Slaying a cardboard giant

THE NEWS of the death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of a United States elite commando unit has given a much-needed boost to President Barack Obama’s poll ratings in America. But it has left a lot of dangling questions, especially around the decision to bury the body at sea immediately. This leaves a huge opening for conspiracy theorists to claim the whole operation has been a fake and that Bin Laden is still alive somewhere, now once again working with the US imperialists as he did at the start of his career as a ruthless terrorist against the socialist government of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

There is no doubt he will join Martin Bormann, John Kennedy, Marylyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson in being supposedly living on in secret at the North Pole/on the Moon/on Mars or some other unlikely location. And many young Muslim extremists will probably believe Bin Laden is secretly being held captive somewhere.

It would certainly have been more conclusive to have taken Bin Laden alive and put him on trial in an international court — but then he would have had the opportunity to say a lot of things that would undoubtedly have embarrassed the imperialists — though you wonder if there could be anything even more embarrassing left after the avalanche of Wikileaks.

One thing is certain: even by their own twisted logic the imperialist invaders no longer have any shred of justification left for their presence in Afghanistan, Iraq or the north of Pakistan and should leave immediately. Likewise they should close the concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay immediately.

The “War on Terror” always was Marvel comic-style hocus pocus; Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were always portrayed by the imperialist media as much bigger and more powerful than they actually were so that when they finally killed Bin Laden they could claim it as a great triumph.

Al Qaeda has had little formal structure and has mainly been a provider of finance and resources to small, self-organised groups-with-a-plan. And so it will probably continue. The absence of Bin Laden will make little difference.

But every time the imperialists bomb and kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan or Pakistan they will push more young Muslims into joining the extreme terrorist groups in grief and anger.

And slaughtering the innocents

Meanwhile the imperialists continue to target Gaddafi and his family, murdering one of his sons and three grandchildren — all in the name of a United Nations’ mandate that permits them to “protect civilians”. The imperialists are trying to pretend they are not targeting Gaddafi while at the same time demonising him so that if they do succeed in hitting him they can claim it as another triumph over evil.

In this way imperialism tried to personalise the anti-imperialist forces against them and imagine that simply by killing one figurehead they can vanquish all the class forces ranged against them. They are deluding themselves and it is evidence of a failure in their ability to understand the collective nature of working class struggle — a serious tactical weakness for them.

But it does underline the need to support Libya’s call for reconvening the UN Security Council to re-examine resolution 1973. Countries like Russia and China, who failed to veto the resolution that allowed Nato to impose a “no fly zone”, now know that Nato has outrageously exceeded its terms in order to intervene as a powerfully armed partisan force in a civil war — ironically backing rebel forces that include some supporters of Al Qaeda. This is why Russia and China did use their veto to prevent a repeat performance in Syria.

The UN must come under pressure to revoke resolution 1973 and withdraw the last vestige of legality over the Nato war against Libya.