By Raffique Shah
May 08, 2011
IT was inevitable, of course, that Osama bin Laden would have met his death at the hands of the “Great Satan”. That he survived the hunt for some 15 years, eluding the world’s best intelligence agencies and killer-squads, is testimony to the man’s ingenuity, his survival skills. Little wonder he evolved from an ordinary freedom fighter to being a legend in his lifetime, a hero to many, a demon to others. Like him or hate him, few will deny that Osama has carved his name in history.
Maybe the US Navy Seals who executed the Al Qaeda leader last Sunday did him a big favour. If we believe what the West says about him—when he was not plotting mass murder on their soil he was busy subverting Arab and other governments—then his exit from earth when regime-change in the Mid-East is coming from popular uprisings, must be a blessing of sorts for “bin”. The masses no longer need guns and bombs and rivers of blood to rid their countries of despots, be they self-proclaimed monarchs or dastardly dictators. They are removing unwanted regimes by sheer force of numbers, by their determination to sacrifice a few lives so that the many can live in relative freedom. Or so they hope.
In this re-written text of how to stage successful revolts, bin Laden became irrelevant. Maybe that was why he spent his final days at a hideout in Abbottabad. The town’s name is itself a contradiction of some fundamentals that Osama supposedly stood for. Abbottabad? That sounds like an unholy mix of Christianity and Islam, a curious choice for an Islamist.
His mansion was another disappointment. The Americans said he was living in luxury while his followers adhered to austerity. When photographs emerged, it turned out that the house was similar to that of some mid-level drug dealer in Trinidad. Dole Chadee lived in a far more impressive compound than “de bin”. But there he was, holed up with his youngest wife, a bunch of children and sundry hangers-on, seemingly working overtime on some outdated computer. The Seals’ “black-ops-squad” allegedly took scores of USB memory-sticks from the house.
He sat in his “shamba” plotting and scheming…and observing developments in Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya. He saw a long-standing lackey of the Americans, Hosni Mubarak, bite the dust at the hands of enraged Egyptians. As an ex-lackey of the US—the CIA all but created Al Qaeda in the 1980s—he must have felt some sympathy for Hosni. Then he heard turncoat Gaddafi blame him and al Qaeda for fomenting revolution in Libya. The last straw must have been the rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine.
What must a fundamentalist to do in the circumstances? Not exit from earth and take one’s chances in the hereafter? He would not have considered suicide like Hitler did: that’s very un-Islamic. But clearly, it was time for “the bin” to take leave of his mortal being and seek solace in paradise, whether or not he gets his quota of virgins.
When he would have heard the whirring of the Seals helicopters’ rotors, followed by a few muted sounds of gunfire on the outside, he would have been relieved. The Great Satan is here, flying chariots et al, to usher me to paradise. What irony. He knew they would never take him alive. He held too many secrets. The Americans had recruited and funded the Mujahidin, of which he was a member, to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. The US had furnished them with sophisticated weapons and provided experts to train them. We may never know what other “goods” he had on America
Clearly, the Seals had orders to kill him, not take him prisoner. In a courtroom, he could have been a great embarrassment to the White House, the Pentagon, Langley and maybe even to No. 10 Downing Street, London.
Osama must have quietly recited his last “surah” even as the Seals stormed his haven and sent him to heaven…or hell, as many believe. Gone in a flash, a single bullet to the head. In those fleeting moments, he must have thought of his first White House benefactor, Ronald Reagan, who, in the end, wasted away for years, a victim of the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. He must have wondered, too, about the Bushes, father and son, who both trained him and turned on him: what tortured final days would they face?
Most of all, he must have mused on the irony of a president named Obama “taking out” Osama. But what are brothers-in-fate for, if not to help each other? He knew President Barack’s ratings were low, that he could not get a handle on America’s bed-ridden economy, and worse, that “the brother” was virtually under siege by Palin and her dumb, right-wing rednecks. In death, Osama could do more for Obama.
In death, he could also do more for Al Qaeda than he did during his years in hiding. Which is why those who openly celebrated his demise—and I understand why they did—should face the reality that Osama’s death could signal even more perilous times ahead. America has the propensity for creating monsters that return to haunt its people, most of them innocents. It also violates the sovereignty of other nations at will. Days after Osama’s death, another drone attack in Pakistan enraged large numbers of Muslims across the Mid-East.
If I were an American, I would be afraid…very afraid.
7 thoughts on “Osama’s death gives Obama life”
Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death
We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.
By Noam Chomsky
May 6, 2011 – guernicamag.com
It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”
Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.
There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.
We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.
There’s more to say about [Cuban airline bomber Orlando] Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the “Bush doctrine” that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly. No one seemed to notice that Bush was calling for invasion and destruction of the U.S. and murder of its criminal president.
Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”
There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.
Copyright 2011 Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are a new edition of Power and Terror, The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, Gaza in Crisis, with Ilan Pappé, and Hopes and Prospects, also available as an audiobook.
Oustanding journalism….wished most of the Media’s works could be as unbiased as Mr. Shah. Saddam Hussein’s sons were also taken out by the US Military and shown on TV as proof of their demise….why wasn’t de Bin shown? Why should we believe anything that comes out of DC? For those that are interested, please checkout the link that follows, there’s factual information on the great battles being fought against so called terrorism….this could be the best 3 hours investment in understanding why?
2004: The Power of Nightmares (BBC Two) suggested a parallel between the rise of Islamism in the Arab world and Neoconservatism in the United States in that both needed to inflate a myth of a dangerous enemy in order to draw people to support them. It received the BAFTA Award for Best Factual Series in 2004.
And the hegemony continues. No matter who is incharge of the imperialist countries they will continue with imperialism. The cries of democratic change. What exactly is everyone proclaiming this ideology really know and expect from it is debatable, but it would be said that there is a choice. Suffer or die – those are the choice. Lest I be called inconsistent, where is the millions of dollars of surplus that was proportedly left over by Clinton. And the bombing of another country into submission – Libya – was agreed upon and continues. Not that I believe the leaders of any country that stays on ad infinitum does the countries they lead any service. We all have our sell by date and we should know when that date is and leave so that others can follow. Leaving our footprints in the sands of time. Osama has left his footprints for others to follow. Hope that Obama will also leave his footprints for others to follow.
Again Mr. Shah you have put a foot print in the sand.
Obam just continued Bush Policies. He was supposed to get the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan but instead he gets them into Lybia and sends U.S. military into Pakistan. Can you believe that he was the Nobel Peace prize recipiant?
Hey Curtis, I see you are still leading the charge of questionable logic, across Trini Center forum. Queen K -an ardent admirer of Uncle Obama -and her PP party , likewise promised to gravitate towards a new T&T style politics , away from the Manning PNM types of policies , and to date , 2 years into her government’s stewardships , one cannot decipher a single difference.
What say you about that,or how should the voting public view this- bearing in mind that it would take some time b4 any meaningful changes can be felt in our country, especially when one political party / culture ,dominated for so long?
I know , I know , give the lady a break, but take Uncle Obama to hell.
Such neo tribal phonies folks! So easy to despise these creatures , hmmmmm?
When was the last election in T&T??
What a load of tripe Shah talks about, many Indian muslims and Pakis are just angry that a black President has done this in a “muslim” land! Right up here in Toronto the day after I drove around with an American flag hanging from my car window that was for the 14 trinis killed by Bin Laden’s marginal goons used by him he has nothing to say about that(reminds me of Bakh’s men being used to kill afros for the benefit of an Indian party a former “union fighter” for Indians ONLY! Who killed Mr Corruption fighter Selwyn Richardson?)
Comments are closed.