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America wrestles its conscience post-bin Laden

Hillary Clinton stood shoulder to shoulder with Kevin Rudd earlier today in Washington, two life-long opponents of the death penalty, praising the extra-judicial killing of an unarmed man.

But it changes everything when it’s a very, very bad unarmed man named Osama bin Laden.

It’s critical that this man, this murderer, was brought to justice,” Rudd declared, adding his appreciation for the Navy SEALS who gunned down the terror leader who claimed responsibility for 9/11 almost 10 years ago.

There was no grave tone or conscience gymnastics to be found the night before as thousands of mostly young Americans gathered in front of the White House to holler and shout “Obama got Osama; USA, USA, USA”.

It started with just a few local students posting pictures of themselves to social media sites and grew into an epic frat party lasting well into the dawn. Capitol police let slide the slabs of beer cans that turned up sometime after 2am.

By dawn it seemed the nation was dealing with a hangover. After the jubilation came solemnity. Too many “what happened” and “what next” questions remained unanswered but some struggled to get past the actions closer to home.

Osama killed thousands of Americans and it’s great that he’s dead, but celebrating is wrong,” a George Washington University law student told me on the streets of DC after ringing her mother to describe the early-morning clean up efforts.

So too it became clear America had spent the last month obsessed over a birth certificate while Obama held five national security meetings and agonised over whether the circumstantial evidence about the Abbottabad compound’s occupant was reliable.

The tick-tock of the situation room shows Obama was no gun-slinging cowboy president. Given odds that were by no means certain, he asked his team for their opinions, rejected the air strike first proposed by military officials, and eventually made a choice that half of America didn’t think him capable of.

White House chief counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan was reluctant to justify the tactics used in the raid when he held court in place of today’s daily briefing.

There was a plan to take bin Laden alive if he surrendered willingly, Brennan confirmed, but didn’t elaborate on how many seconds that plan was given before the target was killed. He also confirmed bin Laden’s youngest wife was the female caught between the SEALs and their target, and ultimately killed. Brennan would not confirm his own hints that bin Laden had deliberately used her as a human shield.

The troubling question of how Pakistan was unaware of bin Laden’s location so near its capital was left hanging like a WMD inspection over Iraq.

No country has captured as many terrorists as Pakistan,” Brennan told the briefing, as if the definition of terrorist was unquestioned. But then he turned the screws with the claim that the US ensured the operation was “respectful” of Pakistan sovereignty, although they told them nothing and had no permission to be there. How the operation could be construed as in keeping with international law is not clear.

It was former vice-president Dick Cheney who first linked the now-proven intelligence to the controversial water-boarding interrogations in a rapid audio-only interview on Fox News: “I assume enhanced interrogation techniques we put in place lead to some information that lead to his capture, but I’m not sure. It’s important to keep in place those policies.”

That torture link was validated, if not exactly confirmed, by administration officials who linked the info to Guantanamo and the WikiLeaks Twitter account, which identified the courier and location in the recently released Guantanamo files.

In a perplexingly rare moment, given the sudden patriotism, all the US networks allowed civil libertarians a crack at the government, asking: “If Bin Laden is dead, can we have our rights back?”

A resounding “no” was heard from both current and previous administration officials to the likelihood of any freedoms being returned. Homeland security officials echoing Obama in saying vigilance must be maintained, and Osama bin Laden was just a single head of the Al Qaeda hydra.

Hillary Clinton could hardly contradict her administration colleagues, as she stood, world weary, next to Rudd and gave one last call for international unity against violence. Presumably she means the violence not originating with American weapons and American policy.

Rudd too, held the line, confirming “without reservation” that the death of bin Laden would have no impact on the timetable, scope or commitment of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan.

102
  • 1
    Stiofan
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Why do you refer to “the extra-judicial killing of an unarmed man”, when the reports indicate that he was armed? Do you have information to the contrary?

    Cue ranting response from Marilyn & Co: “Americans always lie … 9/11 was a Bush family conspiracy… My tinfoil hat hurts …”

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

    Thanks Harley, a more balanced report than most others. One small thing. Can we dispense with the portmanteau ‘extra-judicial’ and revert to the simpler and less obtuse ‘illegal’.

    It is stunning how many people fail to realise that Bin Laden’s death is a defeat for all our rights and freedoms.

    It’s also simply amazing the childishness evident in the celebration of the death of this bogey many as if that will solve our problems.

  • 3
    Peter Feeney
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be if Indonesian commandos invaded Australia and shot down one of their terrorists in an outer suburb of Sydney or Melbourne. Would Kevin and Hillary applaud this as justice or is it only justice if we do it?

  • 4
    Stiofan
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I see that CNN is reporting that he didn’t have a gun, possibly based on more detailed debriefs of the SEALs.

  • 5
    bluegreen
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I see that CNN is reporting that he didn’t have a gun, possibly based on more detailed debriefs of the SEALs.

    Yep, poor helpless unarmed innocent man.

  • 6
    glengyron
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Regarding whether Osama bin Laden was armed CNN says this:

    A senior administration official said later that the woman who died was not bin Laden’s wife and may not have been used as a human shield, as originally reported. Nor did bin Laden have a gun, as earlier reports had indicated, the senior official said.

    Bold added for emphasis.

    Personally it sounds like a reasonable shot to me, given there was a clear an present danger of bombs / booby traps.

    To survive Osama would have needed to unconditionally surrender. He didn’t do that. They shot him. I don’t see the moral quandary.

  • 7
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    If Bin L@den had been taken alive he would’ve been more problematic than when dead. Imagine the consequences if he’d been spirited off to Gitmo.

    However, I am sobered by the jubilant reaction in the USA - for a country which wears its Christianity like a boastful beauty queen’s sash, how can they celebrate murder? From what I recall there used to be a Commandment regarding that…and it didn’t mention exceptions, evil or otherwise.

  • 8
    Johnfromplanetearth
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Unarmed? Then who in the wide world of economic terrorism was shooting back at the Seals for 40 minutes…Mrs Bin Laden? They had to shoot him, he could never be tried! My question is to the Pakistani Government as to how a 3 storey compound built as recently as 2005 with high walls and barbed wire not more than a stone’s throw from a miltary base, can safely house the most wanted man in the world?
    No wonder Obama didn’t let them in on the raid, next stop Pakistan itself!

  • 9
    SBH
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Bluegreen, it would be worth while to adopt a more critical approach. As to Bin Ladens guilt or innocence there is a golden thread in english law. It is the concept that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Bin Laden was never tried. Assertions were made about what he did and how guilty he was but he was never tried and therefore was, according to the system of justice you, I and all Americans live under, innocent.

    I don’t know if he why ‘helpless and harmless’ or armed and dangerous but it troubles me that first reports said he resited and was shot, indicating his resistance was feirce and deadly yet now his resistance seems somewhat less effective and the only weapon was his wife. If he was unarmed, wouldn’t justice, which we all seem to hold so dear, be better served by his capture (albeit ‘extra-judicial) and trial?

    How ever evil Bin Laden was, it should worry everyone that the US feels no need to comply with its own laws and utterly disregards the laws and sovreignty of any nation it can push around. These are hardly the actions of the bulwark of democracy and freedom.

  • 10
    SBH
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    resisted not resited

  • 11
    Richard Brinkman
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7.1) Or so allegedly Christian nations may well say.

    HRB

  • 12
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    SBH,

    Well said. I, too, was struck by the inconsistencies you mentioned about the final cornering of Bin L@den. We’ll never know, the US Administration will manage their version of the truth.

  • 13
    Daniel Twentyman
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    SBH you do know it is war right? There are no rules in war and it is romantic to think otherwise. It is aggressive, horrific, traumatic, repugnant and callous. for gods sake get your head out of the clouds and get some perspective.

  • 14
    Sir Lunchalot
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The US would have never taken him alive.

    The terrorists would have taken hostages in ransom demands right up to his execution.

  • 15
    rossco
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Daneil Twentyman, when was the war declared and who is it between?

  • 16
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    What’s a “terrorist”?

  • 17
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    One man could have had such an impact on another country, that powerful - his death is such a victory.

  • 18
    SBH
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    What war, Daniel? the US isn’t at war with Pakistan. And who says there are no rules in war? By that logic we can use torture as the mood takes us, gas, atomic bombs, murder jews, rape at will, target civilians, hospital ships, nurses because we are at war? I don’t know many of your fellow citizens would agree with you.

    No, even in war law applies, that’s why we try people for war crimes.

  • 19
    JonoMatt
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    SBH, following a judicial line, seeking his extradition and complying with international law in regards to Pakistan would have meant his certain escape.

    And if you don’t want to be summarily killed by US special forces then it might be a good idea not to distriubute videos claiming responsibility for the worst act of terrorism on US soil, and urging your followers to commit further atrocities.

    Good riddance.

  • 20
    SBH
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jonomatt for that guidance, I’ll have to rely on your advice as I lack clairvoyance

  • 21
    SBH
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    ah well I await the moderator’s discretion

  • 22
    Jim Reiher
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    his youngest wife? How many did he have? (Not that that is all that important in the midst of other more pressing points.)

    I liked the message that came out of the Vatican today: it said that while it might be good that someone who does great evil is no longer with us, we should never rejoice in the violent death of any person, no matter how evil they are.

    That sounds more like a Christian message than that being sent to the world by the bulk of USA Christians revelling in the streets over the news of Osama’s murder!

    Revenge and delight in violence is a pretty base emotion in the end. Not the way of the ones we admire the most: Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mandela, Mother Theresa, Francis of Assisi, the Dali Lama….

  • 23
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    One can speculate that if it is possible to surround and thus isolate a compound, then it must surely be possible to attack the water supply with some narcotic agent — causing drowsiness in those dependent on the water. Perhaps one might have attacked the compound with tear gas, putting the defenders at a serious disadvantage. If one were really keen to take them alive, this must surely have been possible. Even if it hadn’t worked, the areas was cordoned off, and Plan A would still have been an option.

    One suspects that the US had every reason to deny him an opportunity to say where the bodies were metaphorically as well as literally buried. That would have been embarrassing and not nearly as existentially satisfying for the hometown jingoes.

    It’s doubtful that the US will furnish the information required to evaluate the matter with confidence. Perhaps they had no good alternative, but one strongly suspects that whether they did or not was moot.

    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 are 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.

  • 24
    Richard Wilson
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Hey are Kevin Rudd and Hillary Clinton brother and sister?
    And isn’t this the ninth time Bin Laden has been killed now? I’ve lost count.

  • 25
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s just a bigger mystery than ever.

    Is it really credible that Osama with a $25M price on his head could have lived for so long in a reasonably civilised city without -as we keep hearing that the Pakistanis must ha known-someone not dobbing him in for the prize ?

    And is that what really happened rather than this very dubious link to Gitmo as if to justify Gitmo-as that creepy Cheney is now trying to do.

    And after 9’11-imagine if the entire US and allied forces were simply set to rooting out Osama rather than destroying 2 countries.

    How amazing that the Democrats have pulled off the almighty PR coup against their rival republicans-sucked them into a birth certificate charade and then dropped this on us.

    Madison Avenue at it’s best.

  • 26
    GlenTurner1
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    There was a 30 minute gunfight in Bin Laden’s house. At any time during that Bin Laden could have ordered his troops to surrender. Focussing on the last 3 seconds of that 30 minutes seems to me to be missing the wood for the trees.

  • 27
    Sir Lunchalot
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The US wanted him alive and or intact. No evidence of RPG’s, frag or stun grenades in the bedroom.

  • 28
    arty
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I am sure that there is no truth in the rumour that the BBC demanded the SEALS delay the attack for one week.

    I am not aware the the victim or his followers had signed the Geneva Convention.

    It was always clear that the USA had no plan to put Osama bin Laden on trial.

    I agree with Sir Lunchalot that the consequences of putting him on trial would have been dire.

    Maybe a clean shot was the kinder choice.

  • 29
    Elan
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    America wrestles its conscience post bin Laden”

    You reckon?

  • 30
    morallyambiguous
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    a worthwhile question absolutely, although it’s quite difficult to ascertain morality without further insight into the exact unfolding of events. i think it’s fair to say that the USA put a rather weighty emphasis on the wellbeing of its soldiers, perhaps at bin Laden’s detriment as far as being captured rather than killed. that said, it is interesting to consider whether a person can be evil enough to transcend traditional rules (Hitler? bin Laden?). i’ll leave that to others more philosophically versed than myself. similarly with regards to the validity of celebrating in the death of such an individual. suffice it to say, i was quite happy to see an end of the evil actions perpetrated by this rather evil person against the US, and hopeful that this alongside the revolutions in the middle east will signal a shift in the culture and more peace down the line.

    that’s all folks.

  • 31
    michael crook
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Still not getting to the main question guys. Osama presumably planned and carried out the execution of 3000 innocent civilians. In response the US invaded a country that had nothing to do with the aforementioned act, such invasion resulting in the deaths of 1 million civilians, mainly by that same US and its allies. Who exactly are the terrorists here? Further, why did Osama do what he did? A lot of people have very very good reason to hate the US.

  • 32
    JonoMatt
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    SBH, considering he was living with impunity in the midst of a swanky suburb full of retired generals and intelligence operatives, predicting his going to ground and disappearing in the event of a formal legal request for his extradition to the Pakistan government hardly requires the need for a clairvoyant does it?

  • 33
    CliffG
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    No one in their right mind would have it any other way. This man was pure evil. Just go back and have a look at the movie shots of the collapse of the Twin Towers. His death was pure justice. “There is a time to hate”. This was one of them.

  • 34
    nicolino
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I am waiting for Osama to resurface elsewhere and taunt the Americans.
    Seems they were in a great rush to get him to sea and out of sight by burying him (in water).

  • 35
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    But after being water boarded 183 times it was decided that KSM was the mastermind and Bin Laden just a humble nobody.

    Has that been forgotten.

  • 36
    Paul
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean we can kill the person who ordered the death of tens of 1000s of people in Falluja? oh that was Bush. Well can we shoot the person who ordered 100s of thousands of deaths in SE Asia in a country that was non aligned? Oh that was Kissinger. What about the person who ordered the fire-bombing of Dresden, well he is already dead. What about the hundreds who died from an unwarranted cruise missile attack in Kenya? Well that was Clinton. What about the person who approved spent uranium armaments to be used in Iraq, slaughtering soldiers who were retreating or trying to surrender? That was Bush senior. How about the UK US governments saying officially that the deaths of 100,000 plus children was a small price to pay in controlling Saddam Hussein? And the list goes on.
    “We killed them because they were fighting us just because we invaded them”. And in Libya we are doing it all over again.
    But then there are Bahrain and Yemen, well they are OK because they do our torturing for us now that Egypt and Libya doesn’t.
    The hypocrisy of war mongers is staggering. Interesting when an argument is presented that we should obey the law that the cry is “only the laws I like and if I don’t like them I will ignore them”.
    What a merry society they want.

  • 37
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, a lot of this “rightness” does seem to revolve around “who is killing who”, doesn’t it - and a little bit of “why”?

  • 38
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I liked the message that came out of the Vatican today: it said that while it might be good that someone who does great evil is no longer with us, we should never rejoice in the violent death of any person, no matter how evil they are.

    Jim, amen to that.

    As predicted in the first 5 seconds after hearing the news, the Crikey True Believers are out in force.

    As stated yesterday, the reason for the US excessive celebration (and also as predicted, the early and sombre hangover) was not so much that a man had been killed but that there was a sense of justice served, not only for 911 but also for Yemen, WTC1, Bali, 7/7 etc. If you haven’t experienced it you don’t know and it is not appropriate for you to judge others for their instinctual - albeit distasteful - reaction.

    I’ll get in early and say no, it does not make the Iraq war right. Repeat, Iraq = illegal. Bush = bad etc. Phew.

    For all you FP2100 True Believers, I do hope the US returns to its state of isolationism. With 100% of my heart I hope they say bugger you lot, we’re keeping ourselves to ourselves. Remove all the troops, warring and peacekeeping, and send em back to the Alamo, that’s what i say. And then just hope and wait and pray with our fingers crossed that everyone does magically become happy and loving and tolerant to each other. Surely the only thing standing in the way of a peaceful and loving world is America, right? Right.

    p.s. Michael Crook, there are laws against what you are implying. I’m just saying…

  • 39
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh and its also a bit off, seeing as we’ve only just had ANZAC day, that some of you deem to pontificate about what occurs in war. If you want to tell me that every single person killed by an Australian soldier during WWI & II was armed, I will tell you to go and check your history books.

    By all means our soldiers should be held accountable for poor conduct, but unless you are willing to strap on a faulty machine gun and head out into a zone where people are trying to blow you up day in and day out, may I suggest you show some respect and stop talking out of your arse.

  • 40
    almightynassar
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Far out, all this extreme left-wing bullshit…. we, as a society, believe in innocence-until-proven-guilty. We as a society believe that murder of another law-abiding civilian is wrong. We as a society believe in free-speech and democracy and the equality of every person.

    Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists do not believe in our society. They scoff at our laws and values. And they actively try to deny us what we believe are our rights through acts of terrorism. I say what we **BELIEVE** are our rights because without the protection that society offers us at large they are just that; beliefs.

    In the REAL world there are no universal metaphysical law of ‘innocence-before-proven-guilty”. Just because we in the West believe in it does not mean everyone else in the world will. In the REAL world there is no cosmic enforcer of right and wrong; without social constructs of justice any man can have what he is strong enough to take. And this is what the terrorist believe; that they are strong enough to enforce their will, their way on the people through whatever means possible.

    Yes, the invasion into Iraq was done for the wrong reasons. The invasion into Afghanistan had the unnecessary use of weapons with large AOE to kill a small number enemy units (with civilian casualties). Information gathered through torture should always be considered unreliable and wrong. A lot of bad things were done and we should feel guilty for them. But I will never be told by an armchair, left-wing analyst that I should feel any sympathy or guilt for the treatment given to someone who went to war to deny me or anyone else their freedom.

    tl;dr… that the terrorists do not subscribe to our sense of justice (and would not administer our justice to us if we were subject to their power) and set about to deny us this justice. Hence, the terrorists should not expect that our justice should apply to them (which we did anyway when we gave Osama a chance to surrender, so I am still perplexed what the left-wingers are whinging about).

  • 41
    no_party_preferred
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    The last thing the commander said to the seals before they departed on the mission… “By the way boys, he was killed in the course of the arrest, ok”

  • 42
    michael crook
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    mmmm, AlmightyNassar, as a strong proponent of extreme left wing bullshit, I suggest from my armchair that you do as I did and go and visit a few US ghettoes, look at the way their own people live and then give me your spiel about “our laws and our values” and “justice”.

  • 43
    Barry 09
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t the Bin Laden Family lend the Bush Family money years ago to finance their 1st Oil well ???

  • 44
    almightynassar
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    @Michael Crook, I do agree that what we have is not perfect (and probably never will be) and that as individuals we should strive to better our society. We should all have healthy skepticism of our government. We should stand up for our rights when the government pretends that it is bigger than society and denies them to us. We are provided an environment where we are not executed for voicing dissenting opinion, and we should utilize that right. We need institutions like Wiki Leaks to keep the bastards honest.

    Yes, we can find the disadvantaged everywhere. Some people are unfairly treated even in our own countries, denied justice by our own legal systems. The difference with the West is that our institutions are beholden to the people. We can vote the bastards out and put in people who are willing to change the system for the better.

    Al-Qaeda were against this and want to implement sharia law, but instead of civil discourse they chose to fly planes into skyscrapers. I don’t mind you having a different idea of society, what I do mind is when you are trying to force me to your viewpoint through fear and repression. Let’s talk it out, not try to blow me up. And when you declare war and are given a chance to surrender, don’t expect me to feel guilty when your body is shot up when you refuse….

  • 45
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Dang Barry! You’re right!! That must mean that this:

    2975 - those killed on 9/11

    17 & 39 - those killed and injured by the USS Cole bombing in 2000

    219 - those killed in the US embassy bombing, Kenya in 1998

    12 - those killed in Dar es Salaam 12 minutes later

    1 - journalist, Daniel Pearl, beheaded in 2002

    6 - those killed in WTC1 in 1993

    61 - those killed at the British Consulate in Instanbul, 2003

    19 - those servicemen killed in Saudi in 1996

    202 - those killed in Bali in 2002

    11 - those killed in Mombassa in 2002

    1 - engineer, Paul Johnson, beheaded in 2004

    155 - those killed by a double-suicide bomb in Baghdad in 2009

    2000 - the capacity of London club, Ministry of Sound, which was targeted for bombing attacks in 2004

    3521 - days since at least 200 people jumped from the 110th floor of the WTC, away from a firestorm and to their deaths.

    didn’t happen! Genius!!

  • 46
    Iskandar
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    What further proof is needed that the US of A has reached the pits of depravity and moral decay than this latest act of military violence and its immediate aftermath? The footage has now been seen around the world of so-called American youth howling like a pack of baboons on heat whilst celebrating murder by belching, leering and sucking on tubes of Bud. Yes, murder; what else can you call the act of breaking in on a man asleep with his wife and shooting them both dead in a spray of high-power machine gun fire?

    And then the spectacle of the most discredited collection of recent political scoundrels, Bush, Cheney, Blair, and a certain unctuous, slimey rodent formerly PM of this country, gloating over this latest bloodfest as if they weren’t soaked in blood to their nostrils already. Add to this the current PM and foreign minister, once members of a party of progress, now collaborating, and confirming that it has become just Another Liberal Party. And further add to this the hysterical sensationalistic shrieking of the media, then sadly, western culture as a whole has fallen into disgrace.

    Now, Bin Laden, if it was indeed he, no doubt lived in expectation of such an ending. He was no angel, but had an agenda that was easy to understand. He was first and foremost an Arab nationalist who was enraged by the presence of foreign armies on the soil of his homelands, particularly when it is no secret that those armies are there only to support the exploitation of the oil reserves of those homelands. He sacrificed his personal wealth and ultimately his life in support of actions to drive those armies out. Does this make him a terrorist? To his opponents of course, yes. But as they say, one mans terrorist is another mans freedom-fighter, as was Bin Laden so regarded as long as his targets were the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan. When the Anglo-Americans became the invaders, he in turn targeted them, and in this context 9/11 and other attacks against the west are just reflections of the west’s militarism in the Middle East.

    Sadly, I no longer believe that our political and cultural leadership possesses any wisdom, or has any intention of breaking the cycle of violence. Militarism and celebration of blood, death and destruction is so entrenched as holy, that I fear a bloodfest, in the second decade of the 21st century as in the 2nd decade of the 20th, is about to begin. I hope I am wrong.

  • 47
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Waaaaiiiit a minute. So, OBL was justified in waging war against the US and killing innocent civilians - but the US were not justified in killing him? Am I reading you correctly?

    Can I suggest also that next time you do your pro-OBL/AQ speech you don’t forget to mention the stated desire to create a single Islamic state ruled by Sharia Law? The same Sharia Law that dictates stoning, flogging, hanging, and the cutting off of hands and feet.

  • 48
    Barry 09
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    MLF ?? A bit full of your self. Just saying.

  • 49
    MLF
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Touche.

  • 50
    Barry 09
    Posted Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    With over 30 Super bases in afghanastani , it don’t look like they are leaving without the oil and gas and minerals . The USA need to get out before they send themselves broke, or more broke than they are now , bumping the 13 - 14 - 15 Trillion dollar ceiling . Soon the Mexicans will be the Wall builders. All thanks to Bush and Co. Will Tony turn the boats around from good old usa ?

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