Usama and the Murderous logic of the Israel-firster

People have drawn various conclusions from the assassination of Usama bin Laden in Abbotabad, a city where I spent part of my childhood. Robert Fisk and Rahimullah Yusufzai believe the death little more than give belated relevance to a figure made largely redundant by the recent Arab revolts. His significance to the transnational phenomenon known as Al Qaeda was largely symbolic. But in death, symbols always yield to myth and assume higher potency. To the extent that a threat exists to the US, it is unlikely that it will be effected by this death one way or the other. For the moment however, the main price will be paid by the Pakistani public which inevitably stands in the way of all blowback.

But neoconservatives and other elements of the Israel lobby have drawn different, if predictable, conclusions. First we have the dependable Alan Dershowtiz praising the killing because according to him it vindicates Israeli policy of extrajudicial murder. According to him ‘Israel developed the concept of targeted killings’ which is not only an ‘effective’ and ‘lawful’ tool, but also a ‘moral’ one! in the war against terrorism. Next we have Bill Kristol, who has issued a statement co-signed with Elizabeth Cheney through Keep America Safe, another one of his myriad letter head organizations (LHO), praising the assassination as a vindication of the torture regime. Interestingly, the theory was immediatley debunked by a somewhat unlikely source. Thus Donald Rumsfeld: ‘It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.’

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

3 thoughts on “Usama and the Murderous logic of the Israel-firster”

  1. Dershowitz’s quotation marks are my favorite:

    “Bin Laden’s death was a military action calculated to kill rather than to “arrest” him.”

    What is the definition of a quotation-marked arrest? Is it- as the Dersh states- a “theoretical option”?

  2. First we have the dependable Alan Dershowtiz praising the killing because according to him it vindicates Israeli policy of extrajudicial murder. According to him ‘Israel developed the concept of targeted killings’ which is not only an ‘effective’ and ‘lawful’ tool, but also a ‘moral’ one! in the war against terrorism.

    He makes me ashamed to be an American. He is immoral. He is an alien to this legal system and its laws. He is a disgrace.

    How Harvard can continue to keep Dershowtiz on its staff is beyond me.

  3. From Jeremy Schill:
    The primacy of JSOC within the Obama administration’s foreign policy—from Yemen and Somalia to Afghanistan and Pakistan—indicates that he [Obama] has doubled down on the Bush-era policy of targeted assassination as a staple of US foreign policy.

    Add Obama to my Dershowitz comment above. He is a simple US citizen who should not have this right.

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