Monday, 2 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden and 'Justice'

I know I don't normally make political comments, but this is all over the news at the moment for obvious reasons, and I think it's worth making a few points.

While what has happened is almost certainly positive--and I certainly don't want to demean those who killed him--it's not justice.  Justice would be putting him through the law courts, following due process, and then legally executing him.  A comparison can probably be made with resisting arrest, in which case it's fair enough that he was shot.  But again, not justice.  Also, while I presume the burying him at sea was in order that his body doesn't become a rallying point, it does seem a little odd.  Or is it only me that finds it strange that the body has been disposed of so rapidly?  Again, I'm not trying to make up some wild conspiracy theory that the Americans either didn't find him or shot him without cause, but it does look odd.

I suppose we were all wondering just how quickly the Royal Wedding would be displaced from the news.  Whilst media coverage did seem OTT (and in particular the idea that we need a bank holiday just before May Bank every year...), at least it was something positive in the news for a change.  Now there seems to be a bit of a gore fest going on, and everyone's leaping in and this is dominating the news even more than the Wedding.  What happened to balance?  The Libyan ambassador to the UK was kicked out today (it kinda surprised me that hadn't happened weeks ago), there were a large number of tornadoes in Alabama, and I have no doubt that more things have happened that I haven't seen on the news.  All of a sudden, nobody cares that Kate and William postponed their honeymoon for security reasons, and we're all panicking about revenge attacks.

I suppose the fear of revenge attacks is a big factor against having a 'proper' trial, not that we'd be in any doubt as to the outcome.  But if that's a motive for making a mockery of justice, then surely the terrorists are winning by subverting exactly what makes 'us' different from what 'they' want.

At the end of the day, a certain part of me is glad that Bin Laden is gone.  But surely we should be celebrating more in terms of attacks he now cannot organise, rather than fearing those his supporters might.  And it's certainly not 'justice'.  Call it revenge, call it the end of a man hunt, but I don't see how it can be rightly called justice.

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