Since most of the political commentators here behaved like particularly rowdy soccer fans after a bloody and perhaps even undeserved victory, we, the leftists, are not exempt from expressing disgust about the millions dancing on the corpse of mega-terrorist Osama bin Laden. The man was contemptible, and his hands were sullied with the blood of innocents - there's no question about that. But the operation by the U.S. Navy SEALs was an act of licensed gangsterism, murder without trial, and a cruel operation that did not take into account the victims who fell around the main victim.
The humanist approach requires us to reject the act of terror against bin Laden for three reasons: ethical, legal and political-ideological. The president of the United States has no authority to operate in foreign countries arbitrarily and in contradiction to the principles of international law. Even inside his country, nobody authorized him to issue a death sentence, not to mention murdering people who were next to the victim.
For years the U.S. has been bringing hostages to the horrifying concentration camp in Guatanamo, Cuba, and shamelessly torturing them. There is an international conspiracy of silence in most of the Western countries - which consider themselves enlightened - in regard to the acts of terror, looting and greed that characterize Washington's conduct in the international arena. In Israel the situation is far worse: It's the liberal camp (which sometimes calls itself the "left" ) that enthusiastically cheers any U.S. president who fights against poor countries, whereas the right treats Washington with suspicion, for fear that its successes in acts of violence against Arabs or blacks will grant it too much authority in enforcing peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians or the Syrians.
The ethical aspect is unequivocal. The humanism that is officially accepted by the U.S. too, requires its leaders not to murder political opponents or military enemies, and mainly to refrain from murdering people who have no connection at all to terror. U.S. President Barack Obama ignored all the ethical criteria, and murdered bin Laden in order to achieve success at any price in advance of the elections. Even someone who prefers Obama to his opponents has good reason to fear the cynicism that Obama demonstrated in the bin Laden affair.
The legal aspect is also clear. Murder in cold blood (especially in a foreign country ) contradicts the principles of international law, but thanks to military, economic and political power - and not for reasons of principle - there is no chance that Obama will have to pay for it. The murder of bin Laden now enables many governments the world over, including the Israeli government, to continue to slaughter civilians and to explain the act by referring to the Obama precedent.
Washington no longer has the moral authority to preach to other countries about arbitrary acts of murder for the sake of political or economic interests. Some 38 years after giving the fascists in Chile a green light to murder elected president Salvador Allende, Washington is now adopting the "direct operation," to use the old fascist expression.
On the diplomatic front, Obama is allowing American conservatives and their allies everywhere (including "our" prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu ) to preach in favor of official terror as the only way to stop liberation movements the world over. Bin Laden was a terrorist in every possible sense, but his success in surviving for so many years also stems from the fact that the industrialized West refuses to share its treasures with poor countries. The president, who came to power with liberal slogans and a pose of reconciliation with the Muslim world, speaks like Martin Luther King but operates in the international area like a right-wing/conservative outlaw from Alabama. He may defeat the Republicans at the polls, but he has adopted their ideological path.
In the 1970s West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and British Prime Minister Edward Heath proposed a new path for the Western world, in order to transfer resources to the poorer parts of the world and create a new situation that would prevent hunger and disease.
The plan was shelved, the neo-liberals came to power in all the key countries in the West, and the huge swamp of poverty and neglect is breeding lethal mosquitoes that cause disasters and carry out acts of terror all over the world. The conservatives have always believed that the threat could be eliminated with force, killing the mosquitoes without draining the swamps. Now Obama has also joined this conservative chorus, and the Great Black Hope has been shelved.
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