Osama bin Laden

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Note for TV and radio: The University of Pennsylvania has a satellite

uplink facility with live-shot capability near campus and an ISDN line. 

Expert:

Dr. Ian Lustick, professor of political science

Credentials:

• Author of “Trapped in the War on Terror”

• Consultant on Middle East affairs and national security for every administration since President Carter’s

Quote:

“President Obama displayed excellent strategic and tactical leadership in his use of the full spectrum of U.S. power to end the threatening and embarrassingly long career of Osama bin Laden.  We must now brace for revenge attacks by bin Laden wannabes in Europe, Africa and Asia.  But the approach to this problem should mirror the president's policy: Carry on our national life normally, make our goals clear, avoid unnecessary dramatics and rhetorical hype but act ruthlessly when the targets have been clearly and unquestionably established. The most important impact of this killing in Afghanistan will be a function of Pakistan's reaction.  We do not yet know enough about how the U.S. got the information it needed to carry out this operation to speculate about whether this will lead to an improvement in U.S.-Pakistani cooperation with respect to Afghanistan, or the opposite.”

Expert:

Dr. Jamal Elias, professor and chair of religious studies

Credentials:

• Teaches courses on the history of Islamic civilization, Islamic ethics and Islamic metaphysics

Quote:

“It’s against Islamic tradition to bury someone at sea. There’s a very strong encouragement saying that if at all possible, even if someone dies at sea, that their body should be recovered, that they should be put in the ground.” (from KYW Radio interview, May 2, 2011)

Expert:

Dr. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, associate professor of history, director of the Middle East Center at Penn

Credentials:

  • Author of “Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation” and the forthcoming "The Making of the Great Satan: A History of U.S.-Iranian Relations" and “Conceiving Citizens: Women, Sexuality and Religion in Modern Iran”

  • Expert in Iranian history and politics, Iran-Iraq relations, U.S.-Iranian relations and gender politics in the Middle East

Quote:

“The death of Osama bin Laden undoubtedly marks a meaningful and decisive victory for the United States; however, bin Laden’s demise does not end the war on terror nor does it in any way mitigate the anti-American sentiments prevalent among extremist groups.  The attacks on Libya, combined with the news of bin Laden’s death, will likely fuel future terrorist attacks.  Still, it must be conceded that U.S. policies in and pressures on Pakistan and Afghanistan have resulted in the long-awaited capture of America's most inglorious enemy.”

Expert:

Dr. Christopher Nichols, postdoctoral fellow in U.S. history at Penn

Credentials:

  • Specializes in the history of the United States' role in the world, with expertise in American intellectual, cultural, political and foreign-policy history, international relations, diplomacy, isolationism and internationalism.
  • Author of the just published book “Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age” and co-author of  “Prophesies of Godlessness: Predictions of America's Imminent Secularization from the Puritans to the Present Day”

Quote:

“The special operations mission that killed Osama bin Laden signifies a decisive achievement in American intelligence and tactical military action. These efforts are crucial to what President Obama has recently recast as a multilateral global conflict not simply against Al Qaeda but in support of humanitarian ends such as in Libya. Perhaps the new Obama policy now can move out from under the shadow of the Bush era and shift further away from unilateralism.

“Some of the ardent displays of American nationalistic hubris are a mistake. This moment should be a solemn rather than triumphant time if the nation seeks to more fully embody its ideals of justice rather than vengeance. Indeed, this is a ‘victory’ as much or more for the world as for the United States. As a matter of historical context, however, this remarkable moment likely will not signal a sea change. The future remains very much uncertain as to what will happen with the burgeoning democratic revolutions across the Middle East and with continued American military engagement in Afghanistan, Iraq and now in Libya. We also should be mindful that the tactics and threats of terrorism against the United States, the West and citizens of the world preceded bin Laden's most heinous acts by decades and unfortunately are likely long outlive him.”