Friday, 6 May 2011

Being picky

I don't want to be picky, really I don't, but...

The television news last night and this morning's paper report what amounts to a third version of the event in Abbottabad last weekend when American special forces stormed bin Laden's "fortress" and killed the world's most wanted man. Or so we are led to believe.

I do feel that this could have been handled better, by which I mean the announcements. Now I'm not suggesting that things would have necessarily been different had it been forces from any other country who had done this and the news had therefore been released by a different authority, but surely in these days of instant communication we could have been given the definitive account at the outset? We were told at first that there was a 40-minute fire-fight and the bin Laden cowered behind one of his wives. Then it transpired that he didn't cower, the wife concerned had tried to rush the attacking forces. Now it seems that only one of bin Laden's supporters opened fire.

The differing versions of what happened do tend to lead to questions and doubts. Personally, I have no doubt that bin Laden is dead: if he had been in hiding somewhere else, he would surely have arranged for video footage to be released showing him with a newspaper dated sometime after his "death". But I don't think that will stop others questioning the reliability of the reports.

I have also to admit to some discomfort over what amounts to his execution. We are told that there were guns within easy reach but he was shot before he could grab one. Maybe he could not have been taken alive - and I'm not sorry he is dead - but I have to wonder if his capture and subsequent parading before a court would not have been more disheartening for Al-Qaeda.

As I said at the outset, I don't want to be picky, but I do find myself with, if not doubts, nagging questions.

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