After bin Laden: West Must Reflect on its Methods of Self-Defense (El Pais, Spain)
Now that al-Qaeda’s prime mover has left the scene and we’ve had ten years to digest the neurotic episode that the West and the world experienced after 9-11, is it time to retool how the terrorist threat is addressed? This editorial from Spain’s El Pais suggests that it’s time for the world’s democracies to restore the values they proclaim to hold dear, which were set aside to fight al-Qaeda.
Muslims were the first to bury bin Laden’s legacy, even before his death. This is the story of the Arab revolutions. Inspired by democratic principles, these are the antithesis of the theocratic and dictatorial doctrine preached by the al-Qaeda founder. It’s now up to the West to clean up the negative and illegal aspects of its self-defensive reaction to jihad. It has failed to defend the human rights of those jailed or detained, if only temporarily. While the fear of terrorism, outpouring of hysteria and sense of exceptionalism that resulted are understandable, they aren’t feasible in the long term.
The United States, particularly under George W. Bush, declared a permanent state of global emergency and legalized the use of torture, extraterritorial prisons and illegal wars. America should reflect on the fact that the successful operation against bin Laden developed after these political principles died out. And, likely as a result of the Bush approach, Guantanamo has done more to discredit democracy than to help it achieve victory.
The questioning of the legitimacy of one’s actions is the first imperative of a liberal culture.
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AND MORE GLOBAL REACTION TO BIN LADEN’S DEATH AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.