10 Essential Longreads on Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and The War on Terror

Osama Bin Laden

With news of Osama bin Laden's death ricocheting around the Web, we dove into The Atlantic's archives to find the most interesting, engaging, and thoughtful pieces on bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and America's history -- and future -- in the Middle East. 

Want to suggest another longform piece on bin Laden and Al Qaeda? Tweet it to us @TheAtlantic with the hashtag #longreads.


Hunting The Taliban In Las Vegas, by Robert D. Kaplan (September 2006)

In trailers just minutes away from the slot machines, Air Force pilots control Predators over Iraq and Afghanistan. A case study in the marvels--and limits--of modern military technology

 Al Qaeda's Understudy, by Nasra Hassan (June 2004)

Suicide terrorism has come to Pakistan, waged by one of the most vicious Islamist groups ever know

The Gospel According to Osama Bin Laden, by Reuel Marc Grecht (January 2002)

To Western ears, the author writes, the public utterances of Osama Bin Laden have always come across like the "tirades of a loony idealogue." But these skillful rhetorical constructions, rich in historical allusion, have enormous powers of penetration--and will survive their author

Declaring Victory? by James Fallows (September 2006)

The United States is succeeding in its struggle against terrorism. The time has come to declare the war on terror over, so that an even more effective military and diplomatic campaign can begin

The Roots of Muslim Rage, by Bernard Lewis (September 1990)

Why so many Muslims deeply resent the West, and why their bitterness will not easily be mollified

Inside Out, by Michael Scheuer (April 2005)

Why it's so hard to infiltrate al-Qaeda

Ten Years Later, Richard A. Clarke by (January/February 2005)

"Then the second wave of al-Qaeda attacks hit America." A leading expert on counterterrorism imagines the future history of the war on terror. A frightening picture of a country still at war in 2011

The Leadership Secrets of Osama Bin Laden, by Bruce Hoffman (April 2003)

The terrorist as CEO

Stranger in a Strange Land, by Christopher Hitchens (December 2001)

The dismay of an honorable man of the left

The Fifty-First State? by James Fallows (November 2002)

Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders--and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?

Presented by

Jared Keller is a former associate editor for The Atlantic and The Atlantic Wire and has also written for Lapham's Quarterly's Deja Vu blog, National Journal's The Hotline, Boston's Weekly Dig, and Preservation magazine. 

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