Murderous leadership

There’s a big scrap and when the offender is handcuffed and dragged to the police car, there’s always that humourous moment when the police officer, in a moment of compassion, gently places his hand on the suspects head, to make sure he doesn’t hurt it when he enters the cop car. Like I’ll taser you, put you in a headlock, but my friend, don’t knock your head on the rubber seal of the car!

Wanted “dead or alive” said former President Bush after 9/11 when speaking of the terrorist Osama bin laden. You have to admit as unpalatable as it might appear, that he was a very clever man bin Laden. From dusty caves (we thought), he lead a large number of young men to kill themselves while murdering about 3000 others. Like a Texas ranger, the west lead by the US, went hunting for their man. In the years of the hunt an organisation like the world has not known (or has it?) grew and killed (and kills) it seems, at places it can get to, when it can. The objective is clear enough – drive forward a view of how the world should live (suppressed women, old testament rules other religions abolished), vaguely underpinned by fanatical religious beliefs, that I doubt many really believe. Though I guess those young men who drove the aeroplanes into the Trade Towers must have. Pity they will never know how deluded they were. Murderers.

When I heard that bin Laden was dead, or more particularly that he had been killed by US forces, I wondered immediately how it was done – was there a fight? did they execute him? was he bombed? We might never know, but somehow even if it did happen in a fight, it was okay to kill him. I don’t feel the slightest sympathy for the murderer, in fact I feel very strongly about any religious extremism or fundamentalism for the physical and emotional violence that always follows.  I do wonder about the “dead or alive” message that the west sends to the middle east though. The dancing in New York and Washington looked a bit like the celebration in Iran (for example) after 9/11. We might think we’re right, but can we honestly put our hands on our hearts and say that a large number of people in the middle east are dishonest in their beliefs about how the west has treated them? Even if they’ve got it wrong from their dictatorial propaganda machines at home, shouldn’t the west set an example? Or is it easy for me to say ‘cos I didn’t know anyone lost in say 9/11. Maybe, but I bet the pictures of dancing in New York are going down a treat in Libya right now.

Mature and forward thinking leadership will recognise that the signals the west sends to the middle east on killing this murderer, must not include gloating at an ‘eye for an eye’. But when the President of the United States gives a sober and thoughtful delivery about it, and ends with “God Bless America” I groan inside.

It’s the same invisible force that justified 9/11 for the terrorists, justifying America. It’s not needed or helpful. You did the right think America, don’t thank invisible forces, as it’s the same invisible force that’s been used to kill your citizens.

President Obama should take it for himself, for the west and for the middle east and proclaim that justice was delivered, not in an orthodox or civilised way, but in the way that only a mass murderer in hiding could be dealt with. Much of the world will be happy that bin Laden is gone – I am sure that most of the thoughtful citizens of Pakistan are happy about it too. They’ve been tarnished badly by this murderer and his organisation.

And he was buried in accordance with Islamic tradition, that was important the US military said. Really? Will it all be okay when he gets to heaven now!? Or am I totally lacking in understanding of what really matters here. I think the ‘eye for an eye’ dancing in the streets is far more significant for our peace.  Like mind your head as you’re dragged into the cop car.

Can we learn from this? Watch out who you’re fighting for or with. Bin Laden befriended the Taliban who the US helped in driving out the opposing forces. Wonder if that’s being done in Libya now. Hope not. Political leadership that learns and sees patterns (like we can all see happening in Libya now), is the leadership I want.

There we go: religion, politics, a reference to sex via the 72 virgins hoped for and a bloody story of a murdering leader that’s ended.


ps the FBI don’t seem to know as he’s still on the top 10 wanted list as of this evening. There’s $25mil up for grabs if you want to tell them.


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