Yes, we all know Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist, and had much blood on his hands, yet I still feel a bit uncomfortable about all the crowing today over what was basically a state sanctioned murder. Perhaps it would have been better if they put the bastard on trial.
Of course, the US authorities have tried not to turn Bin Laden into a martyr for his looney followers; hence a killing and quick desposal of the body, and not a trial; but the fact is that Bin Laden has always been a bit of a bogeyman, and in recent years al-Qaeda has never been the kind of threat that’s often portrayed in the western media. The recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are not just against despotic regimes, they are also against religion in politics. Al-Qaeda have no widespread support whatsoever and are completely out of touch with the mood of the times. Bye, bye al-Qaeda, and good riddence. There is a much bigger threat out there.
During the 1990s Pakistan was already being cited as a failed state by many organisations, including the UN. Then 9/11 happened and Pakistan was forced by the US to become part of the ‘war on terror’, as the US conducted a war in neighbouring Afghanistan. What seems to have been overlooked is that the Taliban in Afghanistan, who were in cohorts with al-Qaeda, were also deeply entrenched in Pakistan. Despite this, between 2001 and 2005 the Americans gave more than 5 billion dollars to Pakistan (see here) and the US continues to chuck huge amounts of money at the country.
The Taliban’s grip on Pakistan has continued to grow, aided by many political assassinations (incidentally, no politician with a religious mandate has ever been elected in Pakistan in fair and free elections). The most well known is probaby the killing of Benazir Bhutto at the end of 2007, during the run-up to a general election in which Bhutto had a good chance of winning (see here). Bhutto’s murder was particularly brutal, even by Taliban standards, because the killer not only shot her dead but then blew himself up, killing at least 20 other people in the crowd.
In recent times barely a week goes by without more suicide bombings and murders in Pakistan. In January of this year Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab, was assassinated because of his opposition to blasphemy laws (see here). What was frightening about this was that many educated people supported Taseer’s murderer, a bodyguard called Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri. At Qadri’s first court appearance in Islamabad he was showered with rose petals by sympathetic lawyers and hugged by other supporters. Needless to say, Qadri was sentenced but probably won’t do much time.
And in March of this year the Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead by the Taliban, once again because he spoke out against the blasphemy laws (see here). It goes on and on, but the point I’m making is that Pakistan is a nation that is rapidly descending into lunacy that now invades all sections of Pakistan society, up to the highest levels. This is a country that has been proped-up by the United States for the last decade, and the US has said next to nothing about the increasing chaos that’s going on, focused as it is on the ‘war on terror’. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and the loonies are within a nails-length of getting their hands on them.
The big announcement today, that a has-been called Bin Laden was killed, pales by comparison.