Opinions differ on bin Laden’s death as Sept. 11 anniversary approaches

Rock Bridge High School/Columbia, Mo.
Posted in Remembering

COLUMBIA — Mid-Missourians heard the news
of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, from more than 1,000 miles away.

The attacks on 9/11 caused nearly 3,000 causalities and changed the way Americans thought about their place in the world. With the death of Osama bin Laden only four months before the 10-year anniversary of

9/11, Boone County residents have diverse opinions on the proper response to the events of the past several years.

Some feel the death of bin Laden and the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan following the attacks on Sept. 11 were positive responses. Others, who are sympathetic to the victims of Sept. 11, didn’t feel reactionary violence was the answer to their losses.

Columbia resident Cathy Rosenholtz is a sympathizer.

She was living in New York during the attacks. Rosenholtz said no one completely understood what went on in New York at that time except for New Yorkers, creating a possible lack of better judgment for the aftermath.

Rosenholtz said the aftermath of Sept. 11 was not a time for immediate war because the people of New York needed security and comfort in their lives, not more acts of hatred.

“9/11 was a tragedy,” Rosenholtz said. “It should not have become an excuse to destroy

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thousands of lives.”

Hartsburg resident Gene Basinger feels differently. Basinger said the wars and the death of bin Laden are just accomplishments we’ve made.

Nodding his head, Basinger said, “I’m just glad to see him gone.”

MU political science professor Cooper Drury said he sees more of a realistic side to the death of one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.

“The death of bin Laden, while important for symbolic reasons, is only part of the bigger picture,” Drury said. “Al-Qaida does seem to be significantly weakened from our efforts, but that doesn’t mean someone or some group isn’t ready to take its place.”

Drury said it’s a matter of coming to terms with what we’ve done and embracing the idea that there might be retaliation.

“Terrorism is like crime: It’s not a war you win,” Drury said. “It’s a chronic disease you combat.”

Alan Wilkening, a Columbia resident, agreed that the Taliban might seek revenge but blamed the previous U.S. government for the attacks on Sept. 11.

“9/11 happened because of lack of progress in the government,”

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Wilkening said. “If we would have had progress before, nothing would have happened.”

Despite his opinion on the reason for the attack, Wilkening insists the government has made decent progress.

“Killing bin Laden was good progress,” Wilkening

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said, “but only when compared to what has previously been done.”

However, Rosenholtz said it’s all about how people define progress.

“Progress is more about coming to terms with grief,” Rosenholtz said. “To some, bin Laden’s death was more of a quiet sense of closure, but killing thousands was not the answer.”