So Where’s The Photo?

May 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Why all this fuss about the need to see the photo of the body of Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by US Special Forces on 1st May? Have people not heard of Photoshop? I could knock up a picture of Bin Laden with a bullet hole in his head in less than five minutes, should I really be so inclined. But, who would that convince? I am sure that any photograph “manipulated” by the US Government would be a lot more convincing than mine – after all they have persuaded millions that they actually landed men on the moon with a relatively unconvincing video…… But surely, the “non-believers” would still not be persuaded by any photographic evidence, irrespective of the complexity.

He dead. Get over it. Move on. And, concentrate on building bridges between the world of Islam and the West…….

Of course, the misleading accounts of the Navy Seal raid on the compound in Obbottabad, Pakistan – the wife used as a human shield v the wife shot in the leg while defending her husband; shot for resisting arrest v unarmed and defenceless – together with the lack of a physical body so “conveniently” buried at sea after extracting DNA proof up to a degree of 99% accuracy, have resulted in a wealth of conspiracy theories.

One thing I do know is that, if I was a Navy Seal on this mission, and Osama Bin Laden stood before me, I would be tempted to blow his head off, just for the things he has been “accused” of doing. And, if I were a Navy Seal on this mission, and Osama Bin Laden stood before me, dressed, I would be worried about the possibility of him wearing a suicide bomb vest, and, I would have shot him in the head. And, even if it was an Obama-sanctioned assassination and shoot-to-kill mission, so what? He deserved it. For sure, I am certain that the US Administration would have had little appetite for a prolonged trial of Bin Laden during which he could have show-boated and used the event as an attack on the West and a recruitment drive for more terrorists to join the Al Qaeda cause.

I do, however, believe that the US could have been smarter about how it evidenced the gathering of proof of Bin Laden’s demise. We could see witness accounts. We could have had the DNA independently verified by the UN. We could have had the body witnessed by an independent – after all virtually every Western journalist of any note claims to have met the man……

But some of the conspiracy theories are truly bonkers:

  • He died years back and Barack Obama has faked the event and timing to boost his re-election campaign
  • He died years back and Obama has faked the event to justify pulling troops out of Afghanistan
  • Bin Laden never existed and was invented by the US as an excuse for waging war on fundamentalist Islam
  • The CIA blew up the twin towers as an excuse for waging war on fundamentalist Islam
  • Mossad blew up the twin towers in order to drag America into a war against fundamentalist Islam
  • And, most incredible of all, he isn’t dead

If he were still alive, I am quite sure that we would have heard from him by now! Indeed, I am more surprised that Al Qaeda haven’t attempted to fake a message from the former head honcho, claiming that he was still alive……maybe they are still splicing those video and audio tapes together……

But, I think that all of these theories; all of these questions about the legality of the killing; all of these calls for evidence are an unnecessary distraction.

I would encourage all Americans to calm any inflammatory self-congratulations and talk of revenge, etc. and to think back to the reasons why Al Qaeda and OBL were spawned in the first place. This is a time for taking the moral high ground; for being the bigger person; and, for seeking the opportunity to seek out more moderate voices in the Muslim world and trying to build a safer and more peaceful world.

No doubt, however, that terrorist reprisals are inevitable. I would encourage all to be extra vigilant. I would encourage any reaction to such an event to be thoughtful and proportionate. I think the US did a good job here. I hope that the opportunity to move on and forward is not wasted.

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