How Osama Bin Laden Changed America | The New Yorker
Bin Laden, as medieval ideologist and global terrorist, had a record of accomplishment that was as vast as it was hideous. He did more to slash the fabric of American life than anyone since the Second World War. His capacity to arouse the fevered imaginations of young fundamentalists led to the murder of thousands of men, women, and children—among them Muslim men, women, and children—in Aden, Mogadishu, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Washington, New York, Shanksville, Bali, Madrid, London, Baghdad, Kabul, and Marrakech. He provoked wars. He forced the rise of expensive structures of security and surveillance. He incited a national politics of paranoia and retribution. He did as much as the economic rise of China and India has done to undermine America’s short-lived post-Cold War status as a singular, self-confident, seemingly omnipotent superpower. Bin Laden signed his last will and testament on December 14, 2001, while hiding in the caves of Tora Bora, instructing his children not to work for Al Qaeda: “If it is good, then we have had our share; if it is bad, then it is enough.” Despite all efforts to capture or assassinate him, he survived for a decade, eventually finding greater comfort in a Pakistani hill station.