The majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll think the killing of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, has no impact on the safety of Americans.
Thirty-one percent say his death makes America safer, compared with 15 percent who say we are less safe now.
Announcing the news of the successful mission by U.S. Special Forces, President Barack Obama declared that “justice has been done.” At the same time, he said: “there’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must—and we will—remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
In a national Gallup poll Monday night, a slight majority—54 percent—said they thought bin Laden’s death would make the United States safer from terrorism, nearly double the 28 percent who said it would make this country less safe.
In terms of how 9/11 impacted readers’ businesses, 57 percent said it did not have a lasting impact, compared with 43 percent who said it did.
More than 620 readers participated in this week’s Snap Poll, which was conducted May 2 and 3.
In your view, does Osama bin Laden’s death make the United States safer?
More safe: 31%
Less safe: 15%
No difference: 55%
Have 9/11 and its aftermath had a lasting impact on your business?
The attacks on 9/11 were the most visible and poignant in a long line of attacks on America by radical Islamists. The ideology that motivated Osama bin Laden preceded him and will continue after him. The difference now is that hopefully our eyes are open to the danger and we are aware of the enemy who stalks us.
—Craig Rideout, Pittsford
As much as I believe justice has finally been served, I believe bin Laden will be viewed as a martyr and it will further unite the terrorists against the United States.
—Ken Fiske, SenDEC Corp.
In terms of the end of this reign of terror and hate that has taken over some portions of the world, Edmund Burke’s quote comes to mind: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Until the good people in the world decide to stand up against the hate in their own backyards, nothing significant will change.
Osama’s death will raise the risk factor for a while—perhaps a few years. However, it confirms our resolve to punish those who mean us harm, which serves as a long-term deterrent.
Osama may have been the leader, but we all know there are many more extremists out there, and even those who are not leaders and act alone can do great damage. As for business after 9/11, I was employed as a bookkeeper by a local manufacturer at the time. While we were doing well (under President Bill Clinton), for the first time in a long time, after 9/11 business plummeted and never really recovered.
—Marjorie Campaigne, Project HOUSE/Green Irene
The length of time that it has taken to get him has resulted in many more lieutenants ready and more than willing to step into the vacuum. I do think his death is a very positive event in upsetting the apple cart, but make no mistake: Those same lieutenants are scurrying about, picking up the apples. We may have delayed the next action by al Qaeda, but as Obama said, it will come, and with bin Laden’s death, perhaps more recklessly than we are prepared for. Let’s hope not. I also think all businesses have had lasting effects from 9/11. The increased costs in both time and money to import-export as well as the extra time for business travel security are all effects on business.
I believe the threat of retaliation from fragmented anti-U.S. resistance groups is higher than yesterday, yet we had to do the deed when the opportunity presented. I hope increased vigilance will prove itself. Personally, I am not changing any travel plans. However, I will be more careful and observant when on overseas vacations.
—Mary Lynn Vickers, founder/owner, the Phantom Chef Personal Chef Service
The events of 9/11 made the world considerably smaller in terms of the social, religious and economic issues we all face. As global citizens, we all need to remember that the media can sometimes make us believe the sky is falling and that people in other parts of the world differ greatly in terms of good and evil, and it is just not true.
—John Nolan, Rochester
No more or less safe. We just need to be more vigilant in our daily lives and more diligent in our pursuit of removing these terrorists from power.
—Jim Duke, Victor
We are probably safer (for some time) from a major event such as 9/11, but due to the recent construct of the Taliban and cells, we are at nearer-term risk of one-off events. We are, and have been, in a very different world from the one in the 1970s to 1990s, even as we thought it had its own problems.
—Janet Nelson, OQL Solutions
The fact that the U.S. intelligence methodically gathered, coordinated and then understood the evidence they had shows the Islamic terrorists that they may run, they may try to hide, but in the end their own people will give up their location, (and) we will come to find them and they will perish.
—David Muench, Pittsford
I don’t believe Osama could ever be replaced with a more insane criminal mind.
—Daniel Mossien, architect
In all likelihood, some of those nut-jobs will seek revenge. Pray for them. A God greater than them has said that revenge is his alone. Their fate is worse than anything we have suffered when they defy the real King of kings. The true face of Islam can now reveal itself as the great contributor to society it has been and not the destroyer Osama was. Osama has been reduced to fish food and his followers can follow the likes of the Red Brigades or the Baader-Meinhof Gang in the dung heap of fools.
It makes us safer from bin Laden! Screw him!
It is high for a 24-hour period, and we still need to be thinking about security every day. I spent the past six years on plane for my job every week and I am glad we have the security measures we have in place at every airport. I recently took a job locally here and I am ever so grateful more than before that I am not flying every week in light of Osama bin Laden’s death. I worry about terrorist events occurring as they try to even the score.
—Bonnie Maguire, RGRTA
The most significant message, in my opinion, is to terrorists and potential terrorists. "You can run, but you can’t hide! We will track you down and deal with you, sooner or later!"
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency, Inc.
Osama Bin Laden’s death takes the heart out of al Qaeda and a worry out of our lives. It is now necessary to keep a successor from taking over. His followers will now become local gangsters and can be taken care of by the local police and security offices. The worldwide war on terror is replaced by standard local terrorists. Hopefully, we can now concentrate to rebuild and take care our country and of our citizens.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting
Osama Bin Laden was irrelevant four years ago. That operation metastasized and is now spread as little cells all over the world and the U.S. waiting for their socialist/fascist alliances in this country to solidify. From their perspective and under current political leadership, I would say their plans are coming together nicely. If it were not for the bin Laden infatuated press, I frankly would have forgotten Obama bin laden existed.
His death at the hands of Navy SEALs makes us feel better, and reinforces our resolve. The potential for a lasting impact depends on what U.S. intelligence can glean from the captured information at his hideout. If it’s actionable, then disrupting his network may be easier and will result in a safer international climate. There are still many people around the world, and in the U.S. that either hate us or want to draw attention to their cause, so there will continue to be serious threats. It’s likely that the attacks of 9/11 were a “one-off” and anything approaching that magnitude again is unlikely. The intelligence and security systems and capabilities developed after 9/11 should continue to protect us from large scale attacks. We should continue to foster greater freedom and democracy in the Middle East, increase our diplomatic initiatives around the world, and cut ties with corrupt and inept leaders. These actions should lead us to reduce our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should instead use those resources to boost our own economy. Reduce our debt, enhance our creativity and competitiveness and drastically eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester
I believe there are not adequate choices in this question. In the short term there may well be reprisals for the killing of Osama bin Laden, triggered by the news of his death. In that sense, in the short term the world will be less safe. In the long term, the fact that terrorists know that we will root them out—however long it takes—should act to some extent as a deterrent. I believe that the fact that Obama got a job done in two years that Bush could not accomplish in eight years had to do with a concentration on using focused intelligence resources, rather than mass warfare commitments (as it turns out in entirely the wrong countries—twice). I hope that we can disentangle ourselves from the mess that is the Mideast and concentrate on rebuilding the U.S.A., the middle class and small businesses.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed, Inc.
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