Unquestioning support for the presence of both our own and US forces in Afghanistan is rapidly dwindlng. As the number of troops returning from the country in coffins is increasing, our realisation of the difficulty of achieving a quick exit strategy is finally sinking in.
In the US, President Obama is, at present, deciding whether he can sell the idea to the American people, of sending another 30,000 troops to the region. It is a political ‘hot potato’ and a decision that I am sure is causing him many sleepless nights.
It seems, therefore, with somewhat fortuitously good timing, that a report from the US senate has been released stating that the world’s most wanted terrorist figure, Osama Bin Laden, was allowed to escape capture from US troops in Afghanistan back in 2001. Of course, the report blames the previous administration for this unlikeliest of errors.
Suspiciously, the release of the report seems timed to re-light the fire in people’s minds about the so-called leader of the dreaded Al Qaeda; the man said to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks and numerous other shocking terrorist outrages in various parts of the world.
What I have often wondered, is does anyone really want to catch this man? Does he even really exist?
It seems almost inconceivable, that in the age of the highly sophisticated and often secret technology freely available to the various security agencies, they have not been able to pinpoint the location of one mere mortal.
It raises the question of what they would they do with him if they did manage to capture him? He is the figurehead of an organisation with huge and sophisticated resources; he is not just the tribesman he is made out to be. His capture and trial would only increase his profile and would provoke huge terrorist outrages across the globe and increase the recruitment figures of the so called terrorist organisations.
Alternatively, if he were to be killed ‘in battle’ it is likely the same result would occur.
It is worth remembering that Osama Bin Laden has been a very useful tool for various governments over the last few years. He has become the world’s ‘Bogeyman’.
Both his name and the organisation he is said to lead, have been used by various western governments to promote a fear in our populations and allow them to introduce more control and restrictions on our personal freedoms. Without promoting such a fear, these measures would have been greeted with outrage.
Here in the UK, you are lucky to be able to go to the bathroom without being monitored by some nosey government employee following your every move on a surveillance camera.
In reality, the fear of any of us being involved in a terrorist incident far outweighs the probability. However, the perception is constantly promoted that we are all in imminent danger. Faced by this perception, we have knowingly allowed our democratic rights and personal freedoms to be taken away on the basis of what is really just a myth.
So I guess I really have to ask….does any government really WANT to ‘find’ Osama Bin Laden or is he of more political use remaining ‘free’?
Make up your own mind!!