Monday, May 2, 2011

First thoughts on hearing the bin Laden news this morning

"Justice has been done," Barack Obama said as he reported the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

But Obama is a lawyer. He full well knows justice is for courts of law to dispense.

A major victory in the war on terror all the same. Which he inherited from Bush. But therein lies the problem. Is war here used in the figurative sense as in the (notably unsuccessful) war on drugs?  Or in the literal sense, where the laws of war apply. War in the legal sense can only occur between states. al-Qaeda isn't a state. Terror even less so. You might as well declare war on tanks or on landmines.  Some might say it would be better to declare war on tanks or landmines.

And it’s not actually much of a victory, for as Robert Fisk points out, bin Laden for several years has been no more than a figurehead. So actually it’s a revenge killing.

Still, maybe these are not the thought’s uppermost in Obama’s mind right now. He’ll be happy hearing them chanting “USA! USA!” outside his windows.

One last thought. This burial at sea business. If that bit is true, I trust for America’s sake they gave him a decent Muslim burial, with a recognised imam officiating.

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