There was a little bit of news early this morning, you may not be aware as hardly anyone is talking about it, but Osama Bin Laden is dead. Killed during a US operation to finally take him. This blog post will be one of the most sanctimonious things I ever write because, in the wake of this news, people appear to have lost their minds.
All over the news and the internet, people are falling over themselves to celebrate Bin Laden’s death, with hordes placing themselves outside the White House screaming “USA! USA!”, toasting to his death and generally partying. This has left a horrible taste in my mouth, it’s hardly dignified. This whole situation is a tough one, as you can’t tell people how to feel, especially those so affected by the events of nearly ten years ago. But one thing they need to understand is this is not justice for those who lost their lives, this is vengeance, pure and simple. I’m sure people will tell me “People celebrated when Hitler died and I bet you would have too!”. Yes, I would have, but there’s a tiny difference there. Hitler’s death effectively signified the end of a WORLD FUCKING WAR. Bin Laden was not holed up in a bunker, committing suicide as his forces were overrun, and his death signifies nothing. Al Qaeda are not the Nazis, and killing Bin Laden will not end their campaign.
He was the face of evil for the west, who need such things to focus their hate on, but tactically his death means absolutely squat. I’ve seen various people on Twitter say “This is what you get when you fuck with America!”. What is “what you get”? If he was the lynchpin of Al Qaeda then “what he got” was ten more years of plotting mayhem as the west fumbled in the dark for him. If he wasn’t, well then celebrating his death is beyond disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy he is dead. The world is a better place without him, but I will not be rejoicing and dancing in the street. Even those who would oppose capital punishment for serial killers have no doubt been telling themselves that Bin Laden is different. I’m sorry, but he’s not. Evil is evil and murder is murder. You cannot condemn one and not the other, unless you are a huge hypocrite.
This is the culmination of the events of the last ten years. The erosion of a national conscience. Think of all that has happened since that fateful day ten years ago. The clusterfuck wars started because Bin Laden could not be found and America (and I’m including the UK in this as well) did not want to appear weak, well instead we looked dumb. Soldiers’ and civilians’ deaths. Guantanamo Bay. Torture and humiliation of prisoners. Surrendering of civil liberties. Air force personnel laughing as they lay waste below them. Jumping at our own shadows. The mistrust and mistreatment of an entire religion. The radicalising of youth. Think of that and ask yourself, ‘Was Bin Laden’s death worth it?’. Ironically, all this, done in the name of retaliation, was beyond anything Bin Laden could have hoped to achieve when he masterminded 9/11. He didn’t just take lives that day, he took the west’s soul and today proves it.
You can celebrate all you want, I just don’t think there is much to be joyful about.