Should the U.S. be blamed for supporting bin Laden pre-2001?

· Politics

Osama bin Laden is a reviled figure now in the Western world but it was not always this way. In a 1993 article written in the Independent,bin Laden is referred to as a “Saudi businessman,” one who did much good in Sudan. Specifically, he connected Port Sudan with Khartoum by constructing a road, one that the Sudanese had been waiting for, for many years. He is referred to as wise, because he had accomplished this major goal.


Of course, the context for such praise is that he and his recruited Islamic warriors fought against the Soviets at the height of the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union, as Russia was then referred to. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and at times, the United States has partnered with some questionable regimes because of this principle (probably every country has).


America has been criticized for this and viewed as hypocritical. They decry bin Laden now, although they embraced him when he was useful to them. I can see both sides of this issue. Although hindsight is 20/20, it does seem a bit unfair to criticize a country for teaming up with someone, not knowing what he is going to do in the future. On the other hand, even as early as 1993, there were rumours circulating in Egypt and other nations that bin Laden was involved with more than just one construction. It seems like the United States turned a blind eye to bin Laden’s less savoury characteristics because they stood to gain from him in the short term. It has obviously come back to bite them, to put it vulgarly.


What do you think, should America be blamed for partnering with bin Laden in 1979 when he helped them fight against the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan?



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