September 11, Six Years Later – How Bin Laden Succeeded, and How to Deny Him A Victory

On September 11th, I wrote a piece wondering about Bin Laden’s motives.  Could he really believe that his actions would make us surrender?

But as much as we revile him, we must assume he is calculating and smart.

Bin Laden’s goal could not have been to defeat America in one blow or make America retreat from engagement in the Middle East.

Bin Laden’s goal must have been to divide the West from the Muslim world, and to that extent he has succeeded far more than he deserves.

If we are to truly deny him a victory, we must not allow him to define who are the parties in the battlefield: it is NOT Muslims vs. Infidels.  It is NOT the West vs. the Arab world; it is those who have a vision of militant absolutism and who will use violence to advance their intolerant visions, vs the vast majority of humans of moderate persuasion who just want to live in peace.

If we are to defeat Bin Laden, we need to recognize that the enemy is NOT a religion or an ethnic group.  Bin Laden would like us to think so, to alienate the groups and prey upon these divisions.

If we are to win, we need to reframe the conflict and work TOGETHER, denying him the mantle of representative of a religion. 

The overwhelming majority of Muslim religious leaders think Bin Laden a rogue who has no right to speak on behalf of one of the world’s great religions.  But they are seldom heard, because for the media this is not interesting.

We must amplify their voice.

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