After the death of Osama bin Laden, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen declared that the war on terror was over.
He told a University of Florida audience Wednesday that the statement meant that bin Laden's death and the Arab Spring have pushed al-Qaida into irrelevance. “It's time to move on,” he said.
“We didn't kill every Nazi to end World War II ... There's going to be no surrender ceremony with al-Qaida, but over time, they're going to become less and less relevant.”
Bergen, who produced the first television interview with bin Laden, spoke Wednesday to more than 150 people at UF's Bob Graham Center for Public Service. Bergen is a journalist and author of three books about bin Laden and al-Qaida, the most recent being “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda.”
He said that al-Qaida was losing the war of ideas before bin Laden's death. The group's killing of Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere was costing it support in the Muslim world, he said. There was no connection between al-Qaida and the Arab Spring uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East this year, he said.
“I didn't see a single protester in the Arab revolts carrying a picture of Osama bin Laden,” he said.
Bergen detailed the hunt for bin Laden from his escape during the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 to the U.S. special forces raid that finally killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May. He said bin Laden's avoidance of electronic clues to his location and lack of human intelligence helped him evade capture. Read more