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Is Killing Bin Laden Worthy Of A Great Democracy?

Opinion: As the U.S. celebrates the killing of its No. 1 enemy, one German commentator says Americans should ask themselves: was it worth it?

Article illustrative image Partner logo

New York celebrates Osama's death (davem_330)



The images coming from the U.S. were reminiscent of the scenes following Saddam Hussein’s capture in December 2003, when he was hiding in a hole in a farm near the town of Tikrit. What followed was a degrading treatment of the Iraqi president on the world’s stage, allegedly to determine his identity. In fact, the show was meant to demonstrate the power of the United States.

The message was clear: we can catch anyone, and no one is safe. This time, it was Osama Bin Laden who had his turn – the Al Qaeda leader was the No. 1 public enemy in the United States. A $50 million bounty had been issued for his capture: “dead or alive.”

President Obama personally gave the order for the mission, and Americans are now celebrating as if killing Osama Bin Laden had solved all of their problems in one stroke – high unemployment, runaway national debt, failed health care reform, the country’s tarnished prestige in the world.

The execution of Osama Bin Laden – or it is better to speak of murder? – allows Americans to forget their troubles for a moment. It is like a balm on the wounds of the nation. In the rush of emotion, no one is asking the questions that need to be asked. For example – was it really Osama Bin Laden who was killed? Is it possible that it was one of his doubles?

In the United States, the accused have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Guilt or innocence can only be decided in a proper court of law. Osama Bin Laden was given the “short shrift”. He did not have the opportunity to defend himself from the accusations made against him, he had no fair trial, no lawyer. He was probably not even asked to surrender. Such a procedure is unworthy of a constitutional state. Even Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Final Solution of the Jewish question, was given due process before he was sentenced to death.

If we ask ourselves, "cui bono?" (“who benefits?”), the answer is clear: the United States. The superpower was caught cold by the recent uprisings in the Arab world, it has failed to solve the Palestinian question, it has not even come to terms with inflation at home. Something needed to happen.

The timing was not perfect, but apparently no one wanted to wait until the tenth anniversary of 9/11. As Americans celebrate in the streets, they forget that violence often produces counter-violence in turn. The execution of Osama Bin Laden will have consequences; it will undoubtedly set a new spiral of violence in motion again.

Was it worth it? Could the United States have made an extradition request to the Pakistani government? After all, the action grossly violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. The government in Islamabad has no choice but to make the best of a bad game, but its reputation in the country is not getting any better. It is already seen as an agent for the United States. This in turn will give new impetus to the radical Islamists.

At the very least, we should now demand the creation of an independent commission to investigate whether or not, and under what circumstances, Osama Bin Laden was killed. Only then will we know for certain and prevent the spread of conspiracy theories like the ones that have developed about events such as the moon landing and 9/11.

The leader of such a commission would need to be an experienced and impartial jurist.  For example, Richard Goldstone, the former Chief Justice of South Africa, who investigated Israel's latest operation in Gaza. 


Read the original article in German

photo - (davem_330)


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About this article source Website:

Die Welt (“The World”) is a German daily founded in Hamburg in 1946, and currently owned by the Axel Springer AG company, Europe's largest publishing house. Now based in Berlin, Die Welt is sold in more than 130 countries. A Sunday edition called Welt am Sonntag has been published since 1948.

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