From St. Louis on the Air
6:21 pm
Mon May 2, 2011

A discussion on the ramifications of Bin Laden's death

On today's St. Louis on the Air, our guests shared their unique perspectives on the death of Osama bin Laden, and what it means for the war on terror.

You can listen to the full show here, but here are a few highlights:

St. Louisan Eric Greitens is a Navy SEAL who served in Afghanistan and, later, Iraq.  He, like many observers here in the US, is eager for more details to emerge about the military operation that left Osama bin Laden dead.  But, based on his experience as a SEAL, he offered an idea of what the preparations must have included:

“This group of commandos would have spent weeks preparing for this actual hit.  They would have practiced time and time and time again.  They would have had a team of Navy SEALS and intelligence professionals operating side by side for months trying to work out every single possible detail of the compound.  They would have tried to know every detail, for example, which way every door opened in the compound.”

About his role in the hunt for bin Laden while he served in Afghanistan, Greitens said, “We wanted to be deliberate and patient and slowly do everything that we could to get one, two, three steps closer to Osama bin Laden.”

Faizan Syed is executive director of the Council on American Islam Relations (CAIR) in St. Louis. He said most Muslims are happy today that bin Laden has been found and killed:

“Osama bin Laden was not a representative of Muslims or Islamic ideology and in fact, CAIR St. Louis and CAIR International have condemned bin Laden multiple times along with other terrorist attacks. We’re very much against any type of terrorism, whether it’s Islamic terrorism or Christian terrorism or any type of terrorism.”

A statement from the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis said that bin Laden’s death is an important step in the fight against the perversion of their peaceful religion.

J. Martin Rochester, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said the news marks progress in the war on terrorism but America must continue to be vigilant:

“The terrorist network lost an iconic, charismatic figure who’s probably irreplaceable. At the same time, al-Qaida had morphed into a decentralized network of small cells and so certainly we shouldn’t make too much of this even though it’s a wonderful moment as far as I’m concerned.”

Rochester said he disagrees with those academics who believe that the threat of terrorism in the U.S. has been overstated.