With the death of Osama bin Laden, the US has scored its biggest victory in the war it has waged on al-Qaeda. For the view from New York, euronews spoke to TJ Winnick of ABC Television at Ground Zero.
Robert Hackwill, euronews:
Beyond the initial scenes of jubilation, what is the feeling among Americans, especially around Ground Zero, on this “momentous achievement” as former president Bush called it?
TJ Winnick, ABC:
Certainly folks down here at Ground Zero know that this is an important symbolic moment, but it’s also coupled with the realism that the fight against terrorism does not end with Osama bin Laden’s demise. They realise that there are plenty of his disciples who still want to take the fight to the United States and really the biggest threat right now considered by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are the home-grown radicals, folks within our borders right now.
In his address to the nation, President Obama signalled that this achievement is about a nation coming out of decline and that this may be the platform of his re-election campaign. Is this psychological moment going to hold for Obama?
We can tell you that there hasn’t been an approval ratings poll since Sunday night so that still remains to be seen, but certainly after all foreign policy is considered a weak point for this president. But I think one lesson we should look at is 1991, when former President Bush was riding a huge wave of popularity after the success of the first Gulf War, and then a short time later he was of course defeated by Bill Clinton who was able to take advantage of how poorly the economy was doing at that time. So I still believe personally that his fortunes are tied to the fortunes of the US economy.
Do you think many people will now think, “well, that’s the war on terror sorted, now we can leave Afghanistan and everything’s fine again?”
Well, as I mentioned I think people’s perception is that the war on terror does not end with Osama bin Laden, but I think more and more in recent months politicians have been calling for the US to pull out of Afghanistan, or at least questioning what in fact we are doing there and I think that the fact they got Osama bin Laden will add fuel to the fire of these arguments that, you know, our job there is done and perhaps we should pull back out of Afghanistan, stay off the coast, perhaps using drone strikes and things like that, but not have so many ground forces in that country there.