With a po-faced solemnity which was almost a parody of itself, US President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden today, saying that it "'marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaida."
President Obama may well be right in this assessment but, if he is, it only emphasises just how futile and senseless the so-called "war on terror" really is.
Yes, a terrorist figurehead has died, a victim of US military operations inside Pakistan, but what has really changed?
Regretfully for the US, the answer must be "nothing."
No-one expects the operations of al Qaida to cease as a result.
Indeed, the US and all its allies in this phoney "war" are now on higher alert than ever in the expectation of massive reprisals.
The killing of bin Laden by US special forces was, there can be little doubt, fully in line with a US policy which sees the elimination of leading individuals as somehow key to winning battles with its enemies, but the superpower is due to be sadly disabused of the efficacy of that policy.
Because, no matter how much the US might wish it, it's just not that easy.
Put simply, individuals do not make history, nor are they crucial to the directions that it takes.
While they can be a part of history they are in all circumstances a product of their historical epoch rather than popping out of nowhere to change the world on their own.
And of no-one is that more clear than in the case of Osama bin Laden.
In family terms he was the product of capital, of privilege and great wealth - bin Laden was a scion of an enormously rich and powerful Saudi family - and in political terms there is a case to be made that he was, quite bluntly, a product of the US as much as of militant Islam.
The campaign conducted by the mujahideen in Afghanistan changed bin Laden's life when he took up the anti-communist cause against the Soviet-backed government of Mohammad Najibullah.
The US Central Intelligence Agency played an active role in arming and training the mujahideen, including bin Laden and the campaign against the Afghan government gave him a solid background in military affairs .
The poisonous mixture of fundamentalist religion and military strategy was not only the property of Osama bin Laden, however.
His particularly violent version of Islam found its parallel in the behaviour of his supposedly Christian US enemies, whose conduct gave violent Islamists excuse, if not reason, for acts of terror against a US which used terror without compunction itself and destroyed any claims to the moral high ground that it might have otherwise had.
Al Qaida gained support across huge swathes of the Islamic world because it was able to point to a US that, in Palestine and across the Middle East, had lost any credibility it might have built with its constant support of Israel at any and all opportunities.
That situation will not die with Osama bin Laden.
The remarkable fact that it is largely in Arab and Islamic countries that the US has recently concentrated its various wars and aggressions continues to ensure that militant Islamists will see in the US the embodiment of a racially and religiously motivated Christian state conducting its own version of a crusade against Islam itself.
President Obama may say what he will and US citizens can celebrate till the cows come home about the death of bin Laden, but the fact is that terror will continue to be used against the US until that country itself decides to abandon shock and awe in favour of diplomacy and justice in the Middle East.
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