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Issue #1501      18 May 2011

Obama’s hollow victory

It was such a seismic event that, like many people of her generation, my mother’s point of reference for most things is the Second World War and while I’m quite sure she and her friends registered their approval over the demise of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, they must be wondering why the America Administration continues to make such a fuss.

Osama was, after all, no Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin or Caligula – he headed no country nor ruled over a state; and in fact the last few years of his life have proven to be extremely reclusive, secluded and isolated.

Yet one week on and we’re being bombarded with dramatic headlines, videotapes and other insignificant, contradictory details of the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

I know a presidential election is around the corner but Obama really does need to get a grip and a sense of proportion here. Journalist Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online, nailed it when he said: “The killing of the head of Al-Qaeda has been treated as if it were a momentous occasion on a par with the Allies’ defeat of Germany and Japan in the Second World War.”

Raining on the US President’s parade he added: “All that really happened in Pakistan is that a small group of American soldiers shot and killed an ageing, sickly man in a mansion, who was the nominal head of a small and increasingly fractured terrorist organisation.”

The reality is the OBL news was a great day for Obama’s election campaign but equally a bad day for international justice.

What the Commander in Chief really did was order the summary execution of an unarmed and frail man whose body was then disposed of by being dumped in the sea, without the legal requirement of a post mortem examination. It was almost as though they were afraid of the corpse.

This actually made the most powerful nation in the world look incredibly weak and cowardly; too afraid to put OBL on trial as was done with Second World War Nazi leader Adolf Otto Eichmann.

On a scale measuring pure evil, OBL was a mere pygmy compared to Eichmann and Hitler’s close circle.

But it was Western governments led by the US that fed, developed and nurtured Osama’s reputation for being the most feared, most wanted and most evil man alive. OBL himself must have been delighted; he couldn’t have done a better job than if he’d hired Hill and Knowlton or Saatchi & Saatchi.

His very name was deliberately used to panic ordinary Americans and so it was hardly surprising that high school kids and frat boys in New York responded with undiluted hysteria and took to the streets on hearing Obama declare he was dead.

The Central Intelligence Agency has been briefing the world’s media non-stop since the Abbottabad fiasco. Instead of remaining in the shadows the CIA team dissecting the intelligence data are singing like canaries on crack.

Well they do say that empty vessels make the loudest noise.

Information Clearing House  

Next article – Poetry – To Miguel Hernandez, murdered in the prisons of Spain

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