May 6, 2011
We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bushís compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.
By Noam Chomsky
Itís increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no oppositionóexcept, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress ďsuspects.Ē In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it ďbelievedĒ that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didnít know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidenceówhich, as we soon learned, Washington didnít have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that ďwe quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.Ē
Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Ladenís ďconfession,Ē but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.
There is also much media discussion of Washingtonís anger that Pakistan didnít turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.