Over the past few days the media has been in a frenzy over what they see as the biggest story for years, the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
However, rather than the main discourse being what the true position is with the “war on terror”, or the real threat this poses, we are faced with the discussion of whether we should be able to see photographs of Osama Bin Laden’s head partly blown away and covered in blood and the most liberal of bleeding hearts saying we should have captured him alive.
Now I am no fan of the hypocrisy and Emperialism of US foreign policy, however, there are few in the world who can truly believe that the world is not better off without Osama Bin laden. A previous post here discusses the deaths caused by him and the reaction from the US and others here.
The decision of the Obama administration not to make public the photographs is absolutely the right decision. Those calling for the publication of these are largely members of the press, and conspiracy theorists.
Now the press want to sell copies, and on that basis is not good enough to display the bloody corpse of a mass murderer. In respect of conspiracy theorists, those that do not wish to believe he is dead will continue to do so regardless of the evidence presented. It is a narrative that some people wish to follow nd that it suits their innate beliefs to follow.
The US is learning from past experience (which I wish they would do in other areas of policy!) where in the past assassinations like Che Guevara displayed the body of a martyr that became iconic and a rallying cry for years to come. They would be foolish to make the same mistake again.
In addition, Obama’s own experience must have taught him not to pander to conspiracy theorists when he himself is constantly affected by them. A sizeable section of the US public still (around 11% of the public and 58% of republicans), even now after the publication of his birth certificate, believe he is born outside of the US . Others, around 24% believe he is a Muslim!
Republican politicians are even now trying to make Political capital out of this uncertainty in the public’s mind.
Conspiracy theorists believe what they want to believe and what suits them. There is no doubt that even if video and photographs were released of the assassination, some will not believe it, some will say it is not him, some will not want to believe it and others will use the material for propaganda purposes.
Then we have the armchair liberals who give liberal thinking a bad name. They sit in their armchairs, reading left wing publications, talking only amongst themselves in a self righteous gathering of minds, a bit like the so called debates in the Leftfield tent at Glastonbury, preaching to the converted.
Oh, the troops could have taken him alive they say; oh he should be brought before a court they say; oh it was an illegal assassination they say. They live in a nether world of idealism that does not fit reality.
The US, whether we like it or not is AT WAR with Al Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden was a danger to anyone and any society that did not believe what he believed. He was a rallying cry for murder and mayhem. To kill someone, in a war, who would not hesitate to kill you, is not a crime. Indeed it could be said to be a necessity.
The troops carrying out the operation would have split seconds to make decisions over the success of the mission and for self preservation. No one can criticise them for killing Osama Bin Laden. The armchair liberals should concentrate their energy on liberal issues worth fighting for.
Conspiracy theorists and in this case, armchair liberals are two heads of the same coin, both are removed from reality.