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Bin Laden’s death will change nothing

The death of Osama Bin Laden deprives Islamic fundamentalist terrorism of a key symbol but its impact will be rather more obvious in the Western media than either in the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists, or in the military ventures and systematic restrictions on civil liberties occasioned by the “war on terror” launched by 9/11.

If anything, the reported location of the military operation that killed him, Abbottabad in Pakistan, raises more questions about the United States’s relationship with that country and the incapacity or unwillingness of the Pakistani Government to play the sort of role in dealing with Islamic fundamentalist aggression expected by the West. The role in the operation of Pakistan’s intelligence service, suspected of protecting Bin Laden for years, will be a matter of profound interest.

The death of the architect of such an historic act of mass slaughter will, understandably, be the basis for an outburst of nationalist joy in the US. But Bin Laden’s significance in the global war on terror has surely been marginal for years, particularly given al-Qaeda’s growing reliance on homegrown terrorism, in which Muslims radicalized by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and fundamentalist scholars in their midst, have started their own jihads, without having to rely on a fractured international terrorist group or a man living in hiding in Pakistan.

Indeed, let’s not forget that one of Bin Laden’s key goals in developing the plans that led to 9/11 – remember originally it was a much bigger operation to involve dozens of airliners – was to so infuriate the West and the US in particular that it would wildly lash out at the Muslim world, thereby accomplishing what al-Qaeda had hitherto been unable to itself – radicalizing entire generations of young Muslims across the world and send them into combat against the West.

In this, at least Bin Laden was partly successful. As a British diplomat noted during his second term, George W. Bush became the “best recruiting agent al-Qaeda ever had.”

His death, however, won’t change the amorphous “war on terror” – a phrase abandoned as inconvenient during the Blair years – which embraces the minutiae of what you can take onto planes, western indulgence of Middle Eastern dictators, the increasingly pointless western presence in Afghanistan, and the systematic abrogation of basic civil liberties not merely for Muslims unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but for westerners as well.

There’ll be no repeal of the violations of civil liberties embedded in the criminal codes of western countries, no expedited withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, no US shift to support democracy in the Middle East at the expense of its client dictators. The war goes on, and governments won’t relinquish the wartime powers they’ve accrued, however much they may exploit the death of Bin Laden.

There is, however, a certain coincidental aspect to the timing of Bin Laden’s death. As young Arabs take to the streets across the Middle East to drive their dictators from power, as once secure bulwarks against Islamic fundamentalism like Tunisia’s Ben Ali. Egypt’s Mubarak and even the once-“mad dog of the Middle East”-turned-Western-favourite Muammar Gaddafi lose power, al-Qaeda has looked less relevant than ever.

Ultimately Bin Laden’s success wasn’t enough. It is not fundamentalism to which Middle Eastern youth are now turning, but to freedom from tyranny, persecution and censorship. The values for which the young people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Syria are marching and dying are completely antithetical to those espoused by this mass murderer and his henchmen.

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  • 1
    SusieQ
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Gee, you must have knocked this article up quickly Bernard, but I think it hits the mark. Surely the biggest questions need to be asked of the Pakistan government, a failed state if ever there was one. It will provide a ‘bounce’ for Obama in the polls no doubt and makes the Trump’s posturings on birth certificates and the like look even more absurd than they already did.

  • 2
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Bin Laden though is mostly the figment of US fever and not much more. There is no proof he did anything at all except train with the CIA to kick the Russians out of Afghanistan.
    Which is hysterical when you think about it now with 16,000 women per year dying in childbirth while we watch poppies grow or lock them up here.

    And there is no greater mass murderer alive today than George Dubya Bush.

  • 3
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Cue ranting post from Marilyn …

    … b_gger!!!!

  • 4
    SBH
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Yes Stiofan, we wouldn’t want anyone highlighting the plight of women in Afghanistan. Not quite sure what your contribution adds to the piece but I guess you pays your money so…

    Bin Laden’s dead, oh well. Christ has been dead for 2000 years and Mohamed for 1300. Doesn’t stop their followers slaughtering each other (and the rest of us for that matter).

    Nice, succinct piece on analysis from Keane.

  • 5
    (the other) BernardK
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The death of Bin Laden will have the same effect on the war on terror that the killing of Pablo Escobar had on the war on drugs. None.

    I take some issue with this tho:
    “It is not fundamentalism to which Middle Eastern youth are now turning, but to freedom from tyranny, persecution and censorship.”

    It takes hundreds of thousands to effect change this way, while only singles of thousands of fundamentalists to totally disrupt the world, to see the paring back of civil liberties, and to see over reaction on part of (western) governments which stimulate the recruiting drive like nothing else can.

  • 6
    Wobbly
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Abbottabad… we already new that!

    You’d have to say that if Al Queda were the threat they were made out to be by Bush, Obama and airport security, then they haven’t demonstrated that threat for a while.

    Septics going nuts in front of the White House over this news is only going to stir up more young and poor muslims.

  • 7
    Astro
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Well done Marilyn - you even find a rant in Bin Laden - or Bin Empty Now

    Interesting to see if any sleeper cells are activated. I would cancel flight to or from the USA for the next 2 week and stay away from tourist spots

  • 8
    Andy_008
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    One small fact seems to have completely escaped the notice of the Australian press today.

    The US government has for many years now consistently stated that there was no hard evidence linking Bin Laden to 9/11. Now, suddenly, today he is again alleged to be the mastermind behind the operation. What changed?

    Here’s Dick Cheney emphatically stating they were not claiming Bin Laden was behind 9/11 and the current FBI most wanted page for Bin Laden makes no mention of 9/11.

  • 9
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I did not rant about anything, the US said they have killed their CIA agent a number of times now.

    I don’t believe a word they say about anything at all, too old.

    the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis probably won’t care that a man they had nothing to do with is dead or supposedly dead Astro but why let your ignorant rants change now.

  • 10
    John
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

    by President Obama,

    not by George W. Bush.

  • 11
    Roberto Tedesco
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Sitting in a compound with “very high walls” in the middle of Pakistan - had he retired?

  • 12
    SBH
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Geez Astro, even for you that’s nuts

  • 13
    MLF
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I agree, nice piece Bernard. A couple of things though. I think the US have been on to Pakistan and the ISI for quite some time now….

    The joy, cheers and chest-beating you will see over coming days from the US may get a bit vomit-inducing, but it is rightly theirs. Let them have it. And it has nothing to do with the ‘war on terror’, nor the wars in Afg or Iraq. It is because after 10 long years this is the first small semblance of justice that real US citizens are able to take and to hold on to for the hideous murders that took place not only on their soil but of their citizens overseas as well. Let us not forget that affiliates of OBL targeted and killed Australians too.

    I am surprised you can say “no US shift to support democracy in the Middle East…” when against the will of his own Congress did the President take action in Libya. You always forget that a country’s responsibilities lie first and foremost in the protection of its own citizens. Unless you know every side of the story, ever deal, every handshake, every negotiation, every threat, every promise, every aggression, you are in no position I think to make sweeping judgements about US foreign policy.

    Finally, Marilyn, excellent pointing out of the plight of the Afg women and the needless deaths in childbirth and the needless death of babies day in and day out. You forgot however to mention that is because the Taliban do not allow women to be educated and they also do not allow women to be touched by male doctors. Bit of a vicious circle that one. You forgot to mention that is why the West has sponsored the training and installation of thousands of midwives and why the mortality numbers have been reversing in recent years.

  • 14
    MLF
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Andy 008, clearly mods only check links and not foolishness. Stop watching YouTube and read the 9/11 Commission Report.

  • 15
    geomac
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Good article which puts in perspective what the death of Bin Laden achieves. For the US it means celebrating like a street scene from Gaza or Libya but without the negative media. Just under 3,000 dead from 11th of September and well over 3,000 US military dead in Iraq alone for a lie. Of course Iraqi dead weren,t counted so only various estimates. Imagine if Bush was the one announcing Bin Ladens death ? Another photo op displaying the body as in the Saddam sons and western cinema cliches. I wish and hope the development actually does achieve some reduction in conflict. Nuts like Trump and Palin while seeming in control of their faculties are no better than Bin Laden . Bush has proven that to be a US president doesn,t require integrity or even a modicum of intelligence. Lets hope this props up Obama so we aren,t asked to be an ally in another deceitful and useless military action by some loose cannon.

  • 16
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Nuts like Trump and Palin while seeming in control of their faculties are no better than Bin Laden .”

    Gee Marilyn, how many usernames do you have?

  • 17
    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    This is just nitpicking but Wikipedia stated the following (itself citing American ABC):

    DNA from bin Laden’s body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister,[citation needed] confirmed bin Laden’s identity.[146] “

    and:

    According to Der Spiegel, The operation began at 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning when three US Apache helicopters attacked the Bin Laden complex. [13] After a firefight one helicopter had to make an emergency landing.[13] The battle lasted until 4 a.m.[13”

    If the report that OBL was killed on Sunday (or early Monday) (Sunday, American time) 1 May is correct, it is highly unlikely by later the same day (almost midnight, a few hours ago) that DNA tests could have been done. Despite what the TV crime shows depict, DNA fingerprinting cannot be done in a few hours, generally taking several days. Feasibly as little as 24 hours.

    So, in Wikipedia’s new page dedicated to OBL’s death, this new post could make sense (while being completely unofficial and speculative):

    On May 1, shortly before the official announcement, George Stephanopoulos on ABC News reported that Osama bin Laden was “likely killed in northwest Pakistan several days ago.” Brian Ross elaborated, “That’s right. Several days ago there was an attack. Most recently there have been killed about 20 to 25 suspected al-Qaeda figures, and according to one intelligence source he was among those killed. This was several days ago. It is likely they have done a DNA match at this time, before they would make such an announcement.”[20]”

    At the same time, the US authorities claim that OBL’s body would be treated according to Islamic tradition raises some irreconcilable issues. Islamic tradition requires burial within 24 hours so how could the body be brought to the US as is being implied. I cannot see why they would bring the body to the US. Where would they bury him (hmm, not at Arlington!). To have an open-coffin stroll by?

    Yike, the Wikipedia page is changing faster than one can process it:
    “ABC News has reported that the body has been identified by DNA testing,[5] however Reuters reports that DNA test results will be available in the next few days and that Bin Laden’s body was identified using facial recognition techniques.[8]”

  • 18
    Johnfromplanetearth
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    How convenient for Obama, now let’s see him take action against Pakistan for harbouring the prick all these years and then onto Syria!

  • 19
    geomac
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    STIOFAN

    Hmmm I,m not sure if I should be flattered or offended.

  • 20
    Guwardi
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I thought the point being made was that this death will not change a thing and you and I both know that that assumption is correct

  • 21
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Bin Laden is NOT dead..believe me.

    His ‘death’ has been staged by the CIA..believe me.

    There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq….believe me.

    Israel is a democracy…believe me.

  • 22
    SusieQ
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Michael R James - just heard that apparently (not confirmed) OBL’s body prepared according to Islamic custom and buried at sea, but its an ongoing story isn’t it, so who knows what will be revealed over coming days.

  • 23
    Elan
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Death or no death. My concern is for the deaths of ALL innocent victims, including the many thousands so smoothly dismissed as collateral damage. I fully expected a couple of comments here, and remain contemptuous of the arrogant belief that American casualties are of greater importance than those who have died as a result of American foreign policy. (There have been ‘others’, but they are of lesser import..

    (Having broken the habit of a techno lifetime and joined the halcyon corridors of paid membership today, I have found that accessing Crikey and any topic, has been only slightly less difficult than if I had given birth to a dinosaur-without anaesthetic! I’ll concede right here and right now that it has done nothing to improve my mood).

    SO-I am broadly in agreement with MS. Some of you sensitive folks might not like the direct approach, but the point is valid.

    I doubt that this demise will change much. I will avoid all news currently so that I do not have to watch the citizens of a country that has terrorised and caused the deaths of so many innocent people crowing over this death.

    And folks?, I soooo look forward to expounding on that, should you wish to have a shot at my ‘rant’ .

    Be good sorts and do it this evening? jugular veins are looking damned appetising to me at the moment.

    Now let’s see if I can actually get a bloody post up..

  • 24
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Excellent post, Bernard K. However, I would be happier if Bin Laden had been proved to be the man responsible for 9/11.

    Eight years is a lot of time to recruit fresh fundamentalist acolytes of Islam. these bitter, and twisted people born with an urge to self-destruction who regard the destruction of other people as icing on the proverbial cake. While Bin Laden will probably become the world’s richest martyr.

  • 25
    andrew36
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    SBH. The plight of women in afganistan, you mean the same afganistan that marilyn thinks we should get out of, the same afganistan that she thinks we should leave to the taliban, the Taliban who give no rights to woman what so ever, and let somehow you believe she cares about the plight of afganistan woman., yeah Right. Marilyn what about all the lives Bush saved, what about all the people that saddam would have slaughtered if he was in power, he was killing 50-100 thousand every year and showed no indication of stopping. Not saying Bush was justified but people like you conviently forget that there was 100,000’s dying over there as it was.

  • 26
    Elan
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    1 minute 12 seconds. Faster than a speeding dog turd.

  • 27
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    ANDREW36: Feeling better?

  • 28
    Elan
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I am having horrendous problems trying to get posts up!

    The above post (time) took 3 minutes to show up. THIS is membership??? That last letter should be a ’ t ’ .

    Andrew 36. I was expecting you. DO NOT attempt to portray Bush as some sort of humanitarian! I figured you people would slither up to the plate! The arrogance is now out of control. I thought it would be.

    Tomorrow I will either be a member…… or revert back -and be able to post! THEN I’ll get into this topic.

  • 29
    the man on the clapham omnibus
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Too early to make these predictions… still hoping it does make at least some difference. So far the dealings post the operation seem fairly measured and if the reports on actions like the handling of the burial are correct will hopefully not inflame sentiment.

    Ideally this would be a good opportunity to communicate with the Islamic world and moderate muslims how many innocent muslims Al-qaeda has massacred during it’s tenure and how Egypt’s revolution is the model to follow.

    Still it makes me wonder if one J Howard will reconsider his quote from 2008 (on Obama’s plan to withdraw troops from Iraq):

    I think he’s wrong. I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory,”
    “If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.”

  • 30
    Dagney_Taggert
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    ANDREW36. How dare you get between a rant and the truth! Bush is teh debil!!! Far worse than, say, Mengistu Haile Mariam.

    As far as Afghanistan is concerned, we should pull out - let them stand or fall on their own. If the Taliban takes over again and reintroduces it’s medieval laws, well, that’s no concern of ours. I’m sure Marilyn and co would be perfectly happy with that.

  • 31
    Bernard Keane
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    MLF I don ‘t begrudge Americans taking pleasure in Bin Laden’s death - as I said, it’s understandable. And frankly, despite my opposition to capital punishment, I’m not overly fussed that he was killed during an attempt to capture him. But I wouldn’t confuse a man’s death with justice. In fact, that he won’t be brought before a judge and given a trial is justice cheated.

  • 32
    Bruce
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Bin Laden was hiding in Abbott-abad. The suffix “abad” means “place” in Persian, hence the many of the place names in the region ind in “abad” (Islamabad, Jalalabad, etc.) This means bin Laden was hiding at Abbott’s place.

    Tony Abbott has a lot to answer for…

  • 33
    fredex
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Nice post Bernard, a wee bit more depth and nuance the the average blather from the pollies and the MSM.

    Shame about all those deaths in two countries isn’t it?

    On the myth that we [whoever] are fighting for the rights of women in Afghanistan, can we put that furphy to sleep please.
    The rights of Afghani women were only invoked by the invaders as a convenient propaganda ploy, it has only ever received lip service as a PR spin to get western support for the invasions.

    This site [there is an English version there] :

    http://www.rawa.org/index.php

    clearly makes 3 points
    1. It is an organisation of women fighting for justice in Afghanistan.
    2.It does not, never has, support foreign invasion as a positive for for Afghani women.
    3.The present regime differs little from the ‘baddies’ [as painted by western spin] and the invasion does not help women.

  • 34
    fredex
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Why is my comment awaiting moderation?

  • 35
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    FREDEX: I could give you all sorts of help on that topic. Trouble is they wouldn’t print it. (I speak as one constantly moderated).

  • 36
    John64
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Changes nothing? No, it changes everything. One of the constant criticisms about US presence in Afghanistan was that “they were there for Bin Laden, so why don’t we have him yet?”. Now that’s done, Obama can actually proceed with the withdrawal as planned - without having to worry about the hard-heads coming after him and laying the charge that he couldn’t find Osama.

    It also sends a very clear and loud message: America /always/ get their man. It doesn’t matter what country you’re hiding in or who’s supporting you, America will get you if they want you. It won’t stop the extremists but hopefully it will stop some of the perhaps saner ones. It might even make Gadaffi (especially now they got his kid as well) do a re-think - sooner or later, America are gonna get him and you only need to point to Osama (where-as before Osama was the poster boy for hide-and-seek).

    Domestically, it destroys Trump politically. Releasing the birth certificate due to his demands was a risk (giving your opponents what they want elevates your opponents to your level) but doing it first and then coming up with this destroys that story completely. Trump can crow about the certificate as much as he likes, Obama got Osama - and he nails home the “there are more important things to do” message.

    Domestically this ties up a lot of loose ends and Obama very cleverly used it to bury a domestic issue that’d been annoying him for a while. Internationally, it confirms the long known problem that Pakistan has with its domestic terror issues (there’s a small but fundamental difference between believed and confirmed) and potentially moves the war on terror to Pakistan as its new front. All those scary scenarios of terrorists with nukes will now be at the fore-front of American military minds much more so.

    The fact he was captured in a military town is very telling of the issues Pakistan faces. What changes is that now we’re going to have to deal with those issues much more (no doubt there’s already retaliation being planned by terrorists in those areas against the Pakistani Government).

    But regardless, Obama can pull out of Afghanistan with a “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him, close Guantanamo (he has 2 years left to do it - and no doubt will wait until the troops are home) and re-focus on the domestic economy issues - with the caveat that America is now in a much better position to assist those countries that are fighting internally for Democracy. This chapter can finally be closed.

  • 37
    andrew36
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Elan, Were did I say Bush was a humanitarian, in fact I said by no means was the war justified. What I said was that saddam was killing hundred of thousands but people like you and marilyn forget that, well actually you proberly dont forget you just dont care, after all its only arabs killing other arabs so who cares its none of your business. Sorry but I find people who try to pretend they care about people dying but conviently forget that people were dying anyway just touch hypocritical.

  • 38
    MLF
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Cheers Bernard, for taking the time to reply.

    I take your point, but maintain that for the real people who lost lost friends, loved ones, colleagues, who lost their cities to terror then lost their country to endless wars, who live in towns where there are no young men left, who live in a country now regarded with contempt by most of the rest of the world, who were let down by their government, lied to by their government, those real people with real skin in the game, for them this is a justice - natural justice. And its the one thing, the only thing, after all these years.

    OBL and AQ did not live inside our justice system, inside our sense of what is fair and right. There is no court in the land that could have handed down any ruling that would have delivered ‘judicial’ justice in this situation. For a start, OBL would have rejected it outright, and continued to live and die as a martyr. You cannot punish someone who does not acknowledge your authority.

    That’s why all the crowds are going a bit bonkers. I mean think about it, are we really cheering that a man was shot and killed? No, we’re really not. That’s not who (most of us) are.

  • 39
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    MLF: You have it wrong. People in Oz aren’t cheering that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. They’re cheering because America did the killing.

  • 40
    AdamNeira
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Well done to the CIA, the US Special Forces personnel and their allies who carried out this operation. The true story will never be revealed in full, and those involved will have their identities protected for the rest of their lives. The burial at sea was clever as it will prevent a shrine being made for terrorist acolytes to flock to in the future. Justice always catches up with people. We all reap what we sow eventually. Many of the young people celebrating in Times Square and outside the White House right now would have been aged eight to eleven years old when September 11 happened. Their reaction is a statement that they, like all of us, do not want to live in a constant state of fear. There will be an upswing in hatred towards certain groups in the coming days, but some people will hate you no matter what you do. President Obama spoke well as usual. There was not a hint of adolescent triumphalism in his speech. I agree with what he said. G-d bless the USA and Western Civilization !

  • 41
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    The death of the architect of such an historic act of mass slaughter”. These words could equally apply to George Bush Jnr, Tony Blair, John Howard and any of the other war mongerers who have invaded 2 countries that never harmed them or us on the basis of the tragic events of 9/11.

    Indeed-we are yet to be supplied with the slightest bit of proof that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11.

    Anyone thinking a burial at sea will alter anything or make one single iota of difference to how Bin Laden supporters view him are dreaming.

  • 42
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I’d question BK’s analysis of AQ’s influence as well. There are bound to be tears before bedtime for all those ” young Arabs take to the streets across the Middle East to drive their dictators from power ” as they find, as in Egypt that new leader same same old leader although I will be pleased if proven wrong.

    As for the lunatics celebrating outside the White House, they should read “My Government Today Prepared to Do Something for Which We Hanged Germans” by the US Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz at warisacrime.org.

    We’re still a bunch of savages in the end.

  • 43
    Roquefort Muckraker
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Obama is once again cleaning up after Mr. Bush. Financial crisis, recession, Afghanistan, and bin Laden.

  • 44
    sickofitall
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like the triumphalist tone: it is never good to kill someone, even when they have brought it on themselves.

    Al Qaeda is a dead force now.

    I also don’t like the changing stories…. but … we’ll see….

  • 45
    malcolm
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    There is something else that Osama’s death won’t change and that is the conspiracy theories around 9/11. Osama was killed and apparently his body has been disposed of, sorry buried, at sea. He will never be brought to account for what happened. He can neither admit to nor deny having anything to do with violent distruction of the Twin Towers. Conspiracy theories can live on and flourish.

    But there is one good thing that came out of this, it got that wedding off the front pages of the MSM

  • 46
    rebeccasmi
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Andrew36: while not denying Saddam Hussein was a murderous despot, figures murdered under his rule are about 140 00 over 30 years. In the first year of the invasion, hundreds of thousands of a population the size of Australia were killed - ah, but we didn’t count them…. and then when the dogs of war were unleashed, in the years after the invasion typically 3000 ppl a month died in various attacks who wouldn’t have died if not for the US invasion…3000 a month!!! That’s more than double Saddam murdered in 30 yrs, packed into two!!! Be best to read a bit more recent history before making ill-informed posts…

  • 47
    andrew36
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Rebecca there was 100000 kurds killed in 1 attack, while exact totals are hard to get as saddam didnt exactly broadcast the number of people he killed, most estimates by human rights organisations have at least 600,000 to 1 million deaths, which dont includes war deaths and the 500000 who starved to death during sanctions because Saddam kept all the food for himself and the army. The US discovered a number of mass graves which makes these organistaions believe that deaths nmay have been underestimated by 100000 to 300000. So using the lower end of the figures we have a estimated 1.2 million deaths accredited to saddam in his reign not counting the deaths in wars. How many more would he had killed if he was still in power? Also wikileaks showed that the deaths in the war were no were near as many as reported by the left wing media. Still way to many deaths but nothing like the figures you are saying. Maybe you should do some more reading

  • 48
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    While I’m glad OBL is no longer at large, I don’t see his death as a good thing. Certainly if dead or at large were the only options,then his death would be preferable but I’d prefer that he’d been captured and taken to a neutral and secure venue for trial. He was not just a criminal but someone with knowledge of a substantial criminal network.

    Most importantly, a trial would have given some of his victims — prominently Muslims — a chance to confront him before the world and deprive him of at least some of his standing. His death will ensure that useful information about his confederates will remain hidden and he will acquire a martyr status that he ill-deserves.

    It’s not clear yet whether his death was unavoidable — a mere matter of exigency — but it never occurred to me that if he was truly at large and US forces came across him that they would let him live. His information on the period of the US-led resistance to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the origins of Al Qaeda and the role of the ISI would have been most interesting.

  • 49
    SBH
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Those of you who like putting words in peoples mouths need to just roll it back a bit and read whats posted. Andrew, Marylin Shepherd was accused of a rant because she sought to point out the oxymoronic idea that we can bomb people into civilization (my words not hers). That charge was unfair as all she did was point out women continue to suffer. she didn’t ascribe blame she just got flamed for a ‘rant’.

    And Andrew I know of know source that reliably puts the death toll in one attack at 100000 people unless you mean Hiroshima. That seems like a hanson-esque use of figures.

    As for those people who are gloating about the death of another human being or who think the US has a right to go where it likes and kill whom it likes without even the support of even its own laws you should be ashamed to think of yourselves as civilised.

  • 50
    geomac
    Posted Monday, 2 May 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    ANDREW36

    Maybe my browser gets a different wiki site to the one you quote. Your figures are not as reported in Wiki but you have aded a few zeros as well as neglecting to state that the figures vary in estimates by tens of thousands. Then you state Iraq deaths were nowhere near the figures by left wing media. Forget any media and look for the figures by NGOs. Left wing media ? Well name some because I find it hard to unearth any mainstream media that is left wing. Crazy far right I can see in one particular organisation and centre in others. So called current affairs on commercial outlets have nothing but dross and have only one agenda and thats to exploit any situation or false celebrity.

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