Around the world newspaper front pages screamed with celebration at the announcement that US forces had killed Osama Bin Laden in his compound in Pakistan.
Barack Obama, David Cameron and their Western allies are cheering the death of the man they claim was the source of terror attacks worldwide.
But they are hypocrites.
Look at the death toll, the suffering and the destruction caused by Western warmongering over the last decade.
Hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been made homeless and forced to flee the devastating wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And more are dying in Libya—this week’s attempted assassination of Colonel Gaddafi resulted in the death of three of his grandchildren, all under 12 years of age.
The US has no right to be in Afghanistan or to set up military bases across the globe. Yet it believes no one should question its right to invade and bomb anywhere it pleases.
In what amounts to kidnap, the US captures people and sends them from one secret prison to another using rendition flights. Many prisoners suffer horrific torture at the hands of US agents. There are still 172 such prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp who have never faced any trial.
The killing of Bin Laden involved flying into a foreign airspace with no permission or warning to carry out the assassination.
Imagine the response if another country flew helicopters into the US and landed in George Bush’s Texas ranch on a murder mission? We are told that the US’s actions are justified because they are in response to the “evil” of terrorism and attacks like 9/11. But in reality these acts are a response to oppression, not an expression of “evil”.
Bin Laden and his followers talked about the bitterness people feel at the impact of US imperialism—the anger at Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and the role of the US military in holy sites in Saudi Arabia.
George Bush claimed after the 9/11 attacks that he was going to prosecute a “war on terror”. But this was always a smokescreen for the US ruling class to extend its global power.
George Bush named the countries he claimed were a threat to democracy “the axis of evil”—Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
He made no mention of the brutal tyrants of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt or Bahrain because those men were valuable US allies.
When Barack Obama was elected he stopped using the term “war on terror”—but he carried on the war.
He will want to use Bin Laden’s death to send a message to the rest of the world—that only the US can guarantee global security.
But Bin Laden’s death will not make the world a safer place. Instead, a newly confident US may feel emboldened to wage more wars and reassert its power on the international stage.
The world’s greatest superpower has been shaken by the global economic crisis. But it has also been terrified by the revolutions sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East.
Millions have taken to the streets in protests and mass strikes, and soldiers have mutinied—in the face of extraordinary state repression.
In Tunisia and Egypt such struggles brought down the Ben Ali and Mubarak dictatorships.
The process of these revolutions is ongoing and deepening. They have shown what can happen when people take their lives into their own hands.
This is the force that can really challenge US imperialism in the region. Generations have suffered war, poverty and oppression at the hands of local despots backed by successive US presidents.
But times are changing. People are rising up, and they offer hope of a very different future, shaped by the needs of those who have been at the bottom of the pile for too long.