It has been a week since US Navy SEALs pounced on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout and shot him. While the world looked on and tried to understand what had happened in Abbottabad, some of the more cynical and effervescent of this country’s political commentators were desperately seeking the reverse-spin on what the majority of the nation thought to be a jolly good thing. We’d got him!
Watching the exercise unfold was a bit like an episode of Meerkat Manor, that curious TV series which uses film-footage of African meerkats shot over a ten-year period by Cambridge University. The series followed the lives and habits of a family of meerkats. For the uninitiated a typical episode of Meerkat Manor went something like this:
After being bitten by a puff adder, Shakespeare continues his struggle to survive. Carlos, a male from a rival family, threatens Flower’s pups. The Whiskers have a territorial dispute with the Lazuli family. Daisy becomes overly friendly with Carlos.
The reason I link Meerkat Manor with the death of bin Laden is the way the Left-wing media sorted out the events of Osama’s rather complicated demise into a clear and concise message. “Don’t give the Americans credit for anything”.
For those who are not familiar with Meerkat Manor you must imagine the opening of an average episode. The sunrise has just broken and up pops the head of a boss meerkat. It’s Zorro. He looks startled. He looks left, then right then forwards. He checks the lay of the land. He pops down again into the burrow. Up he pops with a number of meerkats, then a few more. Consensus! Yes … there is a sun today.
The Left’s reaction to the death of bin Laden was nothing if not meerkatish. As usual there was a lull before someone broke the silence and signalled a line-of-spin. I think it was Geoffrey Robertson, QC, who was first out the barrier with the idea that the US President, Barak Obama, had either ordered an assassination or an execution. And just in case his world-wide audience didn’t get the message, the message was “cold-blooded assassination” and “summary execution”.
And to add to the meerkat flavour, Robinson delivered his message from what looked like a camera mounted on his home computer. He sure looked a bit like Zorro the meerkat, as his distorted image appeared on TV news channels. He opened with:
The US resembles the land of the munchkins as it celebrates the death of the Wicked Witch of the East.
Then Alan Austin popped up on onlineopinion, from his base in Nîmes in France, to tell us that “It was an illegal execution without trial. It was murder.” And, “That is certainly the view of some here in Europe, including Anneli Hautala the Finnish chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament.” He added “Ms Hautala immediately questioned ‘la nécessité qu’il y avait de le tuer’ — the need to have killed bin Laden rather than to have effected his capture.” He then followed with an extraordinary rant against the evil intent of the USA.
Bob Ellis on the ABC’s The Drum managed to compare the death of bin Laden with the lack of rejoicing in Times Square on the death of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. And added “I remember no such gladness when Hitler died” … which is understandable – Bob would have been aged about three at the time. He then added, “There was a magical-realist quality to Osama Bin Laden. He looked like the risen Christ, and was often thought dead and came always back to life”.
Meanwhile on Crikey Guy Rundle thought the threat to the West from al-Qaeda to be “overestimated”. He wrote “For an outfit that was supposed to present an existential threat to the West, it didn’t get far. Three or four big bombings in Africa in the 90’s, then 9/11, the Madrid train bombings, a couple of others, and a possible connection with 7/7 in London.” It is frightening to imagine just what it would have taken to impress Guy.
Greg Barns thought that “The killing of Osama Bin Laden provides a disturbing reminder that the West’s rhetoric on the universality of human rights and the rule of law is easily sacrificed at the alter of expediency.” He went on to say, “important principles of humanity and fairness are cast aside when there is a vote in it or when primal vengeance is given its head by our leaders.” Oh dear!
What was extraordinary (apart from the lack of comments from John Pilger or Noam Chomsky) was the lack of any thought for the victims of bin Laden. No compassion, no reflection, no mention of the child suicide-bombers. Not a thought for the dead at the Jewish wedding bombing, the 200 dead Kenyans, the 3000 at the World Trade Centre or the 30,000 mainly Muslim victims Osama bin Laden had on his score card. It was as though the Navy SEALs had cornered and shot Mother Teresa.
Oh the awfulness of it. The lack of “humanity and fairness”. The lack of a decent burial, no autopsy, no trial, no respect. Of course there was no mention of the lack of a burial, autopsy, trial or respect for those victims of Bin Laden’s madness — those victims whose bodies had been blown to smithereens; of those whose bodies that were so ground to dust on 9/11, where not even a particle could be found.
As for the Navy SEALs and the others involved in the successful exercise against bin Laden? Charged, tried and found guilty by the Loony Left. Yes! They are all “summary executioners” and “cold blooded assassins”. How does that work in the arcane world of “human rights” Geoffrey, you know, fair trial, presumption of innocence, etc. Or does that only apply to terrorists?
As one British military expert put it bin Laden would have to have been stark naked with his hands in the air before he could have been deemed to be not dangerous. The split-second assessment as to whether he was armed or had a hidden belt of explosives on his body, had to be made. Was the bed armed with explosives, was the room wired? Were his wife and daughter carrying a belt?
Would Osama bin Laden’s human rights been violated if the house had been taken out by a drone-aircraft rocket? Do the blood-soaked men women and children shopping in a Baghdad market have “human rights” when a bin Laden suicide bomber does his wicked work, or to the American-hating Left, is this just simply collateral damage?
Then there is the cries of anguish about Pakistan’s “sovereignty” being violated. As though Pakistan, or the Left, is worried when Pakistan helps terrorists cross into India to slaughter and maim the residents of Mumbai, or helps terrorists enter Kashmir or Afghanistan.
As Bob Ellis so eloquently put it “Why not give their most famous son back to the rich Bin Laden family, and see them put him down in their family plot?”
Meerkat madness … it really makes sense of life, doesn’t it.