Friday 3 August 2012

The Arrogant Cowboys

The Arrogant Cowboys

Now with the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is time to ponder on the American policy, action and the politics involved in the entire episode. Was he a military target?

Hundreds of years ago, cowboys roamed the American landscape after either killing or driving out the native Red Indians from their land. And years later, generations of Americans have grown up on the staple diet of cowboy comics and films of the gun totting wild west heroes. And in modern times, it is reflected in their policies and actions.

Even in death, Osama bin Laden created a rift. The Fort Sill Apache Tribal leaders want an apology from Barack Obama for use of the code name ‘Geronimo’ for Osama bin Laden operation. It also created a raging trans- Atlantic divide.

US and Europe can’t see eye to eye on different outlooks on terror attacks. Given the celebrations around the US, the objections from France, Germany, Spain and UK came as no surprise. 

Tony Metcalf, British editior-in- chief of the Metro newspaper in US ran a Reuters story on European qualms over what a former German Chancellor called a breach of international law.  Jubilant Americans poured into Times Square to chant “USA, USA, USA!”. And, crucially, not a few began to question the legality and morality of the killings and the risk of revenge attacks.  That attitude simply outraged many Americans.

Europeans admire American commitment to shared values and democracy and the rule of law but fear US policy, particularly towards Muslims, creating problems for the future.

Metcalfe states,  “Democratic states do not execute people without first going through the judicial process”. He wrote, “If that process is circumvented then you are no better than the terrorists.”

If the yardstick is applied the Mumbai terrorists attack survivor, Ajmal Kasab should have been shot dead after interrogation process.  Why spend millions on him to uphold democratic values of the state.  Americans have different laws for different people.  If somebody else does a cowboy act it is a big human rights issue.

I am not sorry for Osama bin Laden. But if he was unarmed, why not the American Seals capture him and go through the judicial process. Now as reports are leaking, he was unarmed and did not resist.  What was the hurry to kill and bury him at sea.  Is there something more to it than meets the eye?

The cowboy trait of the Americans is seen all over Osama’s death; unarmed, killing at the hands of Americans has brought a new wave of contrasting emotional responses across the Atlantic.

Barack Obama says the US has meted out justice to Osama. Will the Americans allow or approve India’s action  to do similar justice to Dawood Ibrahim and others involved in the Mumbai bomb blast?

India has over the years, been a victim of Islamic terrorism. US is hardly concerned about terrorism that effects other countries.  It keeps on asking India  to talk to Pakistan.  India has the military might to seek out Dawood Ibrahim and others 26/11 accused and bring them to book.  Would they support India’s plan?  It is a million dollar question?

Did Osama’s killing violate human rights?  “Justice has been done,”  Barack Obama’s proclamations within  hours of Osama bin Laden’s killing has come under attack since Washington admitted the most wanted fugitive was unarmed. Despite the scale of Al Qaida’s crimes, legal opinion is divided on whether Osama can be passed off as military target exempting Americans the burden of showing he had no intention to surrender or could not have been overpowered without being shot.

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