Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Death of Osama bin Laden: The Closing of a Chapter?

If the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US special forces this weekend was surprising, the media's reaction was morbidly predictable. With all major newspapers and television stations repeating the mantra that this could be 'the end of a chapter' and that 'justice has been done', coupled with the scenes of jubilant crowds chanting triumphantly outside the White House and elsewhere, you could be forgiven for thinking that America had just overthrown a modern day Hitler and not simply spent huge amounts of resources on tracking down one man.

The fact of the matter is that this is not the end of a chapter but just another sign that the US is continuing the violent imperialism it has always engaged in. Obama is being praised from most corners for this - even the 'liberal' media hasn't criticised this unilateral US action, only questioned how much the Pakistani state knew - but therein lies the danger: Obama has always played the dove while acting the hawk.

One of Obama's first acts as president was to order the bombing of villages in Afghanistan, and throughout his premiership he has not only followed in the footsteps of the Bush administration, continuing its brazen disregard for Pakistani sovereignty (which has no doubt added to its difficulties in the middle east rather than alleviated them), he has in fact escalated the number of drone attacks across the region and overseen large troop increases in Afghanistan (to little avail).

All this contradicts the image we are asked to accept of Obama - the reasonable, intelligent centre-leftist who was simply a victim of circumstance in the problems he inherited from the previous right-wing government. While very few will weep over the death of bin Laden, he was after all responsible for heinous crimes, the acts of celebrating and glorying in any killing are deeply divisive and counter-productive. Another killing, no matter who the target was, will not mark the end of a chapter, but be just another grubby footnote in the continuing saga of US imperialism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Sun says "Osama used wife as human shield" as if it's a massive revelation that a male Muslim fundamentalist might place his importance over that of his wife...

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