Iconic Photos

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Osama bin Laden (1957 – 2011)

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Osama bin Laden, America’s ultimate boogeyman for two decades is dead, a victim of whirlwinds he contemptuously sowed. 

You don’t need this blog to tell you this, because the international press and social media has already done their jobs. But here is how the story unfolded:

The story broke online as the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, tweeted: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.” Earlier, as the White House corespondents were being summoned back, the President and the Vice President briefed the former presidents and the congressional leaders respectively. The president’s address to the nation, originally scheduled for 10.30 p.m. (Washington D.C. time), began sixty five minutes late — probably because Mr. Obama was writing his own speech. (Even earlier, someone had unknowingly livetweeted about the operation that would eventually kill bin Laden).

That bin Laden’s demise was a culmination, if not cloture, of a decade-long multinational manhunt was clear in obituaries major newspapers quickly released, the obituaries that they evidently had written years ago. To the New York Times, he was “An Emblem of Evil in the U.S., an Icon to the Cause of Terror”. BBC took a measured stance, calling him a terrorist only once in their obituary. The Telegraph’s title, “the presumed architect of the shocking events of September 11”, is a bit wrong, but not as wrong as filling it under ‘religion obituaries’. In the unique journalese it now reserves for only the most solemn occasions, Time declared, “Death Comes For the Master Terrorist.”  “A moment of unadulterated celebration” noted the Economist, after a 6.5-hour delay that seemed eternal by today’s standards.

Ben Macintyre’s flowery piece for The Times of London called him “the ultimate anti-hero for the last decade”. At Time, Tony Karon reiterates his oft-repeated stance that bin Laden had largely failed, a position this blog had endorsed before. At the New York Times too, Ross Douthat reflects on “The Death of a Failure“, while Nic Kristof ponders the life after bin Laden. For me personally, deeply troubling is the fact that bin Laden was finally discovered not in a squalid Afghan cave, but in a luxuriant compound some 50 miles away from the Pakistani capital. It is an affluent suburb close to the Pakistani military academy, where many retired generals in the Pakistani government — a government the U.S. has given over billions of dollars to track down terrorists — reside. It is more than an embarrassment; it is an indictment.

To wrap up, this is how he was finally found out. Here is how they already faked his death photo (below). Here is how many news sites scrambled for the scoop.

I wonder what Matthew Norman, who wrote this sad epitaph to American might only ten days ago, think of now.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Obituary, Politics, War

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7 Responses

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  1. ultimate boogeyman for two decades is dead
    ONE decade, you mean?

    his death:
    1st) is not proven. where are the pathologist’ reports, photos, proofs? I wouldn’t put past Obama faking the event to have a childish “one on Bush” – that would be totally in character.
    2nd) even if true, it means absolutely nothing in long term. Islamic terrorism is not dead with his death; for the past 10 years Osama has became irrelevant. I have a feeling that is a bone the current masterminds have thrown to Obama as part of their agreement.
    3rd) makes no surprise whatsoever that he was tracked to Pakistan. Only those who don’t follow our foreign policy could have thought pakistanis are our friends – after they got the bomb. As far as his “safe places”, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was found in the US – in Dearborn, MI, for instance. May be he is still there.


    May 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm

  2. I feel no sorrow for him. He lived 54 years too long. There’s an abortion that should have been!


    May 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm

  3. Thanks for compiling those links, it’s sometimes hard to follow the actual path of a news story when so many ‘news’ outlets are simply rehashing whatever they get through the wire. Your hard work is much appreciated.


    May 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  4. You’ll like have to update this post, maybe as soon as today.

    CK MacLeod

    May 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

  5. Just as an FYI: links to Gizmodo (in this case,how he was finally found) only works for people in the same country as you are. Everyone else gets the home page because it tries to redirect to the correct country and fails. Not a big deal but I thought you might want to know.


    May 9, 2011 at 12:01 am

  6. The fake foto made me laugh from the beginning. Firstly because it’s so badly done. You can clearly see some muscle contractions around the nose and mouth area. But second and most of all because I thought: WTF? Haven’t they heard about the internets?


    May 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm

  7. The recent Osama killing by US forces in Abbottabad has opened a new can of worms. The first question that comes to mind is whether this entire episode was true or a drama created by US in connivance with Pakistan’s leaders for public consumption. The US media is taking full advantage of it, as is their president. After all he has the most to gain with the upcoming presidential elections.


    May 27, 2011 at 11:20 am

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