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Osama bin Laden’s death was significant for many reasons — most notably, it served as a measure of justice for the families of 9/11 victims. However, Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, said it turned out to be less relevant to the Arab world than some thought it would be.
On May 14, 2012, Bergen, director of New America’s National Security Studies Program, sat down with Zachary Karabell, president of River Twice Research, to discuss his latest book at New America NYC.
While bin Laden’s death impacted Al-Qaeda’s ability to fund raise and recruit to some extent, Bergen explained there was very little outcry in the Muslim world following his death, which may indicate he was less significant in that region toward the end of his life than once believed.
As for the future of the “War on Terror,” Bergen said “there is no official end to the ‘War on Terror.’ The God behind terrorists’ goals makes it difficult for terrorism to end.”
Although the struggle against terrorism will likely not end any time soon, Bergen said Americans should not lose sleep over further domestic terrorist attacks. The circumstances that allowed Al-Qaeda to carry out the 9/11 attacks simply do not exist anymore, Bergen said, noting that all subsequent terrorist attacks since have either failed or were preempted.
“If that’s our biggest problem, a group that constantly fails, we are fine,” he said. “Many people say that 9/11 was the end of something, but in fact, it was the climax of Al-Qaeda’s ability to do anything.”
— By Lauren Glass
Author, MANHUNT: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad
Director, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation
President, River Twice Research
Board Member, New America Foundation
Regular contributor, The Daily Beast