Bin Laden death won't solve US problems
Mon May 2, 2011 8:37AM
Interview with Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com
US President Barack Obama has announced US forces have killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and took the custody of his body. Obama said he authorized the attack on a compound near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Press TV interviewed Jason Ditz, managing news editor at Antiwar.com to discuss the issue.
PressTV: What do you think about the timeline of bin Laden's death? Do you think if he was killed before or has he been used as a pretext by the United States to continue its occupation of Afghanistan?
Ditz: Well, I think certainly he was killed recently and the question is that what happens now. I don't think that there is going to be any sort of immediate end to any military operation and despite all of the celebrations, it really remains to be seen that if it has any impact on al-Qaeda operations. It seems to me that officials have been downplaying bin Laden's operational significance for years now primarily because they were not able to capture him and now that he is dead, officials are hyping it up as a major gain and certainly it is from a symbolic point of view. Whether it actually changes the reality on the ground is something that entirely remains to be seen.
PressTV: Senior officials in Pakistan have claimed on various occasions that bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar were not in the country. Can you tell us about Pakistan's role in the operation that has led to the death of bin Laden?
Ditz: well I think it's quite significant that President Obama emphasized Pakistani cooperation, particularly Pakistan President Zardari's cooperation, but I think that there is going to be a short term problem of escalation in attacks as retaliation and also there probably will be some sort of fall outs diplomatically with the Pakistani government over the fact that he was not hiding in some tribal areas but was in a major city.
PressTV: How has Osama bin Laden been avoiding US intelligence, Pakistani and Afghan intelligence for almost a decade if you believe that he has been killed recently?
Ditz: The reality is that these various intelligence agencies are not particularly good at pinpointing individual people and they don't seem to be able to predict even massive changes like the one we see in Egypt. So I think huge agencies with a lot of money are not necessarily very good at what they do.
PressTV: Do you think that this announcement by Obama may be used to alleviate some of the pressure they are facing internally in the United States.
Ditz: Well it will be certainly in the short term. Already we are seeing people around the White House celebrating the announcement, but other various problems of the economy are well beyond the death of this man. And I think even if there is short term relief for the administration that they can point at this and call it their great success, but all those problems are still going to be there.
PressTV: We know that we are not too far from the start of the presidential election campaign in the United States. Do you think that the Obama administration will be using bin Laden's death as a boost for its reelection campaign?
Ditz: Well, it certainly can help experience boost early on, but I don't think that it will work prominently in their actual election material. It seems like it's a little bit too specific and a little bit too foreign policy and I don't think that would play very well in the United States as a commercial.
PressTV: But don't you think they could use it in some sort to effect public opinion that George Bush couldn't do It but we did?
Ditz: Well, that's certainly possible, but I think again it took the Obama administration years to do it as well and in the meantime they escalated the war in Afghanistan dramatically -- haven't followed ending the war in Iraq, they started a new one in Libya. I think foreign policy is going to be a dangerous issue for the president in that coming election.