war profiteers, and warmongering political hacks.

    • Dh001g

      I say, good job. Lets go home.

      • Beretco Op

        “Take the simple case of the Sarge, who wouldn’t go back to war,
        Cause the Oligarchs tore down everything he was fighting for.
        Or the lovers on a blanket, in a nations turned to whores,
        Memories of green, kissed by the Sun.”

  • Don Otto

    Burial at sea? So fast? No worldwide exposure? Sure, honor Muslim tradition and bury him quickly, but doesn’t that open up worlds of suspicion this is a charade? I feel a bit robbed.

    • Cory

      Did you want him done like Mussolini and his mistress? I’d hate to see his grave and the shrine it would have become, and I sure didn’t want to hear about a trial for the next five years. We exacted revenge and perhaps created a small deterrent to others.

      • Donna

        While I seem to be able to post replies, my own commment hasn’t been posted after multiple attempts. So, allow my to piggyback on yours.
        Already I’ve seen on Face Book comments like,”Don’t give Obama credit for this. It was the service people that got bin Laden.” That, followed by,”Well, he’s opened a can of worms now, hasn’t he?” Just what DO people want from this president? At least he’s been fighting al Qaida where they are, and not a few thousand miles away where we created anarchy in 2003 by attacking and distruping the wrong (anti-alQaida) country.

  • http://profiles.google.com/standuncan Stan Duncan

    Can anyone explain to me why President Bush gave up so easily and early on the search for Bin Ladin? Acording to all accounts (and not denied by the Bush administration), we had him in our sights in Bora Bora in 2002, but we pulled out and left him alone. Why?
    In March 13, 2002, Mr. Bush said that he didn’t really care where Osama was. He was “truly not that concerned about him’, and that he “has now been marginalized.” In April, 2002, General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that “Our goal has never been to get bin Laden.” Also that same month, US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said bin Laden’s threat had been ‘neutralized,” and that our goal now was “to stop terrorism to the extent that we could.”

    Why did they stop looking for him so early? If nothing else, it seems to me to have been a terrible public relations blunder and probably one that served to help the spread of Osama-like terrorism around the world. A lot of lives could ahve been saved had the Bush administration kept their focus on Osama.

    Stan Duncan

    • Peter (Boston area)

      Lawrence Wilkerson put his finger right on it when he pointed out that there are 1-1/2 to 3 billion barrels of oil in Iraq. He also reminded us that pipeline plans for Afghanistan and the other ‘Stans to carry Caucasus oil have been proposed since the 1990′s. So why did Iraq divert Bush/Cheney? Why did the invasion force secure the Iraqi Oil Ministry immediately upon entering Baghdad? C’mon, this is not rocket science!! If they had nabbed Bin Laden too soon, the overarching ‘Global Terrorism’ rationale for invasion would have been greatly diminished.

    • Donna

      EAsy one. No oil in Afghanistan, nor in Pakistan, which was also our ally. Iraq, on the other hand…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carole-Beazley-Dalphin/1048140418 Carole Beazley Dalphin

    The jubilant reaction of some Americans reminds me of the obscene celebratory behavior of some of our enemies when Americans have been hurt or killed, behavior that shocked and saddened us. The death of a man who led a terrorist organization, a man who planned the horror of September 11, 2001, and the deaths of many, many Muslims around the world, is a relief to us. Let us be proud of our military for being able to do this, but celebrating the violent death of one person is unseemly & unacceptable in a civil society.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      This is a war, and we just won a battle. Celebration of victory is a natural human emotion.

      • Jim in Omaha

        We are not at war. There was no battle. We have not achieved any sort of victory. Other than that, I agree.

      • Donna

        Now I don’t agree with you. Relief, maybe. Chanting and cheering in the streetsd? Absolutely not.

      • Anonymous

        there is no war–its a conquest and a sham and murderous spectacle for savages

  • Aichare

    Hi Tom, I read things like “Some thought it would never happen” “amazing” “extraordinary” etc…
    Could this be the MIRACLE right under our nose that helps Pope John Paul in becoming a Saint? Is anyone checking his speeches to see if this was a goal of his? I would think we all prayed he would be brought to justice.
    Just a thought Tom. Love the show!
    Harold in Buffalo, NY

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      That doesn’t fit with John Paul II’s approach to life. Besides which, miracles that demonstrate sainthood don’t involve killing.

    • webettercare

      nice comment. very respectful, very dignified.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The US Government is giving military aid to Pakistan worth $4 Billion a year to fight terrorism and to find Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani government never did anything to capture the “King Of Terror” Bin Laden. The Philippine military has been fighting muslim extremist in the Philippines since the United States declared war on terror. The hard working Filipino soldiers only gets $17 million a year to fight the war of America in the heartland of the Philippines in Mindanao. The military support is even enough to feed the 500,000 active Filipino soldiers to eradicate terrorism in southeast Asia.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The Muslim people are now fighting for their liberation from oppressions from their brutal dictators from Tunisia to Syria. The Arab nations are using the power of their people to free themselves from their own infidel, their governments. Terror is no longer part of the muslim people for they found a way to eradicate Terror by using People Power revolution.

  • Anonymous

    Tom, Can you comment on how Hamas is condemning the killing of Osama bin Laden?


    • Cory

      Why? Is their condemnation suprising somehow? Is it controversial?

    • Ellen Dibble

      It has been my impression that bin Laden was honored and followed by a great many people, not billions but a lot. If there were not people mourning his death, there would be no point in trying to capture or kill him. He would be irrelevant.
      He was our target because we were his and his followers’ target. There were people “behind” him. Hopefully they will realign themselves in ways that are a lot more tolerant of the modern world. Something like that. I don’t know what he was for, besides ousting the Saudi king, actually. But I don’t read Arabic. Somehow his ideology morphed into jihad against the west on the grounds that the west was against him and his. Perhaps it had to do with Saudi oil. It does reek of money. But maybe the factors will be newly oriented, what with the Arab spring and all that. Anyway, I am less worried about us turning terrorism into an organized force on the scale of a USSR, monolithic and oppositional, with “franchises” all over the world. Hillary Clinton referred to that this morning in her remarks, http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/05/162339.htm, that the Communists had franchises around the world. That’s new to me.

  • Michael

    Nice you got Wilkerson on

  • Rex

    What are we celebrating? I understand the news but people are celebrating like their team won a champiionshiop.

    The clip of George W. Bush speaking on a bullhorn to a crowd chanting “USA” immediately following such a tragic event equates tornado victims vowing vengeance against the weather.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      We can’t fight the weather, and the weather isn’t an enemy. Al Qaeda, on the other hand, is an enemy and can be fought and defeated.

      • Cory

        Like Hammas or the IRA? They don’t (or didn’t) line up in rows wearing a uniform waiting to be defeated in a grand battle. They walk into a store or bus station with explosives strapped to themselves. How do you defeat that, Greg?

        • Anonymous

          with humanity, comapssion, dialogue–not more guns and bombs and bilions of dollars–distraction ! lets get back to domestic problems…this is a spectacle to distract you as was the royal spectacle. its nonsense, its not news, its rubbish. how bout we build bridges, jobs and and relationships rather than bombs

      • Jim in Omaha

        Not with military force.

    • Donna

      I agree with you AND Greg. It’s disgusting to hear people chanting,”USA!” Even “F$&^ bin Laden” in the streets like we just won a world cup or something. On the other hand, this man made himself our professed and determined enemy. He vowed to destroy us. Not feeling at least a bit of relief that he’s gone would be like expressing remorse that Hitler shot himself.

  • Rex

    correction: championship

  • heidideidi, burlington, vt

    Didn’t we just create the world’s most dangerous martyr? Why were the orders to kill and not capture? We might have obtained important information. Also, now we will be seen again as assassins which will fuel the fire of hatred that brought about al Qada in the first place.

    I fear the retaliations will be vicious and numerous.

    • Dona

      You may be right, but it has been this country’s policy since 2001 to “get bin Laden” I also seem to remember the words “dead or alive.” I have to wonder what you or anybody would have this president do. Walk away? That would probably get him impeached. Nuke ‘em? Same thing. If not getting bin Laden were a desirable goal, people should have been speaking up – LOUDLY- back in 2001-2002 when the Bush minions were selling us on war, war, and war.

    • Mill

      Faisal Shahzad, a small fish, was clearly unrepentant and truculent when questioned in the court during his trial. I doubt that someone like OBL would’ve spilled any beans if captured and questioned. The material obtained from his house will have to do.

      I’m also not sure how OBL will be a martyr. He was a symbolic head and now that he’s been killed, it’ll deflate the morale of at least some of the wannabe-terrorists and terrorists alike.

  • Steve T

    Sorry I find this a little smelly with to many questions unanswered.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      “To [sic] many questions unanswered.” Namely?

      • Steve T

        In addition to these sources, a deluge of other heads of state as well as intelligence agency professionals have gone on record over the past nine years to state their belief that Bin Laden was likely dead, after it became clear that the Al-Qaeda leader’s health was in severe decline as a result of kidney disease at the end of 2001. These include;

        - Former CIA officer and hugely respected intelligence & foreign policy expert Robert Baer, who in 2008 when asked about Bin Laden by a radio host responded, “Of course he is dead.”

        - On December 26, 2001, Fox News, citing a Pakistan Observer story, reported that the Afghan Taliban had pronounced Bin Laden dead and buried him in an unmarked grave.

        - On January 18, 2002, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced: “I think now, frankly, he is dead.”

        - On July 17, 2002, the then-head of counterterrorism at the FBI, Dale Watson, told a conference of law enforcement officials that “I personally think he [Bin Laden] is probably not with us anymore.”

        - In October 2002, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told CNN that “I would come to believe that [Bin Laden] probably is dead.

        - In 2003, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Fox News Channel analyst Morton Kondracke she suspected Bush knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and was waiting for the most politically expedient moment to announce his capture.

        - In November 2005, Senator Harry Reid revealed that he was told Osama may have died in the Pakistani earthquake of October that year.

        - In February 2007, Professor Bruce Lawrence, head of Duke University’s Religious Studies program, stated that the purported video and audio tapes that were being released of Bin Laden were fake and that he was probably dead.

        - On November 2, 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told Al-Jazeera’s David Frost that Omar Sheikh had killed Osama Bin Laden.

        - In March 2009, former US foreign intelligence officer and professor of international relations at Boston University Angelo Codevilla stated: “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.”

        - In May 2009, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari confirmed that his “counterparts in the American intelligence agencies” hadn’t heard anything from Bin Laden in seven years and confirmed “I don’t think he’s alive.”

        In a way, the establishment had their hand forced in having to announce the death of someone whose shadowy existence had proven very useful to them in maintaining fear and uncertainty amongst the population of America and the world.

        The fact that the myth behind Al-Qaeda has been completely demolished and that the group, through a myriad of revelations, including Anwar Al-Alawki’s post-9/11 visit to the Pentagon, is now widely known to be a US intelligence front, perhaps now means that Al-Qaeda will be swept under the rug and a new enemy will be invented in order to legitimize the continued US military-complex domination of the globe.

        James Corbett – Osama Bin Laden Pronounced Dead… For the Ninth Time

        Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos

  • Jonasojka

    As far as im concerned we should have embalmed his body and displayed it in glass box for all to see. The idea we owed him a burial that conformed to Islamic tradition is absurd. Did the 3000 lost on 9/11 have a burial that conformed with their various traditions and wishes?

    Also lack of a body will only add fuel to the various conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11.

    I personally feel no closure Tom.

  • Jonasojka

    As far as im concerned we should have embalmed his body and displayed it in glass box for all to see. The idea we owed him a burial that conformed to Islamic tradition is absurd. Did the 3000 lost on 9/11 have a burial that conformed with their various traditions and wishes?

    Also lack of a body will only add fuel to the various conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11.

    I personally feel no closure Tom.

    • Anonymous

      I do not agree. We should be above such barbarism. The other issues what you are suggesting makes his body into a shrine of sorts.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Quoting from the BBC’s thread: “1559: The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, in the Afghan capital Kabul, says that the death of Bin Laden may have an impact on the Taliban in the country. “There are two wars in Afghanistan – the US’ top priority was to destroy al-Qaeda, the other against the Afghan Taliban. It might now make it easier for the Taliban to come to the table and seek some kind of political settlement to the war.””
    (My computer has been crashing so I’ve missed 15 minutes; I hope it’s the terrorists figuring out that like frogs puffing themselves up, trying to bigger and fiercer than the other, the bigger they try to reconfigure, the more imperial the western powers will have to become.)

  • JamesPtrk5

    Reflecting and supporting your caller who expressed misgivings about the jubilant celebration he observed after the announcement: while Bin Laden was a man we could not help fearing and maybe even hating, jubilant celebration at his demise calls back the celebrations we so roundly condemned in the streets of the Middle East on Sept 12. We should know better.

  • Matt

    No one has been speaking about targeted assassination as a means of foreign policy. Was this an attempt to capture Bin Laden, or an attempt to assassinate him? After the refusal to try terrorists in the NY courts I wonder if the U.S. government was even trying to bring Bin Laden to justice in a court of law.

    • Cory

      I don’t think there was any way we were interested in capturing him. I have no evidence of this, only my opinion.

  • Mbrown

    My feeling when I heard the news was relief. Almost as though that was number one on the list of things of to do after 9/11 and it finally got done. I wish it had been sooner. This is not the be all and end all of the fight, but deserves some celebrating. I still think coverage of the wars have been censored disgracefully by this country, with lip service being paid to always “support the troops” but little attention truly being paid to the actual sacrifices being made daily by those who serve. My son served in Afghanistan and the way things are, will probably go again.

  • Susangardos

    My husband made a very interesting observation re: the contrast between the
    media reaction to this event and the almost totally negative reaction to the Israeli
    “assassination” “extra-judicial” killing of Sheik Yassin in 2004 — Hamas’ chief
    terrorist and murderer of approximately 1,000 Israelis via suicide attacks and
    Qassam rockets. Proportionately the loss of lives in Israel compared to the US
    was approx. 50-1. NPR was also guilty in this regard. Might an apology be in

  • Jpbailey

    Notice how most Republicans are struggling to somehow discount the fact that it was Obama–not Bush–who got Osama bin Laden. Palin –typically — doesn’t even mention Obama in her statement. The Republican congressional leadership is somehow trying to suggest that Bush should get credit. They are, once again, showing how party matters more than country and delusion is more to their liking than reality.

    • Mill

      From NYT:

      Former Vice President Dick Cheney declared: “The administration clearly deserves credit for the success of the operation.” Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York said: “I admire the courage of the president.” And Donald J. Trump declared, “I want to personally congratulate President Obama.”

      I believe Bush has also praised Obama and his administration.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    3,000 plus victims of 9/11 compared to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghani died since the war in terror started. I don’t see any celebration from those people.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Similar to the ratio of deaths of America vs. Germany and Japan in the Second World War. Do you oppose that war as well?

      • Cory

        It is problematic to compare declared and congressionally approved wars against nation states to the undeclared “war on terror”.

  • Cory

    This event doesn’t change anything in regards to global terrorism. Destitute populations will fight their perceived oppressors with whatever weapons and tactics they can muster, namely “terrorism”. Why would the death of any one individual change this?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      It shows what we’re willing to do. We have to use force now and then to back up our charity.

      • Cory

        You mean people didn’t already know what we are willing to do? John Brown, the Nuremberg trials, Saddam Hussein and sons, etc.

        Are you suggesting Bin Laden’s death will reduce terrorism because now the terrorists know we are “serious”?

  • JohnInSC

    Major kudos to the Navy Seals who pulled off the raid that got OBL. But major kudos too to the intel types who put together the picture that made the raid possible. Intel is puzzle-building, one piece at a time, and sometimes it takes years to get a picture that makes any sense at all. Not all “spooks” are cloak & dagger; most often it’s the analysts who sit at a desk & sift through endless pieces looking for something meaningful. Eventually somebody yells “Bingo!” and then the spec forces types get involved. This action was the result of group effort, and all involved deserve thanks.

  • JohnInSC

    Major kudos to the Navy Seals who pulled off the raid that got OBL. But major kudos too to the intel types who put together the picture that made the raid possible. Intel is puzzle-building, one piece at a time, and sometimes it takes years to get a picture that makes any sense at all. Not all “spooks” are cloak & dagger; most often it’s the analysts who sit at a desk & sift through endless pieces looking for something meaningful. Eventually somebody yells “Bingo!” and then the spec forces types get involved. This action was the result of group effort, and all involved deserve thanks.

  • Gpjm

    Did Laurence Wilkerson actually say that the oil reserves in Western Iraq were the “reason we went to war there” and no one reacted?

  • Anngund

    Please tell Tom to stop saying “his body was dropped at sea”…it sounds dismissive and Muslims may take umbrage. He should say “his body was buried at sea” which IS what happened according to Muslim custom and is more reverential.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Yes, call it dumping the garbage.

      • Anonymous

        dump the military–dump the garbage, dump teabaggers dump the garbage, dump billionaires, dump the garbage–get educated. and just going to uni doesn’t mean u have an education

        • Anonymous

          What? A rambling somewhat incoherent comment about getting an education? Surly you jest.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I know enough to spell “university” and “you.”

          • Steve T

            Wow, great comeback.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Thank you, thank you–I’ll be here all week. . .

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The caller wants us to consider what bin Laden’s agenda was. Please. Look at his actions. He ordered and paid for the indiscriminate killing of innocents. Look at his friends. He was buddies with the leadership of the Sudan and with the Taliban. You don’t ask a thug what he wants.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I think that bin Laden, while playing the extremely soft-spoken scholar/saintly leader, he had the idea of being a saintly leader, in the mode of the great desert prophets.
      I have read a bit about his history. He is one of dozens of siblings, all the offspring of one of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia. A contractor. A family that in Osama’s view was somehow jilted by the Saudi royal family in the course of the last century. That is my memory of it, and it sort of explains why in opposing that fact he had to leave Saudi Arabia but set up shop in Sudan. I’d have to read more Saudi history. Then there was his time in Afghanistan, with him sort of proving himself and getting a taste of being part of a modern day armed uprising, being part of the mujahadeen whom we supported (until after the USSR fell they became the Taliban, as I recall). It was our guns he learned to use. It was our allies he learned to cooperate with. And then he coopted our allies and took up the narrative that opposed not the Soviet Union but the empire that opposed Arabs, specifically piggybacking on the Islamic revulsion against Israeli actions with regard to Palestinians. That was an explosive bit of narrative for him to put out there. If you wonder how upset certain Arabs are about that (Israel, especially as seen to be a client state of the USA), consider what Lara Logan was saying on 60 Minutes last night, that her attack in Cairo right after Mubarak stepped down, during the celebrations, was triggered when someone shouted that she, Lara, was Jewish. She points out this is false. She is not. I think she said they called her Israeli too, but maybe not. But just the idea, without any verification, “went viral,” and the emotional eruption vented against her knew no bounds. That kind of emotion was part of bin Laden’s script, as I understand, but I think his own personality was undergirded more by the sense that the Saudi royal family was in some ways a client state of the USA, rather than the bin Laden family.
      Someone please correct me if you can.

      • Mill

        Yeah, OBL had a bad childhood and since he had 50 siblings, he didn’t get the attention and love from his daddy. So, to get some attention, he trained terrorists and sent them to murder people – Muslims, non-Muslims, Americans, non-Americans – all over the world. But that’s not his fault – it’s the fault of his parents – he was just misunderstood and wanted some love and acceptance from the world community.

        Here’s a video that explains Osama Bin Laden and his motivations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RheNKCsw8dY

  • Michael

    Tell it like it is Colonel Wilkerson

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think it is Wilkerson saying we have to be patient and diplomatic and “let them do their own thing” in the awakening world. This reminds me of the way the colonies in America shook off the British Empire. We wanted to be a democracy, and proclaimed in, then fought each other to define it. But we end up respecting and allied with the British anyway. “Our” dictators in the Middle East seem like the British bullies in the colonies. We know a thing or two about becoming independent.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      The awakening is already started for the Muslim people from Tunisia to Syria the Muslim world is rising up to battle oppression. Can you not see what is going on in the Arab world? People Power revolution is in effect. Aran nations do not need Bin Laden or other terror groups to lead them into freedom. Muslim people are doing it for themselves. I am Catholic and I know the muslim world will prevail from oppressions just like what the Filipino did during the 1986 people power revolution.

  • Zeke

    The quick dump at sea does create more doubt. This should be used as a situation that deals a blow to the morale of the enemy. Take for example the killing of Che Guavara, propping his body on a boad and taking some photos did a great deal to deflate the romanticism around him.

  • Ellen Dibble

    More grabs from the last few minutes at the BBC website:
    “1724: The US is now reviewing a large cache of materials seized at the Abbottabad compound, according to Reuters.
    1720: There was no indication that Pakistan was aware of the presence of Bin Laden at the Abbottabad compound, US intelligence officials say, according to Reuters.
    1718: Bin Laden was buried at sea because no country was available to accept his body, US defence officials tell Reuters news agency.”

    There are photos of bin Laden’s dead body, which the State Department is deliberating whether to publish.
    Where exactly is the Pakistani nuclear facility? Is that also at Abbottabad? Or real close?
    Hillary Clinton is reinforcing nothing is amiss between the USA and Pakistan, but is that just the elites, or the hundreds of millions of people there? I don’t understand their antipathy to America; haven’t we hugely helped, from an earthquake a few years back, and then from a flood that swept Pakistan? Or did we somehow further alienate that country, rumor-mill functioning as usual?

  • Charlie Mc

    [From Tao Te Ching 31]
    “Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them
    Therefore followers of the Tao never use them.
    The wise man prefers the left,
    The man of war prefers the right….

    This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
    When many people are being killed,
    They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow,
    That is why a victory must always be observed like a funeral.

  • MarkKnoeller

    Lets not forget the circumstance’s that led to the attacks on America. The CIA called it “Blow Back”. America can be a shining symbol of freedom. We must discontinue our support of leaders/governments that suppress civic freedom.

    • Mill

      Agreed. So vote for people who reflect your views if your views are really important. But most people who express views like you do, also justify voting for the “lesser evil” – which is called having one’s cake and eating it too.

      But what’s really repulsive is some people displaying sympathy for Osama Bin Laden and his violent, terrorist acts, as if that was just deserts for American excesses.

  • Michael

    The MIC and Defense department talking points with the help of Dina T.R. are quick to spin keep the war machine going,

    If quite clear if you follow the news and reporting in the morning to the more structured and far more pointed talking points by the end of the working day.

    Of course it’s understandable because such group profit so with keeping the war’s going. Yemen looks to be next and the U.S. has alreadly found their american born boogyman.

  • roymerritt19@gmail.com

    Our intelligence community did a superb job pulling this off. As a veteran of the Army Security Agency in southeast Asia in the early seventies as well a tour at the National Security Agency I can attest to the need for tangible intelligence that passes muster. We can all be proud to know that our military is without a doubt one of the most effective institutions in our nation. It also a demonstration, as I see it, that President Obama is a very astute leader who is well on his way to being judged as one of our most effective leaders.

    Roy Merritt
    Wilmington, NC

    • Steve

      From your lips to God’s ears, Sir.

  • roymerritt19@gmail.com

    In response to markknoeller referencing the CIA positing that 9/11 is a consequence of blow back. It’s true our foreign policy has often sponsored leaders in client states that were repressive. But one must remember that often the opposition forces in these nations were no great shakes at promoting freedom. We had to support one side or the other and the one we most time chose were the ones who were anti-communists. Most often the opposition were clients of the communist bloc. It would be wonderful if we could only pick the forces of democracy in any given area of the world to support and promote our world view. Yet in the long run we have to have a pragmatic approach which sometimes forces us to align ourselves with some unsavory characters. But such is the world. In a more perfect world we wouldn’t have to compromise our values. Let’s hope our example will cause some of our clients to embrace our way of doing things, which is through the rule of law.

    Roy Merritt
    Wilmington, NC

  • Mmaaaxx

    Love the cryptic new “Osama is Dead” music.


    WHen I got the news of bin laden’s death it was cathartic for about 45 minutes. I went outside with my you can hear it for a half-mile whistle.

    A neighbor yelled at me from their window–”People are trying to sleep.”

    So I went back in and to my usual life. My lonely, lonely life.

    I am a WTC-9-11 initial responder. My kid, now 15, had turned six just two weeks before that day.

    A neighbor upstairs, who lost her son, never ever said thanks for looking for her son.

    I can’t go out and celebrate. I’m very ill–have been for years. I can’t go out at all.

    ANd I have to turn the radio off because all I hear is “9-11 families” this and the “9-11 families” that. The Walking Dead with kids? We’re not “9-11 families.”

    A wise person told me days after 9-11-2001, “Some of us are going to wish we were in those towers.”

    Bittersweet indeed.

    Please send food.

  • April Wolff

    From April in New York: I utterly agree with the man who said we can’t afford “the war on terror”. My ex husband was in Carter’s administration and later was a guest of The America Institute in Moscow during Perestroika. Long before Reagan said “Mr. Gorbahev, tear down this wall!” We were told by an economic institute that they could no longer afford THEIR war in Afghanistan OR the Cold War. The reason Gorbachev failed in the end was that he took away vodka. People liked the idea of democracy, but were THIRSTY. The U.S. is now in exactly the same situation (except for the vodka). We can’t afford to be the loathed, (with good reason), gladiators of the west. Let Europeans rearm. Also we never really leave a country; always leave bases. 800 that the Dept. of Offense acknowledges. That’s why we have enemies. Yes, China will be worse than U.S. as an empire. But we must pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Seeing those wars on television just causes more homegrown terrorism. Yes, radical Islam is a real problem. Christians are being killed from Indonesia to Nigeria. I know people here who really think “the Jews” did 9/11. But we must stop supporting Israel no matter what, including their endless settlement building. Israel must accept the existence of a Palestinian state before expecting the opposite. Fatah gave the store to Netanyahu, but The NY Times publishes letters from Jewish organizations which don’t acknowledge that, saying “The Palestinians have never seriously negotiated with us.” Though the Times lets me comment online. How moral is that? I urge the Times to cover Aipac. Obama should cut aid to Israel, not give them more. But it’s politically impossible. Why are they such great allies for US? What do they do for US? I support them, because Jews have always been persecuted, but since the Gaza war just barely. Henry Louis Gates says “Being a victim does not imply moral superiority” and “One injustice does not justify another.” Wise words.

    Will someone please cover Southern whites like me who were in the Civil Rights Movement in the South? Preferably before we’re all dead.

    I tried to call your phone #, and there was no way to leave a message.

    • gardenia

      Another anti-semite raises his/her ugly head. Israel is the ONLY DEMOCRACY in the Middle-East. And we Zionists are as much support and help to the USA as the USA is to Israel. In Gaza the Palestinians are mourning the death of the EVIL BinLaden. How did you feel on 9/11?

  • John Hamilton

    Everything these guests said was reasonable, but I listened more to the tone of what they were saying, how they sound, and what that tone represents. I am old enough to remember when Tom Brokaw was the young substitute anchor on NBC, with longer hair than the older regular anchors on the three networks. Now he sounds stentorian, basking in the glow of his book with the pretentious title “The Greatest Generation.” (brief dissent: how about George Washington’s generation?)

    As well intentioned these men might be, they represent the established order, and as we have seen in recent years, the established order has sent this country into decline. We no longer have the option of going around the world overthrowing governments, establishing dictatorships, royalties, and varying other client regimes. We could in the past because we were strong and all others were weak.

    Those days are over. Our economy teeters on collapse, partly due to the military spending spree that followed the “9/11″ attacks. Two invasions, protracted occupations, vast spending on internal security and tax cuts for the rich have put us in a position of being the largest international debtor nation on the planet.

    The uprisings in the “Mideast” are the metaphor for the time we are entering. The younger generations in these countries have rejected the established orders of their individual nations. At some point the younger generation here will see that they also have been sold a bill of goods for their future, and will likely act accordingly.

    Put another way, these men talk from the perspective of the old order, which is no order anymore. Humpty Dumpty has already fallen off the wall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men…..

    (I also served, Army, 68-71, was a heretic then too)

  • Michael

    Interesting, from Foreign policy today

    1) The death of bin Laden is reinforcing calls for a quicker pullout of US troops from Afghanistan and strengthening pressure to end the war by finding a political settlement with the Taliban insurgency, the Wall Street Journal reports. In his first reaction Monday, Afghan President Karzai said bin Laden’s killing near the Pakistani capital vindicated the Afghan government’s growing opposition to U.S.-led combat operations in the Afghan countryside. Virtually all the coalition combat operations in Afghanistan these days are conducted against the homegrown insurgency, not al Qaeda’s foreign fighters, the Journal notes.

    Some Afghan politicians say they can’t wait for the U.S. forces to leave now that bin Laden, who triggered the U.S. invasion, is finally dead. “The Americans have reached their goal of arresting or killing Osama, and now Americans have no reason to stay in Afghanistan,” said Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, who served as prime minister in the mujahedeen government that fell when the Taliban seized Kabul in 1996.

    Last night on CNN, firefighter and 9/11 first responder Kenny Specht said, “I mean, we’re in a quagmire, for lack of a better term, in Afghanistan. I hope to God that tonight is one large step to maybe wrapping up operations in Afghanistan.”

    Also interesting that so far iraq has refused to extend the time frame for U.S. troops to stay there, even know Gates and the U.S. threw the State Department are trying to get around it by having it’s office do the job of the military.

  • Anonymous

    listening to tom brokaw i’m inclined to think the administration actually pulled off this sham–created by the bush admin–to put the stupid myth to bed–and get on with reality.

  • Anonymous

    create a lie to end a lie–wow americans really are gullible

  • Bryan

    As were others in this thread, I was also disturbed by the street demonstrations. In-your-face jingoism is never pretty. Crowds waving flags and chanting “USA! USA!” demean the Afghan war, reducing it to the level of a sporting event.

    One of the ironic tragedies of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that bears repeating is that the longer we stay, the more we come to be viewed as a de facto occupying force, fueling resentment that breeds new “enemy recruits.” The president is then faced with the predicament that no matter how many of the enemy we kill, we cannot be sure that there aren’t more waiting in the wings, forcing us into a state of constant vigilance.

    While Osama bin Laden’s death may satisfy the all-too-human lust for revenge, it will hardly make a difference to the war, which figures to drag on indefinitely. War, after all, is a business – a very big business – with a momentum all its own. As revealed in his 1961 farewell speech to the nation, President Eisenhower clearly understood this problem. President Obama would do well to keep Eisenhower’s warnings in mind.

    • Steve

      Well said, Bryan. But let’s wait and see what bin Laden’s death will mean in the long run. Maybe not much, maybe a little, maybe a lot.

  • Dee

    The absurdity of accepting what the US calls terrorism…..

    I wish to thank the caller who pointed out the absurdity of accepting
    the US position of labeling Bin Laden a terrorist when in fact it has been US policy in the Middle East which has been the real source of terrorism against helpless populations and indeed the American people by uphold-ing dictatorship regimes in the region –all focused on upholding the in-
    terests of the American oilgarchy (corporate America )and the Zionist Regime to further exploit and expand their ambition for territory and
    natural resources (oil) and minerals in the region…

    Yes, (/11 was awful in terms of the loss of American lives but the real source of terrorism and oppression as the caller pointed was Bin Laden’s three reguests of the US which all US presidents have rejected…

    Let’s look at them again: (1) stop supporting Arab dictators who op-
    pressed Arab popuations and: (2) stop the imbalance of power and support for Israel over the oppressed & disenchanchized Palestinians
    by the Zionist land thieves in Palestine and (3) end US colonial power and presence in the region.

    Now, this is exactly the requests we are hearing from the young Arab
    protesters in the streets all across the region today. And indeed into
    Africa, also.

    Now, just how can this be labeled terrorism when it is about the law-
    ful and sovereign rights of those young populations and ugly colonial-
    ism still raising its head in the region? Dee

    • gardenia

      Dee, are you a Nazi or do you come by your anti-semitism naturally? I have no sympathy for any of the Muslim states and/or terroristic Palestinians who will not accept the existence of Israel. I and many others are proud Zionists. Wake up to the reality of the Middle East.
      The Zionists are not land thieves and thus far there is no country of Palestine. Sometimes, I think that the only good Palestinian is dead.

  • Steve

    Thanks to Mr Wilkerson for–finally–questioning Mr Brokaw’s use of the term “Islamic rage.” With repect to Brokaw, “Islamic rage” doesn’t seem to do a very good job of naming whatever it is that motivates these various al qaeda types.

  • http://twitter.com/murmur55 murmur55

    Use this time of reflection to disinfect yourselves from the malignant memeplexes of religion and nationalism that caused the terrorist attacks in the first place.

  • http://www.kgsepg.com Gorav Singal
Sep 16, 2014
Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

Sep 16, 2014
From "Rich Hill"

“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

More »
1 Comment
Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

More »