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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 Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, they must be wondering why the American administration continues to make such a fuss.
Osama was, after all, no Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, 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 organization.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself, but I’m often accused of being anti-American (totally untrue, by the way) because I say things that sadly Uncle Sam’s best friends won’t. 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.
For those who don’t know or want a reminder, Eichmann was captured, drugged and kidnapped in Argentina by Mossad agents in 1960 after fleeing Germany and living in hiding after the Second World War.
Eichmann was one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, which involved the slaughter of millions of Jewish people, the genocide of the Romani and other minority groups including homosexuals, political dissidents and trade unionists.
The trial caused huge international controversy, as well as an international sensation, but it was broadcast live with few restrictions so the whole world could see justice being done.
Eichmann was hanged on May 31, 1962, at a prison in Ramla before his body was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Mediterranean’s international waters to ensure no country would serve as his final resting place.
Importantly, the trial gave closure for many Holocaust survivors and the world was able to witness justice in action just as it had been in 1945 during the Nuremberg trials for the likes of Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, and Martin Bormann.
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, I guess, 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.
What a missed opportunity.
The Eichmann trial was a victory for justice and most people approved, although the Argentinians, who had their sovereignty breached, were still miffed by the audacious kidnap, drugging, and removal of the war criminal by Mossad.
Anyone who knows me and why work know I loathe the Zionist State and what it stands for, and that includes its intelligence agency Mossad; but give credit where it’s due … there is good reason why Mossad shines above most agencies for its work and that is because its hallmarks, on the whole, are secrecy and discretion (we can revisit the blunders made by Mossad’s assassination squad in Dubai another time).
Similar reputations are enjoyed by the CIA’s nemesis, Pakistan’s ISI, which rarely responds to criticism or comment of its work, as well as Britain’s SIS, China’s feared MSS and Russia’s FSB.
At the other end of the scale is the Central Intelligence Agency, who 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.