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?

33 responses to “Osama bin Laden, Degeneration and Savagery

  1. So if he and his guards shot at the US soldiers first, they were to hold their fire and try to take him alive?

  2. The answer is yes. In America, even the police sometimes manage to arrest people wh fire back.

  3. They probably just switched off the ‘leccy to his dialysis machine and waited for his kidneys to fail, then sneaked in and shot him twice in the head to make sure.

  4. I feel a similar sense of disquiet. Or disgust. Some negative emotion anyway. There’s something particularly squalid about the dumping at sea.

    And yes, all those people cheering do deserve the government they have. I’ve never thought otherwise. The majority of the British deserve the government we have, too. I am just sick to fucking death of having to share it with them.

  5. A lot of mugs seem to be buying this story without (so far) any evidence. If they had killed him they would not have disposed of their only evidence with such obscene haste. Os has not been murdered because it very likely was not Os. Prob the murder of some handy chump. Sean’s points still stand however and catching Os alive “to be painted upon a pole etc” would have been a propaganda coup worth risking lives for.
    Still amused by the comment on Guido’s blog about Elton John rushing out a record called “Sandals in the bin” tho’.

  6. Not that I agree with the action to kill bin-Laden but, this was on the cards since those planes hit 10 years ago, if ever he was found to be still alive. Sean talks about arrest but how would that work.
    The U.S. has no jurisdiction to act in Pakistan and I don’t believe they have extradition treaty. So that would mean Pakistan would have to arrest him and hand him over to the U.S. illegally
    The potential consequences to Pakistan, already a fractured society due to Taliban activity, could be devastating-no Pakistani leader was ever going to even admit that bin-laden was there, let alone hand him over-not without going into witness protection anyhow. Even if the obstacles to handing him over were overcome, what then.? Where would he be tried, and how.? Who would have jurisdiction?
    Where would he be kept, Quantanamo? The security alert has been raised a notch now he is dead, kept alive and locked up waiting for a show trial would, I believe , raise it to an indefinite danger level.
    So the alternative, leave him be and let him keep sending his little videos, reminding America that the man behind 9/11 was still alive and kicking, well, it just wasn’t going to happen.

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  8. That is the difference between a war and a police arrest – fighting and guns shooting all around, the knowledge that hostility and confrontation is the norm of the day, high stress and alert levels, on both sides. Though a police arrest can consist of those things when guns are involved, in the USA especially, when criminals start running and shooting and ignoring halt or I’ll shoot instruction then guns tend to go off. I would imagine the troops involved did not sneak up quietly unnoticed by an unsuspecting Bin Laden and his protectors? The dumping of the body at sea is the odd thing in all this. I will have to read more.

  9. Elizabeth Pearce

    You say “this is not how civilised governments behave.” What, exactly, is your proposed alternative? It’s a little hard to be civilised when you’re dealing with a man who once claimed, “There is no dialogue except with weapons.” Yes, an arrest and a trial would have been ideal, but the assertion that the Navy Seals should not have shot him when he resisted is laughable and, quite frankly, irrational. Also, equating the actions of the U.S. that night to the terrorism of Al-Qaeda is absurd. Al-Qaeda, under the direct command of Osama, specifically (and proudly) targeted innocent civilians for years. No one on the planet (except maybe members of Al-Qaeda) would call Osama innocent. I’d really like to know how the death of a terror mastermind compares to the intentional deaths of thousands of innocent people around the world.

    The U.S. isn’t perfect, to say the least. But please try to put your preconceived notions aside and see this situation for what it is: the death of an evil man, carried out in arguably the most efficient way possible. Osama’s death, combined with the recent uprisings in the Middle East, presents at least a little bit of hope for a region dominated by long-time strife. The threat of terrorism is by no means eradicated, but the life of its mastermind and ideological leader is, and that is something to be happy about.

    P.S. Off the record, any man who uses his wife as a human shield doesn’t deserve to be spared.

  10. There’s no such thing as a “civilized government”.

    Nay, indeed, have we not seen that government is essentially immoral? Is it not the offspring of evil, bearing about it all the marks of its parentage? Does it not exist because crime exists? Is it not strong, or as we say, despotic, when crime is great? Is there not more liberty, that is, less government, as crime diminishes? And must not government cease when crime ceases, for very lack of objects on which to perform its function? Not only does magisterial power exist because of evil; but it exists by evil. Violence is employed to maintain it; and all violence involves criminality.

    — Herbert Spencer, Social Statics

  11. I doubt that very much of what we’ve been told is actually true.

  12. Elizabeth Pearce

    And what are your grounds for thinking that? (“Because the U.S. lies” is not a valid excuse). What about the photos? What about the computers, hard drives and disks they obtained from his compound? There is a hell of a lot more evidence in favor of their “story” than against it, and unless you can demonstrate a legitimate reason for thinking they are lying, your claims are baseless.

  13. Hmm, oh, history really. Spin, lying, what have you. You know. This is a government that even tried to lie about rescuing a girl soldier, to make a Hollywood fairytale, remember.

    Obviously, as I am not in possession of classified information, I cannot prove anything. Nobody could prove in 1939 that Hitler was lying about Poland violating Germany’s border. Sometimes, you just have to go on character.

    There’ll be some truth probably in this mix. But once we start on the heart-rending “wife as human shield” stuff, I think we’re deep into what is known as “making shit up”.

  14. I believe the American President watched this “killing” live on the telly. I rest my case regarding the degeneracy and savagery of America.

  15. I couldn’t help but think today of the story of Alexander the Great and the Pirate.

  16. you people are telling lies.. did you saw anyone killing him.. it had been a long time that you people said you want him dies but it never happend in your life.. you people are not God..

  17. I TOLD you! They sneaked in and switched the ‘leccy off! Dialysis machine went, and he conked!
    ‘Claims that the al-Qaeda leader had died while firing an automatic weapon at commandos were withdrawn, with President Barack Obama’s spokesman admitting “he was unarmed”. ‘ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8491113/Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-White-House-backtracks-on-how-bin-Laden-died.html

  18. So they shot an unarmed man – I think shooting his wife first when she got in the way. Talk about savages!

  19. I find it hard to condemn the lynching of Bin Laden. It is not that I like this act of Ramboism. It is true that it is not an act of greatness. It is also true that it should worry every freedom loving person when governments feel like they can just do as they please, without sticking to laws. But killing Bin Laden is not the best case to show the importance of these principles. There can be no doubt that he was an evil murderer. I appreciate that you have mentioned the many innocent people who are getting killed by our great democratic governments. It is this what really makes me angry the most. Let’s face it, these governments are destroying innocent lives and breaking laws almost on a daily basis. Only few people seem to bother about this anymore. We need to change that or our civilisation will slip more and more into barbarism. But I find it a bit distasteful to start the moral outrage, when they finally really kill a bad guy. The alternative is the Saddam alternative. In Irak they have killed thousands of innocent people. But the really bad guy gets a nice long trial in a fine suit.

  20. I agree, but let’s get real – Bin Laden wasn’t some innocent bystander, he was a terrorist mastermind. He wasn’t some freedom fighter valiantly resisting US hegemony – he was a religious fanatic who would have no doubt welcomed a global sharia state which would have been significantly more unpleasant than anything even Obama could dream up. If he was indeed part of the 9/11 plot as many have claimed, then he was also a mass murderer who deliberately targeted innocent people.

    “So they shot an unarmed man – I think shooting his wife first when she got in the way.”

    I’m sorry, Sean, but he was a dangerous. As should be the case with burglars, they had every right to assume he was armed .

    But whatever. No matter how savage his killers were or weren’t, I certainly won’t be mourning his passing .

  21. Per “EU Referendum” blog
    It seems that US “spokesmen” are now saying the OS was identified by “face recognition technology” applied to a wired photograph. Said tech is very unreliable at best and being applied to a photo of the death face of someone shot through the head is not, by any stretch of the imagination, at best.
    The DNA the US has on record’s is of Os’s sister so the best any DNA test could do is show a family relationship, not provide absolute proof of Bin Laden’s death.
    I quote Dr North from his blog:
    “Well, at least if there are any doubts, the US have custody of the body, so they can repeat the tests. Oh woops! They’ve dumped the body in the Arabian Sea. What a pity. And would anybody like to tell me why the story so far is not a pile of horse manure?”
    Thank you for your kind invitation. It is a pile of horse manure and done in such a fashion that even Walter’s (see “The Big Lebowski movie for the ref) catchphrase “Fuckin Amateurs” does not do the circumstances justice.

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  23. Daisy wrote:

    Sean talks about arrest but how would that work. The U.S. has no jurisdiction to act in Pakistan and I don’t believe they have extradition treaty. So that would mean Pakistan would have to arrest him and hand him over to the U.S. illegally

    In fact, as those of us with good memories will recall, the Taliban government of Afghanistan offered to extradite Bin Laden back in 2001, if the US government provided evidence of his involvement in 9/11. The US refused to do so and invaded Afghanistan instead.

  24. C H Ingoldby

    ”Dr Sean Gabb

    So they shot an unarmed man – I think shooting his wife first when she got in the way. Talk about savages!”

    You seem to forget, civilisation can only survive if savagery is used in its defence.

    People like Bin Laden deserve savage treatment. The violent enemies of the West deserve savage treatment. The survival of the West and its liberal values we care so much about requires the use of savage force. For gentle peace to survive, violence must be used.

  25. While some things have to be taken on people’s word (that OBL was behind 9/11 and other terrorist atrocities) it would have been nice to have this confirmed in open court with evidence presented in such a way that any member of our society could check up on it should they wish to see why he was incarcerated (or, being America, executed.) Alas that was not done.

    Americans had build OBL into some kind of super-villain so it is no wonder that they were celebrating on the streets at his demise, they probably think they’re safe now he’s dead but a little historical checking shows that when you execute the leader of a group some splinter factions become even more dangerous. But no-one can accuse Americans of not knowing their history, can they?

  26. Pingback: Debate We Never Had « American Heathen®

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  28. Reblogged this on The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG and commented:

    Over a year!

  29. There seem to be extraordinary numbers of people who think that OBL was the man behind 9-11. The FBI didn’t have him on their most wanted list for that event. Explanations please? Benazir Bhutto told David Frost, whilst he was interviewing her on air, that bin Laden had recently died, just before her own assassination. Frost completely blanked what she had just said to him. So one wonders if this front page story without a shred of credibility was mainly designed to deflect attention from Barry’s problems with his non-existent US birth certificate, which was just beginning to blow up in the media. Nelson Rockefeller told Aaron Russo months before 9-11 that US forces were going to be looking for people in the caves of Afghanistan in due course, the implication being that the entire story was a fabrication from beginning to end. Which it was, and is. I find it quite astonishing, and ineffably depressing, that so many people think that whatever the circumstances, it was appropriate to kill Tim Osman, the CIA patsy and member of the Bush-bin Laden commercial empire. The implication is that we have to defend our freedom. Sorry? What freedom is this of which you speak? The freedom which exists in anarchy, presumably.
    The main problem with democracy is that it allows legions of people who haven’t the first clue about how this world really operates, to involve themselves in a process which is quite beyond their capacity to understand. Hence its popularity with the global elites.

  30. I think that if my good friend Sean is so sure about the iniquitousness of the modern American State (and who knows? He might be, or he might not) the it will ultimately implode into an inconsequential totalitariaNazi husk in time, like North Korea. I may have to be his Principal-Secretary-of-State-for-War after all then, to prevent him from causing too much unnecessary incovenience ad irritation to us here, by his inflammatory pronouncements (which will be most-unsatisfactorily-received by the US govt) while it goes down!

  31. Oh dear Sean, I do hope I did not upset you!

  32. You should know your hope is not in vain.