An end to war

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead—in an act of justice, not vengeance—we think it’s an ideal time for America to hit pause, then push the reset button on the so-called war on terror. If bin Laden was as crucial to the future of Al Qaeda and global terrorism as our government believed him to be, what exactly is left that justifies the trillions of dollars we’ve spent to fund three wars? What is left that justifies the loss of all those thousands of lives?

“Now we shall learn whether there is another agenda that keeps 150,000 American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq,” wrote Tom Hayden in a post-bin Laden blog for The Nation. Indeed we will.

Ultimately, bin Laden’s death doesn’t lessen our devastation about what happened on 9/11, nor does it console us for our human losses in its aftermath. But perhaps his death opens the door for something new. Accelerated troop withdrawals from Afghanistan? Sustained embrace of the “Arab spring” pro-democracy rebellions? An end to the war on terror?