We've been told for years that he was, variously, ringleader, financier, planner or spiritual head of the operation. Yet Bin Laden's infrequent statements on the subject are ambiguous. He's both said he was involved and that he was not. So what do we really know?
Well, we know that many of the mostly Saudi Arabian hijackers lived in Europe and America prior to 9/11 and that several received training in American flight schools. We know the Taliban tolerated bin Laden's presence in Afghanistan. We know President George W. Bush was handed a memo stating terrorists planned to hijack American planes and turn them on us.
What we likely will never know now is just what the relationship between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban running Afghanistan was. Did the Taliban tolerate al-Qaeda? Finance it? Mostly ignore its presence, as Bush allegedly did prior to 9/11?
Shooting bin Laden in the head and dumping the body is the oldest game in the world.
It eschews ideas of decorum, justice, history, democracy and, most damning of all, curiosity about history, so that we'll be forced to repeat this sort of prehistoric bloodletting again and again. What an example we've set for the new millennium that began with so much hope. Obama once promised to restore such hope. By continuing the Bush/Cheney wars, methods, and much else, he's dashed mine.
Let's face it. If Pakistan harbored war criminals, we in the United States harbor war criminals.
Nothing is clearer than the truth that the Bush/Cheney regime
publicly based their bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq on lies from a
tortured man named Al-Libi, from a hired politico named Chalibi, and an admitted
liar code named Curveball.
In speech after speech, our top leaders browbeat Americans and the world into bestowing legitimacy on igniting a war that would prove ruinous for Iraq and America.
Let me repeat, this war that resulted in so much bloodshed was based on lies from bribed and tortured sources. Our hands are far from clean.
This is the inconvenient truth buried at sea with Osama bin Laden. It gets further lost in loud cheering at his death. It'll almost certainly result in more money for future wars, and less opportunity for our beleaguered population at home.
That's how every empire falls.
Where do we get off?
Suppose some tortured souls whose families and homes were obliterated by bombs that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell rained down on that country, were to send trained killers to America, shoot our former leaders in the head and dump their bodies in the ocean?
How is this different from what we did?
Even Hitler's Nazi henchmen got trials, so that the truth about the Holocaust might roll like a tide through the ages. So that some semblance of justice might be served.
Here, in our time, truth and justice never got a chance.