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Osama bin Laden, Degeneration and Savagery
by Sean Gabb
I have just heard about the reported death of Osama bin Laden. I believe the Americans had been watching him for several months in Pakistan. I know that words like arrest and trial seem horribly dated nowadays. Even so, to have arrested the man would at least have allowed the world to know if it was Osama bin Laden who had been found. To have given him a trial would have let us know if he was guilty of the offences alleged against him, and that there was nothing embarrassing about the nature of his dealings with western governments. As it was, a house appears to have been raided, and the main occupant was shot twice through the head. His body was then dumped at sea. We shall never know if this was indeed Osama bin Laden, or about the nature of his guilt.
I might suggest that the American Government has a less than perfect record in telling the truth. When not killing the wrong people entirely, it frequently lies about what they are supposed to have done. I will say instead, though, that this whole operation stinks. Even if there was no doubt regarding identity and guilt, this is not how civilised governments behave. If millions of Americans really are pleased with their government, that merely shows that they deserve the media and political classes they have.
I see no reason, however, for complacency as an Englishman. Our Prime Minister has welcomed this murder. And he and the freakish thing he currently has for his foreign Secretary are currently patting each other on the backs for the murder of one child and three grandchildren of Colonel Gaddafi.
I say again, this is not how civilised governments behave. It has been obvious since the Great War that most “collateral damage” is the deliberate targeting of civilians for the purpose of demoralising an enemy. I do suggest, however, that, while terror bombing involves murder on a much larger scale, the assassination of alleged enemies – or the murder of their relatives when they themselves cannot be reached – marks a further stage in the moral decline of our civilisation. What right have we to complain about terrorism in our own countries when the only difference between this and what our own governments do abroad is the words used to describe it?