Letters: Osama bin Laden

Related Topics

The death of Osama bin Laden has achieved the original aim of the invasion of Afghanistan, namely to get the man who carried out the worst terror attack in history. Now that aim has been achieved after nearly 10 years, there is no more need to be in Afghanistan. A total withdrawal of troops from that country should now take place immediately.

Bin Laden could and should have been captured or killed in the early days of the Afghan war but for the incompetence and hubris of George Bush and Tony Blair. They decided to divert all resources into invading Iraq.

Bin Laden's death however will not end the threat of Islamic terrorism. The al-Qa'ida ideology has spread across the globe and is especially prevalent in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and most notably Saudi Arabia, the number one funder of terrorism across the world.

Bin Laden's death will be hyped by the US government as a propaganda coup, but in reality he had been neutralised for most of the last decade. He could not use the phone or internet. Terrorism can only be defeated when the bombing of civilians comes to an end and western support for dictators ceases.

Alan Hinnrichs


Once again the US administration makes the mistake of trying to solve terrorism by treating its symptoms, not its true cause, which is a failed US foreign policy in the Middle East.

If the US administration was to support a Palestinian homeland, stop supporting Israeli terrorism, close Guantánamo, stop invading and occupying Muslim nations, and stop thwarting UN efforts to deal with these issues, the threat of terrorism would be neutralised. The killing of Osama bin Laden represents yet another in a series of extraordinary mistakes by the US administration which can only undermine efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Dr Rory E Morty

Giessen, Germany

The death of Osama bin Laden, who was no longer an operational commander and was apparently almost isolated in his hideout, would have done little to decrease terrorist activity even if it had been from natural causes. Coming as it did at the hands of American special forces operating in Pakistan, and accompanied by vainglorious boasting and gloating, it is likely to prove a public relations disaster in many areas of the world.

Revenge is never a good idea. Through this rash act the USA has greatly damaged its own interests, and probably ours too.

Adrian West

London N21

The killing of Osama bin Laden is a pyrrhic victory for America and its allies. The world has moved on since 9/11 as the tahrir of last February has given us a new perspective of what may yet come in lands that remain under our tutelage.

The dark heart of Arabia, from where Osama sprang, however, remains intact. The House of Saud will remain for the foreseeable future the abode of the terrorism that frightens us so much. There is no remedy in sight.

M A Qavi

London SE3

How stupid do Western media outlets think the public is to buy the choreographed story about the death of Osama bin Laden? Without knowing what has actually happened, we can be sure that the US intelligence community want to be as confident as possible that nobody can check their story, or identify the person they claim to have "buried at sea". Indeed, we can question whether anything has been "buried" at all.

Dr Rory Ridley-Duff


David Cameron says that we should celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden. I disagree. To assassinate Bin Laden, rather than capture and prosecute him is surely a war crime. The same is true of the attempted assassination of Gadaffi, which resulted in the death of his grandchildren and son.

Tom MacKinnon

London, SW15

This was not 'just a wedding'

Several times I have heard the comment, "It's just a wedding." It is so much more than that. It was an occasion that brought people together from all over the world in celebration. It was a delight. It has been quite some time since so many happy and excited smiling faces have been seen.

The news, usually full of sadness, death and despair, gave us excitement and hope. We know that the problems have not gone away – they were there before, and they will be there afterwards – but at least we can see that people do care about each other, they can come together in happiness as well as sorrow.

Quite often national pride is reserved for sporting occasions. How nice to know that we can be proud of our country and the Royal Family. I wish all the very best to our new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And that dress was fantastic.

Shelley Fallows

East Grinstead in West Sussex.

As people face a desperately bleak future of redundancy, wage cuts, house repossessions and homelessness, as schools and Sure Start centres are rationed and closed, as libraries shut, as coast guards and fire stations are axed and as up to half a million local authority and NHS workers face the sack, last Friday the country was treated to a shameless exposition of excess and greed.

The royals, their establishment pals and the super-rich really rubbed it in the nation's face with a wedding that cost in excess of £55m. The nation's subjects who are still not citizens were somehow supposed to rejoice and enjoy this disgusting display of unearned power and wealth.

Mark Holt


Hamish McRae (29 April) raises the interesting question of how we can monetise the Royal Family. One way is to build a new Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Queen and Prince Charles would, of course, have the use of it whenever they wished, but I doubt that would amount to more than a few weeks in the year. The rest of the time it would sail the world acting as a travelling embassy.

Foreign VIPs would be invited to experience the latest in British technology and at the same time have the opportunity to sit in a chair used by the Queen. No other country has this USP.

Simon Garratt


Mary Ann Sieghart (2 May) says that Prince Charles, if he were a commoner, would probably have founded his own political party by now. Possibly, but I think it more likely that he would be concentrating on holding down a proper job. This would have the additional benefit of keeping the poor old fellow from parading his scientifically illiterate and embarrassing notions in public.

James Kellar

Pewsey, Wiltshire

Defy Tory plot to overturn AV vote

Not content with their campaign of lies to defend an indefensible first-past-the-post system, the No to AV campaign are now planning to reverse in Parliament a Yes vote next Thursday ("Tories plot to overturn referendum results", 29 April)

Let the forces of conservatism be under no illusion: the forces of reform in British politics are very angry and will fight with the gloves off to stop such a move to block a democratic decision by the British people.

There are local campaigns like Fair Votes for Dorset who've been working hard to achieve a Yes vote before the national Fairer Votes Campaign even started. We're not prepared to sit idly by while these arrogant Tories and their Labour dinosaur allies cynically seek to manipulate an unrepresentative parliamentary system.

We're looking to The Independent's readers to have the good sense to help ensure a resounding "Yes" vote on Thursday, which these reactionaries can't possibly manipulate away.

Richard Denton-White

Chair, Fair Votes For Dorset


While the vast majority of the 17 Tory MSPs in the last Scottish Parliament were elected by a system of proportional representation, in last year's general election only one Tory was returned from Scotland because the first-past-the-post system rendered the Tory votes in the other 58 constituencies worthless.

In effect David Cameron's plea for people to vote against AV is a kick in the teeth to his supporters in Scotland; telling them that it is best for the Party for them to be virtually without representation at Westminster so that he can disenfranchise the millions of voters of other parties in the English shires.

More hypocrisy than democracy.

George McKell

Crieff, Perth & Kinross

As the time approaches for the country to decide "Yes" or "No" for AV, may I ask opponents of the proposed change to our voting system one simple question: in what other areas of our lives would we willingly reject an opportunity of being able to say, "Very well, if I can't have this as my first preference, then I'll choose that instead"?

Robert Bottamley

Hedon, East Yorkshire

Based on the figures from the University of Essex (report, 2 May), under AV both Labour and Tories would lose seats and Lib Dems would gain. The Lib Dems would then be in a better position to form a coalition with the Tories, without a majority, and we would then be faced with a permanent effectively Tory government.

R E Hooper

Stratford on Avon

Salmon across the world

After an afternoon's gardening, I sat down with a cup of tea to read the Viewspaper (20 April). The article "There's trouble upstream" informed me that Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, had signed a trade deal with China to sell them Scottish farmed salmon over the next few years.

A little later I started preparing the evening meal, which happened to be salmon with thyme and lemon, purchased from Sainbury's (special half-price offer). The label told me that the fish had been "caught in the Pacific Ocean and packed in China" for a seafood company based in Glasgow.

Does this make sense? It seems like a very large waste of travel miles. Now I shall not feel so guilty about the accompanying green beans airlifted from Africa.

Janet Pearson

London Colney, Hertfordshire

Raise a glass to British beer

In response to Guy Adams's enjoyable ode to British beer (28 April) I feel that I must point out that far from facing an uncertain future, the British pint has never been so strongly supported.

There have never in British brewing history been as many independent brewers thriving as there are today. Small independent brewers across the length and breadth of Britain are churning out wonderfully exciting beers at an incredible rate. Just yesterday, the majestic Otley brewery in Pontypridd held a spectacular celebration of golden ales (with a choice of 20 ales) at their award-winning Bunch of Grapes. We were spoilt for choice yesterday, with many local ale festivals to choose from.

JD Wetherspoon has just opened its 800th pub, and this is a chain that is built on selling vast quantities of local real ale, with a number of festivals throughout the year. While small local pubs are closing, I suspect that many of these were pubs that had simply got their recipe for success drastically wrong, concentrating on lager and awful "cream flow" keg beers. With the smoking ban, these pubs had little else to offer their limited clientele. Most pubs I visit have never been so busy, selling quality local food to go with quality local ale.

Anthony Williams

Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

Full marks to Guy Adams for rubbishing the ban on serving beer to the royal wedding guests. Whoever came up with this daft idea (Prince William? More likely some snooty palace official) should reflect on the words of George Borrow: "Good Ale, the true and proper drink of Englishmen. He is not deserving of the name of Englishman who speaketh against ale, that is good ale." (Levengro, 1851) On the same day you published an article about the Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey and the revival of the brewing tradition in other parts of the capital.

Derek Haslam

Colne, Lancashire

Olympic record

Richard Ingrams (30 April) is quite wrong in thinking that it was necessary to apply for Olympic Games tickets via the internet and to pay by credit card. I got my application form from Lloyds TSB, sent it in by post with a cheque enclosed and received an acknowledgment a week later.

Jack Morgan

Hampton, Middlesex


You printed a 41-word reaction to Friday's festivities from our Prime Minister which used the same tired adverb three times. Leaving aside his incredibly expensive education, in these incredibly tempestuous times dare we have a leader of such incredibly limited vocabulary?

Richard Jeffcoat


Perspectives on criticism of Israel

No sympathy for cruel regime s

In her article "Stop Blaming Israel for every grievance in the Middle East" (2 May), Yasmin Alibhai-Brown distances herself from "British and American Zionists", only to realign herself with them in her dubious insinuation that critics of Israel are apologetic for the crimes of others in the Middle East and are at best hypocritical and at worst anti-Semitic.

It is not feasible to campaign against every injustice everywhere. The "anti-Zionists" Alibhai-Brown criticises give priority to issues in which we share responsibility and over which we have leverage. This is obvious for American critics of Israel's current policies, as their government uncritically delivers $2bn-3bn in aid every year. But moreover, as the historian Tony Judt put it, one of the highest goals of Israel is an economic relationship with Europe as a way to set itself apart from the Middle East, of which it does not want to be part culturally, economically or politically.

Far from having sympathy for the cruel and vicious regimes in the Middle East, I would suggest that critics of Israel are moved by the striking transparency of a solution, which does not apply to the other states Alibhai-Brown points to: namely, the two- state solution according to UN resolution 242, which the entire world including every significant player in the region has supported since 1976 except for the United States and Israel, while European states have spinelessly deferred to this obstructionism.

Finally, I would suggest that what draws many to the Palestinian cause is precisely the Israeli abuse of history that Alibhai-Brown describes. But this is a sign of their decency rather than double standards. There is no comparable state abuse of history whereby the most insane and horrendous episode in human history is mobilised not to insist unequivocally on the universal value of human life, but rather as historical credit with which to deny the human rights of others.

Hugh McDonnell

University of Amsterdam

What kind of peace does Hamas want?

Is it not too early to conclude that the apparent reconciliation deal agreed between Fatah and Hamas represents an "opportunity for peace" (leading article, 29 April)? Indeed, little detail has been disclosed as to how the agreement will be implemented.

Fatah and Hamas previously signed the 2007 Mecca Agreement and the 2008 Sanaa Agreement, both of which called for the formation of a Palestinian unity government but quickly fell apart and achieved nothing on the ground. A key problem is the ideological tensions between the two groups. Fatah rejects Hamas's Islamist ideology, use of violence and its declared desire to eliminate Israel. The two organisations have seemingly incompatible visions for a Palestinian state.

As you point out, "Much will depend on the question of how far Hamas is willing (or able) to moderate its official position with respect to Israel." Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader who took part in the talks that led to the current reconciliation deal, insisted: "The programme does not include negotiations with Israel or recognising it. It will not be possible for the interim national government to participate or work on the peace process with Israel." Hamas also continues to fire rockets into Israel. How therefore do you propose that the international community should "attempt to lock Hamas into a peaceful negotiation process"?

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Brasenose College, Oxford

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Nick’s accident has been an education for my lexicon

Rebecca Armstrong

How did swearing ever get so frowned upon?

Stefano Hatfield
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links