Osama bin Laden hasn't been seen publically since last fall, and he wasn't looking too good at the time. Remember, he was only 44 but was reported to have had severe kidney disease on top of living in a war zone for a few months.
And now, this:
Osama wasn't like Mullah Omar - he didn't completely shun cameras. He'd give a speech every once in a while or demonstrate a rocket launcher in front of video cameras.
The fact that he didn't give this self-congratulatory speech on video means he's probably dead. The fact that he has not been reliably photographed since last
fall, and isn't showing up on a recent video tape during this first anniversary of 9/11, means he's not around to worry about anymore.
But whether it's Osama or some fellow-traveler, his contention that history has been changed is nonsense. While his people did murder about 3,000 people in cold blood and ruin a few blocks of downtown Manhattan and part of the Pentagon, let's examine whose history has changed in the last year, shall we?
Americans, Europeans, et.c.: Few lifestyle changes;
more unemployment, some extra lines at
the airport, more focus on terrorism
Afghanistan: Taliban out, something less onerous in;
al Qaeda's movements greatly restricted
to caves and remote countryside (or underground).
As the crash of Flight 93 demonstrated, Americans woke out of their terrorism stupor pretty fast.
I think the best way to spend tomorrow is to try to acknowledge the hit we took without wallowing in the terror of the day. Living in terror means the terrorists win. I plan to go to work.
I don't believe all terrorists are gone, nor do I believe that we'll never have another terrorist attack. But, as I said last December, I believe we're more likely to have small-scale terrorist acts, not large flying bombs.
2013.02.20: And, OK, I was wrong on this one. Bin Laden was alive until May 2011.