By Peter Lavelle
When US President Barack Obama announced that American security forces had killed Osama bin Laden, he added: ‘Justice has been done.’
But the United States and its allies fighting the so-called “War on Terror” have no grounds to use the word “justice” when comes to committing acts of violence. A mass murderer has been murdered by other mass murderers. “Terrorist No. 1” is gone, but rest assured the bloodletting will continue.
Obama went on to say: “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda.” It is amazing that the US president is claiming achievements at this time. Yes, the man allegedly behind the suicide hijack attacks of September 11, 2001, is no more. But what of the other “achievements”?
Afghanistan remains occupied, with the war going badly and no end in sight. What did Afghans do to the US and the “coalition of the willing” to deserve this unwanted, murderous and very unjust occupation? Seeking to destroy a handful of al-Qaeda operatives and leaders has turned Afghanistan into a long-term failed state – not to mention an enormous drain of blood and treasure.
Then there is Iraq – illegally invaded, a victim of an unnecessary civil war, and today on the brink of breaking apart into three mini-states. What did the Iraq people do to the US and the coalition to deserve all this deprivation? The pathetic irony is here that it was the US, through commission and omission, which introduced al-Qaeda to Iraq.
Pakistan reels from violence every day because of the “War on Terror”, as the US and its allies rain death and destruction on innocent civilians in pursuit of al-Qaeda. And we are told that Pakistan is an important strategic ally of the United States! As in Libya, the received “wisdom” is that we have to kill people in order to save the people.
The “War on Terror” is also invoked to justify denying millions of Arabs the trappings of democracy and a life with dignity. Dictators and autocrats of all shades are protected and coddled by the West until they become a geopolitical liability. In the cases of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the West leaves its lofty values at the door, preferring oil over people’s rights.
Democratically-elected Hamas is labelled a terrorist group because the people of Gaza voted the “wrong way”. Today Gazans live in a vast prison camp, illegally blockaded by Israel. In Lebanon Hezbollah is the largest and most popular democratic entity in the country, but because it won’t genuflect to Washington’s “War on Terror”, it is also designated a terrorist group.
Two other notable “achievements” of the “War on Terror” are the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the imprisonment of Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning. Osama bin Laden never ceased pointing out the hypocrisy of the West. What Gitmo stands for – serious human rights violations up to and including torture – and the outrageous persecution of Private Manning surely had Bin Laden smiling until his last breath.
We are told that as Obama was making his historic announcement White House staffers were raucously celebrating, singing patriotic songs and chanting US slogans – essentially gloating. What is there to gloat about? Bin Laden had long ago become a phantom. His worldly existence hardly mattered anymore – though it was a wonderful excuse for the West to continue its neo-colonial projects in Arab lands.
Osama Bin Laden’s legacy will endure with us a very long time. The al-Qaeda franchise is well established and can be copied again and again. These are murderous groups of people, outdone only by the murderous Western interventionists – a deadly embrace if there ever was one.
Bin Laden once said: “I swear not to die but a free man.” Today millions of Arabs are saying the same thing. But there is an important difference. The Arab Spring has no need of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, or of Western-backed dictators and military interventions. The killing of Bin Laden doesn’t change this calculus one bit. The Arab Spring is what I call justice.
– Peter Lavelle is the host of RT’s debate programme “CrossTalk”. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. (This article was first published in Moscow News: www.moscownews.ru.)