All this time I thought he was a make-believe character that parents told their children about to get them to behave and whom Coca Cola turned into a marketing gimmick. Oh wait, wrong make-believe character. I thought he was an American creation to justify an imperialistic grab for oil. Now it turns out that there really was a Bin Laden. (All we need now is someone to wage war on Finland to find out the truth of Father Christmas.)
But I wonder why they didn’t just capture him so that he could be put on trial, like Saddam Hussein? Surely there was plenty of evidence of his connections to 9/11 and the attack on the USS Cole, not to mention the 7/7 bombings in London and the metro bombings in Madrid and, God knows, how many other terrorist attacks. I mean, that is why we invaded two sovereign countries after all, isn’t it?
If the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were just wars, then surely Bin Laden should have been subjected to the criminal justice system (American, Pakistani, Afghan, even International) and been convicted and sentenced. His death won’t, I don’t think, put an end to the conspiracy theories.
It’s interesting that, in his speech, Barack Obama said that the families who lost loved ones to Al Quaeda could be sure that “justice had been done”. But, in western liberal democracies, the administrator of justice is the judge, not the executive or the military. The big fear now is that Bin Laden has been turned into a martyr. Surely it would made have been more just – not too mention pragmatic – to treat him as someone who had committed crimes (terrorism), put him on trial and, if found guilty, sentence him to multiple life sentences. He wanted to die. Why not humiliate him by having him languish in prison for the rest of his life?
The White House spokesperson also claimed that Bin Laden was unarmed when he was killed, although one of his wives did try to rush the special forces team. Why would you admit to killing and unarmed, old man (even one who is the inspiration for a global terror network)?
And, of course, that is even if he is dead. According to Obama’s speech, the dead body of Bin Laden was “taken into custody”, given the Islamic funeral rites and then dumped in the sea to avoid his tomb become a shrine. But of course this means that they can’t really prove that he is dead. As a Christian country like America ought to know, the authorities tried to question Jesus’ resurrection by paying people to say he was dead, but they could never actually produce the body.
Despite Obama’s talk of the “pursuit of justice”, it seems that all the Americans wanted was revenge. And, as a result, they may well have made the world an even more dangerous place.