Monday, December 5, 2016

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Caution Urged After Death of Bin Laden

SDSU political science professors discuss bin Laden's death and its significance.
By Golda Akhgarnia

As news of Osama bin Laden’s death unfolds, SDSU political science professors Dipak Gupta and Ric Epps weighed in on the situation and its significance.

Managing terrorism

Though bin Laden’s death is portrayed as a victory, both professors agreed that there is still reason to be cautious.

“Terrorism is a risk that has to be managed,” Gupta said. “It's similar to an earthquake or wildfire — none of these can be completely eliminated; you just have to learn how to manage them.”

Epps added that bin Laden’s death does not mean the war in Afghanistan is over, "it’s crazy to think we can pull out of Afghanistan right now.”

Possible retaliation

According to both professors, retaliation is definitely a possibility. Gupta said that terrorists are constantly trying to attack, pointing out the "underwear bomber" and Times Square bomber as examples.

Epps agreed, adding that retaliation might not necessarily be immediate.

“In the Middle East, revenge doesn’t have to happen instantaneously," he said.

Bin Laden’s legacy

Looking ahead, bin Laden’s legacy and martyr status is a concern, as is anti-American and anti-European sentiment.

“Al-Qaida is franchised now, so we have to think about where the next base strike might come from,” Epps said.

Gupta added that although central command has been decimated, the idea and the movement is still a threat.

However, he believes the United States is heading in the right direction as far as its strategy.

“We’re using human intelligence a lot more effectively, which is a good thing. Only by human intelligence could we have captured bin Laden.”