Gone at Last

Bin Laden perpetrated or inspired a long list of horrors.

3 May 2011


We should not forget that Osama bin Laden’s evil extended far beyond the outrages of September 11, 2001. The list of terrorist acts he committed and inspired extends, literally, for pages. “At last, the mastermind of the bombing of the 1998 American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania—which together killed and wounded more than 5,000 people—is dead. At last, the leader of a group that planned to assassinate Pope John Paul II and President Clinton, and to bomb a dozen trans-Pacific airline flights, is dead. At last, the author of the 1996 truck bombing at Khobar Towers and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole is dead.

At last, the man who inspired and took credit for the 2002 bombing of a Bali nightclub, the 2002 firebombing of a Tunisian synagogue, the 2002 bombing of a Mombasa hotel, the 2003 attacks in Riyadh, the 2003 bombings of synagogues and banks in Istanbul, the 2003 bombings in Casablanca, the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the 2005 London subway bombings, the 2005 Amman hotel bombings—is dead. The man who inspired and rejoiced in the 2003 Imam Ali Mosque bombing, the 2004 Irbil bombings, the 2004 Ashura bombings, the 2004 Basra bombings, the 2005 Musayyib bombing, the 2005 Baghdad bombings, the 2005 Khanaqin bombings, the 2006 Buratha Mosque bombing, the 2006 Sadr City, Iraq bombings, the 2007 Baghdad market bombing, the 2007 Tal Afar bombings, the 2007 Baghdad bombings, the 2007 Yazidi community Iraq bombing—is dead.

The list of horrors connected to bin Laden, directly or by inspiration, is so vast that in trying to catalog them, one fears insulting the memory of the victims through oversight. He left countless thousands, the globe around, dead, maimed, bereaved, scarred, and forever heartbroken. Most of al-Qaida’s victims have been Muslims. These photos show what al-Qaida did to Istanbul. That was two blocks from the apartment I used to live in, a peaceful neighborhood of good, hardworking men and women. There is a reason Turks were among the first to express their satisfaction at the news of his death.

The victims will never be brought back to life. But neither will he.

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