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ANALYSIS The assassination of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan has become many things – a glossy film, a badge of honour for an American President as well as the navy seal who pulled the trigger, and the subject of mass debate and even comedy. One reaction that has been largely absent though is that of horror.  This was a state execution in another country, the type that only that pariah state called Israel has conducted, an act that also resulted in the killing of a woman in front of her children. Barack Obama who came to the White House with so many hopes from those who voted for him not to mention the rest of the world, was pictured with his inner circle that included perhaps the future woman President of the USA, watching the events unfold in a grainy dark fluorescent background with the figures lit up by the colours of their armour and weaponry as if they were on a PlayStation.
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When the Americans invaded Iraq, it was awful and criminal, perhaps Washington’s disregard for international law was best captured by the pack of cards their marines distributed amongst the general populous in Baghdad, with the ‘ace’ of course being the deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein who was later hanged on the verdict of a kangaroo court. But a lot more has happened since –  Colonel Gaddafi didn’t even get to a court he was simply stripped, paraded and executed in cold blood, his slaughter like that of Saddam’s murder was captured on camera phone and went on to do the rounds as a grim and disturbing snuff film. And then there was the slaying of the world’s number one terrorist which got the Hollywood treatment, as well as crowds outside the White House applauding the event as if they were at an NFL soccer match.

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Never before has America been so public in the pursuit of its enemies, so flagrant in flouting any international laws, in breaching sovereignty whenever it chooses, in ‘taking-out’ people in the form of drone strikes or raids like that of Osama bin Laden or in kidnappings such as that of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui, who left her home in Karachi one morning and is now languishing in a detention centre in Texas. And surely the question is now that the world has accepted all this and much, much more, what is going is the world’s largest military power going to do next – and what message are China and Russia going to take from this.

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