The carefully synchronized assault on Osama bin Laden’s sanctuary in Pakistan was a great tactical success. In the broader scheme of things, though, America’s crusade to find and neutralize the world’s most notorious terrorist has been a strategic failure. By taking ten years to track down Al Qaeda’s leader, the U.S. has sent a message that terrorism can be a cost-effective strategy for extremists even when fighting the world’s biggest military power. With a relatively small investment of money and manpower, Osama bin Laden managed to change the course of history in a way severely detrimental to America, weakening its economy and transforming its society. I have written a brief essay for Forbes on the failure of U.S. policy to discourage future terrorists, that can be found here.
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