Reading Baroness Murphy’s post on Bin Laden and Gaddafi below makes me think we have lived so long in relative peace in this country that we have forgotten the danger posed by extreme dictators.
So here are some questions to my good colleague:
- Bin Laden was “murdered” was he? Can you explain how you know this and what information you have about the operation that convinces you that the awful crime of murder is the appropriate definition in a situation like this?
- Gaddafi’s son was targeted – how do you know? Libyan TV showed a bombed underground concrete bunker. Do you really think this was an ordinary house with the family making tea together? Seems more like a command post to me and that makes it a legitimate target.
- “We didn’t solve Iraq by getting rid of Saddam”. That is not what Iraqi’s say to me. Many of them rightly criticise our post conflict plan – or lack of it – but they are not regretting the passing of Saddam and they regard today’s Iraq as far better than under Saddam. So isn’t the real criticism of the US/UK the failure to deal with the post conflict situation – not the idea that Iraq would be a better place now if Saddam was still in power?
In a truly lawful world Gaddafi and Bin Laden would have been arrested and tried. In a more rational world we would not have to deal with dictators in all their variety which leads us at times to be inconsistent. But we don’t live in a lawful world although we are making our way slowly and painfully towards one but you won’t get there by being soft on dictators. And please remember that in the Arab spring the people are calling for freedom, democracy, the rule of law – not for Bin Laden.