With the widely reported news that Osama Bin Laden has finally been killed by some US assassination unit, it is worth reflecting on why universities and intelligence agencies should be immensely thankful to Mr Bin Laden.
To begin with, the ‘intelligence’ agencies have never had it better: massive injections of government funds, plenty of positions to fill, lots of new equipment on which to peruse facebook, twitter and what have you.
As for universities, the massive increase in courses, programs, research centres, grants, articles, books and academics focusing on ‘terrorism’, Islam, extremism, and so forth would not have happened without Bin Laden. In Australia, graduation ceremonies are full of international students receiving degrees in ‘counter-terrorism’. Intellectuals with fIagging careers have suddenly found a new lease of energy and, even better, shitloads of cash to figure out how to ‘secure’ Australia. All but one area remains untapped: the discipline of pro-terrorism studies, with a core program called ‘How to be a terrorist’.
So I propose that both ‘intelligence’ agencies and universities institute an annual ‘Osama Bin Laden’ day, saluting the man who inaugurated a golden era of funding, research and teaching in an area previously barely acknowledged.