Osama bin Laden and Wild West American assassins

Marc Wadsworth

It’s the potent tale of two claimed assassinations. The Libyans: that Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, the young son of their leader, has been killed by a Nato bomb. The Americans: that at last they have eliminated Osama bin Laden (I thought he was either already dead or living among his relatives on a Texas ranch).

If we accept that the first casualty of war is the truth, who are we to believe? Neither the body of Gaddafi nor bin Laden’s has been produced for the public to view, contrary to what happened when the Americans assassinated Che Guevara and Saddam Hussein’ s sons, Uday and Qusay.

Identification and veracity aside, it does not sit well that Western powers which claim the moral high ground in their “war against terror” act like lynch mobs when it suits them. With guns and explosives, they take out their enemies in the rest of the world rather than abide by international law and put them on trial.

Mass murderers Charles Taylor, of Liberia, and Serbia’s Slobadan Milošević were sent to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, that tries leaders accused of war crimes.

But not so Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Should America get its bloody hands on Muammar Gaddafi he too would be killed, like his stepdaughter in 1986, son and three grandchildren, rather than sent to The Netherlands to stand trial. No wonder we, the citizens of the West, are less safe now than we were when our imperialist leaders launched their latest crusade against Muslims leaders they do not control.

Western leaders, from re-election hungry Barack Obama, to his lick spittle opportunists David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi, have been obscenely crowing about the bin Laden killing.

The assassination on the sovereign soil of Pakistan, a foreign country, is a blatant breach of the international rule of law and another example of America "playing God," a right that no nation - not even the world's sole superpower - can arrogate to itself.

Eileen Zott, one of thousands of New Yorkers who lost a family member in the al-Qaeda attack on the city of September 11 2001 that was allegedly masterminded by Osama bin Laden, said news of his death brought little satisfaction for her. She said: "I don't know how I feel about this. I'm a Christian, and killing isn't part of my beliefs. It doesn't bring anyone back."

Far from weakening the resolve to fight of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the supporters of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadaffi, the assassins and their Wild West actions have played into the hands of well-armed opponents who cry: “No justice, no peace.”

Noman Benotman, an associate of bin Laden from 1989 to 2000 and now an analyst for the Quilliam thinktank in London, told The-Latest that "the al-Qaeda ideology is bigger than any one man. The ideology of al-Qaeda is still alive and is still attractive to many people".  

He added: "This is not the end of the al-Qaeda problem.  In particular, bin Laden’s followers will now use his death to attempt to rally more supporters and to portray him as a martyr: bin Laden has always sought to die in battle as a martyr and now he has achieved this."