If you prick us do we not bleed?
If you tickle us do we not laugh?
If you poison us do we not die?
And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
Wanted. Dear or alive (source)
There’s a little voice in pengovsky’s head going on for the past twenty-four hours about how I should be outraged by the fact the US issued Osama bin Laden a one way ticket for the train to the Big Adios yesterday. Yes, the anti-communist and/or oil-based US foreign policy. Yes, the immeasurable civilian suffering brought upon the rest of the world while America was trying to shape the world according to its own image. Yes, the American-sponsored dictators around the globe and yes, many-an-unjust (or even illegal) war. Yes, bin Laden didn’t come out of nowhere. Depending on your viewpoint, he is either a direct by-product of US post-war foreign policies or at least made very good use of the double standards the US employed around the globe in the past sixty years. And yet, I’ve no quarrel with him being up-close-and-personal with whatever god he believed in.
Dunno. Maybe it was the fact that I was in New York and came to like the place much more than expected. Maybe it was that the audacity of parking two jumbo-jets in a sky-scraper is un-fucking-believable even ten years after the fact. Or maybe it was just my own double standards. At any rate, yesterday’s action was a reminder of the fact that although the US is no longer the indisputable Big Kahuna, it is still one of the very few countries that posses resources, technology and equipment to pull this off. It is also one of the few things in this ill-conceived war on terror (and beyond) that the US actually followed through and finished the job. The fact that it happened under President Barack Obama is a slap-in-the-face not only to his predecessor whose military adventures are a gift that keeps on giving. It also shows that President Obama has cojones, because the last two attempts of this nature by the US military failed spectacularly (Somalia in 1992 and Tehran in 1979).
Now, some argue that it would be better if bin Laden had been taken alive and stood trial. Wrong. This would put him back in the public spotlight, elevating him to hero status yet again. Furthermore, in a trial accusations must be proven beyond the shadow of the doubt. Sure, he claimed responsibility for many attacks (curiously enough, the FBI did not want him for 9/11), but establishing a direct link (a chain of command) between bin Laden and actual civilian deaths might prove to be a tad more difficult than people think. Moreover, establishing their case, the US would probably have to share intelligence with the court and the defence, jeopardising further missions. And if – despite all misgivings – evidence is produced, who is to say that it was not gathered during torture, which would make it null and void. If you’re still not convinced, just remember what a show Slobodan Milošević made during his time at Scheveningen prison. And finally, holding a trial where the verdict is a foregone conclusion would look just bad.
With Osama bin Laden gone, the world is not a safer place. It is also difficult to say that justice has been served. What has happened, however, is that revenge was exacted. With great vengeance and furious anger. And I can’t say I can’t relate.
Question is, will there be hell to pay yet?