Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Looking Into The Abyss, In Abbotabad

The White House has admitted that Mr.Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot dead. His wife, who rushed at the SEAL team, was shot in the calf.

Why not capture Mr.Osama and put him on trial? Apparently, he had made a 'threatening' move. Against armed to the teeth members of SEAL Team Six with their legendary training? Was Mr.Osama a master of karate? Even then that elite squad would have easily contained him. And, if they needed to shoot him, why not in the leg, or the arm? Why deliver a precise kill shot to the head?

Clearly, it was a kill mission. By doing this, the US loses the moral high ground. The greater danger in their battle with terrorism was not that they would lose, but that they would lose their humanity, and become, like their enemy, unhesitating killers. Nietzsche understood humanity well, when he said "When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you". No matter how great an individual's crime, he must be tried, and given the opportunity to defend or incriminate himself as he sees fit. To shoot an unarmed man in the head is not an act of bravery, it is one of extreme hatred or worse.

It is unfortunate that Mr.Obama and Mrs.Clinton would choose to sit and watch this live. It is worse that only Mr.Obama could have given this order. He may win the US elections on the strength of this action, but he has diminished himself, and he has diminished the office of the President of the United States. He will no longer be able to stand tall and speak on questions of justice, or human rights or morality or preach to the world on such topics. On what should be his day of triumph, he has blundered, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Americans will find it harder to feel good, and may even be aghast, about this event now, because a sense of fair play is ingrained into them. Even in the old West, you could shoot a man dead, but that man must have a gun in his hand. Otherwise, it is murder.

This shot in the head and the hasty dumping of Mr.Osama's body in the ocean, instead of his capture and trial, will not help the US and the world in their fight against terrorism. Thanks to Mr.Obama's poor judgement, Mr.Osama bin Laden finds victory in death. He will now become the stuff of ballads and legend. His wife, Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, who was shot in the calf is destined, inevitably, to become an iconic heroine. The Muslim world is already disturbed by the nature of Mr.Osama's burial, and the circumstances of his death will now add fuel to the fire. It is pointless to warn would-be jihadists that "we will get you, no matter how long it takes", when they are only looking for opportunities to blow themselves up. It is not death the US should be dealing out, it is justice. And justice cannot be said to have been done without a trial, a prosecution and a defence.

We are proved wrong in the support we felt for Mr.Obama during his presidential campaign against Mr.McCain. We do not believe Mr.McCain would shoot unarmed men in the head. Like many Americans, though continents away, we had wanted to see this fairy tale of a black man becoming the President, come true. And so his youth and inexperience were excused.

But when that red phone rang, like Mrs.Clinton predicted, he proved himself unequal, and unready, to the task.


  1. You need to live in the real world, if the house is rigged to blow up as many terrorist safe houses are it only takes the push of a button to make him a hero and kill everybody. A head shot can cause instant brain death and save lives all police forces including middle east police forces are trained to go for a head shot if they suspect suicide bombers are going to trigger a device. A radio trigger can be smaller than a box of matches so if you cant see the hands dont take a chance. As for killing an unarmed man what about the 2000+ unarmed people in the twin towers.

  2. One must have peanuts for a brain to belief such stories coming from the whitehouse. But interestingly the U.S. can claim "success" for the Afghanistan & Iraqi missions right now and throw more troops into Iran for another unsanctioned war.

    Poor americans are being so mislead by their "leaders".

  3. Americans are no more mislead by their "leaders" than Singaporeans are by their own PAP government. We are talking here about the baddest terrorist of human kind and who did not respect the santity of human life nor any regard for such. Capturing him alive and putting him on trial would only inspire future terrorists and make this world a more dangerous place and turn him into a hero. The US did an admirable job in getting rid of such a human scum from the face of the earth and restore hope and order to the world.