Osama Bin Who?

I don’t buy into conspiracy theories no matter how much I enjoy them. However, the question of whether Osama Bin Laden is genuinely dead or the manner of his death has prompted me to write this, my one and only post on the subject.

It seems the most pressing and most widely asked question is one of proof. There are good arguments both for and against releasing photographic evidence that OBL is dead. I don’t usually sit on the fence but this time I really don’t know what I would prefer to see happen.

Would evidence make any difference? The US government is basing its decision not to release photos on the fact that it could prompt a wave of violence, an image that could be used by terrorists & anti-American groups to rally supporters. Oh, and the images are said to be particularly gruesome, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Propaganda – a tool anyone can use.

When we use the word “propaganda” it describes a type of communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community for a cause, more importantly it is something we think the bad guys use to make claims about their enemy and prompt unrest and negativity. That’s not entirely accurate. Propaganda is a tool anyone can employ to persuade others that their argument is the right one, therefore who is to say which community is bad and which is good? Isn’t that simply based on your point of view?

It stands to reason that any image of OBL could be used for propaganda purposes, regardless of whether he alive or dead.If his supporters want to lash out at their idols demise then any image can be used to hide behind.  Like so many have already said in forums all over the internet, footage of Sadam Hussein’s execution was rapidly posted online without pause to consider the possible ramifications.

The natural argument against that is the US didn’t have any control over how that footage was leaked. But then isn’t this simply about control? Who controls what we see and hear and ultimately what we believe? That question leads to the subject of power. I’m not going to debate the issue of how any government needs to constantly prove its power, there are plenty of theories about mass media being controlled and how the general population are nothing but sheep waiting for the next command. But hey, isn’t it possible the US, and in particular Barack Obama, needed this win in order to pull voters in for the next election?

Quest for ratings.

It strikes me as odd that I keep seeing official spokes people on the TV saying stuff like: “We’re still working through all the intel and we’re trying to release information as and when we can.” That seems more like a stalling technique than a reason. Or perhaps it’s because the longer this is drawn out the more people will keep watching and waiting for another sound-bite. Every time the President makes a speech a few more people will stand in front of a camera and eagerly pledge their vote for him. Take this through to a possible conclusion and you may see those all important dead OBL photos make an appearance just when the President needs another boost to his ratings.

As it has already been reported, Barack Obama has been receiving some unwanted attention recently. And then there’s the issue of the next elections for President. I was never a fan of George “Dubya” Bush, he seemed to vacant and appeared dumb at best, but I like Barack, he has an element of sincerity about him. But like all Presidents he wants another term in office and a sudden positive story could serve to reconnect him with the American people and give his ratings a nudge in the right direction.

Holes in the story.

It appears that many people are dubious with the entire event. If indeed OBL was killed then maybe that isn’t such a bad thing, the American people get a sense of closure, al-Qaeda lose an important symbol and we can all rest easy that the trillions spent on war over the last 10 years has been well justified. Although aren’t we supposed to believe in the “innocent until proven guilty” thing? Aren’t we supposed to put people on trial and present solid evidence as we hold them accountable for their crimes?

The fact that US forces invaded another country, shot and killed people, took possession of a body then buried it at sea within hours of capture, seems a bit…hasty? The man they’ve been trying to find for so long was killed because he resisted arrest? First he was armed and used a woman as a shield, then it turns out he was unarmed. Either way it seems like overkill to me.

There are prison officers and psychiatric nurses trained to take down violent people. It’s not hard to assume that US Special Forces personal have abilities that surpass those, so why was he not taken alive? The information OBL could have given the authorities that may assist in breaking down more terrorist groups, thus saving lives, vastly outweighs the need to shoot him on sight.

I suspect someone secretly made those involved aware they were not on a capture or kill mission at all, that given the chance OBL should be shot and killed without question or hesitation. Again, like so many theories, this one isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, is it?

Burial at sea…

Dumping OBL’s body at see so quickly also doesn’t seem to ring true. Okay, so there’s the “don’t stoop to their level” ethos where his body was treated with dignity. I can understand that. But considering the fact that the US and UN butcher countless people every year without holding up every fire fight to get the details of the burial correct, why was OBL treated so differently? Why make that statement at all? There is a reason why that bit of information was let out so very quickly. I don’t know why exactly.

Surely the important part, the one people should focus on, is the fact that OBL is dead, not what they did with his body. That’s a detail for later, not slotted neatly amongst the other quickly released facts. So what do the conspiracy theorists make of that? Was he buried at sea? Is he still in some secret detention centre? Maybe he wasn’t killed in Abbottabad at all but in an attack on a compound somewhere in Afghanistan some years previously? Or had he died due to ill-health?

Legitimacy.

I can only base my thoughts on what I see in the news and what I can research online. I heard that the US have a clause in their defence mandate or anti-terrorist rules or whatever, that allows them to cross over the border of another country and conduct military operations without the consent of said countries government.

Am I the only one who has a problem with that?

The US stated they didn’t involve Pakistan with their raid on OBL’s compound as it may have jeopardised the mission.

In unusually frank remarks, Mr Panetta told Time magazine: “It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission. They might alert the targets.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13287977

I don’t like the idea that any country can change the rules just to suit their own agenda. It’s like watching children playing a game where one kid decides he has super powers or other ability that makes him invulnerable to losing, thus granting him the power to do what he wants. When I was at school no one liked playing with that kid. It makes me uneasy knowing that the US has this kind of power and the desire to use it.

How is it fair, morally, legally, ethically etc for any country to enter another country without permission and then kill people? In short, it’s not. The all-powerful West assumed that their fright for freedom is the right one, therefore they can do what they please to get what they want. Isn’t that the same as Iraq invading Kuwait, albeit on a much smaller scale? Isn’t that the same as any country, group, organisation, gang etc who enter another country for illicit reasons?

Apparently not. It seems the US can do just what it wants and no one ever questions them, or if they do they are considered unpatriotic. How can they justify this event in the interests of national security? OBL’s compound didn’t have phones or internet access, he relied on couriers for his information, assuming of course that he actually responded and was issuing orders at all.

But Mr Holder said Bin Laden was a lawful military target, whose killing was “an act of national self-defence”.

He told lawmakers in Congress: “Let me make something very clear: The operation in which Osama Bin Laden was killed was lawful.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13287977

Killing is lawful now. So because the US have the death penalty it’s fine and dandy for them to impose that law on the rest of the world. That feels wrong to me. OBL was reported to be responsible for the deaths of many people but that doesn’t mean anyone is free to kill him on sight. History has an entire cast of bad guys responsible for the deaths of immeasurably more people, and we see them paraded before a court and put through trial, so why should this be any different? One word – revenge.

Who are the good guys?

Mankind has been waging war against one another since the dawn of time. In modern times we see this more clearly as one country attacks another. In my opinion it is becoming increasingly hard to understand who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Terrorists kill people for their cause but so do the so-called educated and upstanding countries of the world. If I could ask an analyst to give me the number of people killed by terrorists or rogue states and compare them to those killed by the US or UN, I suspect there would be a seriously big difference.

Everyone assumes they’re in the right because of their conditioning from birth, okay, so people like Hitler were nut cases, but take Iran for example. I don’t know the exact details so I’m only going by what I hear and see, but I remember seeing a report where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that any attack on his country would be met with severe repercussions. You know what? I don’t blame him.

If I had my own country and someone threatened me, I’d be a bit pissed off too. Everyone else has nuclear weapons, I’m a bit worried about that, I feel a bit weak here, I’ll make some of my own in case I need to protect myself. I understand the issue isn’t as straight forward as that and there are lots of reasons why other nations might feel threatened by this but the fact remains that you can’t police the world with words like justice and peace and then kill people just because you don’t like them very much.

Iraq and the WMD’s was a serious screw up. Many believe the invasion of Iraq was illegal and nothing but a gut reaction after 9/11. Did they find any big nasty weapons? No. But they killed plenty of people in the process and forced entire countries to live in fear for many years. Sounds like some elements of WW2 to me. The day George Dubya Bush stood on the deck of that aircraft carrier and declared “job done” I felt sick. It was like watching a movie, people cheered and waved flags like they were heroes.

That’s not heroic.

That’s bullying.

Protests were recently held in Libya and things got out of hand. Gaddafi used force against his own people so the UN decided to implement a no fly zone, that’s understandable. It’s the equivalent of taking a toy away from a child so he can’t bully his class mates with it. But then the US and UN decide that Gaddafi has to go without much justification or reason why. Oil maybe. We like oil don’t we? And we have to protect our way of life no matter what the cost.

Has the Western world reached the point where it is so confident there will never be any serious repercussions for its actions? What gives us the right to impose our values on the rest of the world? Sure, if there’s a fight and people are being hurt then any morally centred individual would step in and break it up and find a peaceful resolution. But that doesn’t mean that individual should then wreak havoc or revenge against those it deems to be in the wrong.

So, is there any conclusion?

I don’t know. I’m not anti-American but I don’t support any group that kills people for a cause that doesn’t make sense or can’t be fully justified. It’s likely to assume OBL is dead because it would make everyone look foolish if he popped up on a video boasting about how he was till alive. Wanting photographs to prove OBL’s death isn’t about requesting evidence but the need to have something solid to use as closure. It is also about voyeurism. We want to see the gruesome details so our desire for revenge can be satisfied.

Not everyone who questions the validity of what we are told is an extremist or conspiracy nut. Just because we question things doesn’t mean we disagree or disbelieve what we are told. It is our nature to ask questions. History is filled with liars and we have a right to be sceptical with what we are told.

I can understand that if you are reading this you may disagree with what I have said, and you have every right, but bare in mind this is just my opinion and I am entitled to have one without fear of persecution. I don’t have extremist views and consider myself to be a morally balanced, learned person who prefers to look at things from different perspectives. Should I choose to agree or disagree with something it’s because I have given it a lot of thought.

This post was never about a knee jerk reaction or a desire to give my “ten cents worth” but to help me try to understand the why behind the where, when and how. Do I think the world will be a safer place now OBL has been officially (and legally, don’t forget that) murdered? I’d like to think so. In truth I think the only impact his death will have any lasting impact on is the American people, who rightly deserve closure on a long painful blip in its history.

Like I said earlier, mankind has always waged war against one another, and it always will. We can kill all the extremists and terrorists on the planet but we can’t stop people from wanting to fight each other. There will always be those willing to kill over their differences, from religion & politics to power & resources.

In the end what matters is how we move forward as a race and learn from our mistakes. We only have one planet to live on and there will come a time when our petty differences pale into comparison to more important threats to our existence.

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10 thoughts on “Osama Bin Who?

  1. Awesomely written Dave. The whole thing, imo, really makes one think. As I previously blogged, I didn’t believe it Day 1 when I heard it and thought something was “fishy” per say. Now after the stories are changing, I still stick to my original thoughts and believe (1) they didn’t dump him; and (2) he isn’t dead. Just too many inconsistencies in the governments stories. :/ We may never know the truth unfortunately.

    • Politicians make it so easy for people to pick holes in what they say. Just once it would be nice to hear the truth, but then how are we ever going to tell the difference?

  2. very, very well said. You have expressed so many of my own concerns, doubts, and questions about this whole mess. I keep wondering why it was politically expedient at this time, because we know, that here in North america political expediency is what rules the day! sad times.
    Your last paragraph is where my hope for us lies as I see, around the globe, people waking up to what truly matters.
    Namaste!

    • The world is a stage and politics is like any other commodity, you have to sell it and you have to have something to sell, and what better than easy to digest sound bites for the masses? I often wonder if I sound way to cynical but it’s hard not to be sometimes.

  3. Pingback: Writing Ideas anyone? « Post A WEEK 2011 | Wordpress Challenge

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