Brendan O’Neill’s piece on the aftermath of OBL’s killing and the pity-party some on the left are having for him caught my eye:
[…] There is nothing principled or properly anti-imperialist in the speedily rising critique of the killing of OBL. Indeed, many of those currently attacking Obama would have preferred it if bin Laden had ended up in one of the international courts, which themselves are political theatres for the expression of Western superiority over foreign peoples (usually black ones). If Obama’s troops really did mete out ‘military vengeance’ against someone they judged to be evil, then these courts continually serve up ‘legal vengeance’ against people judged to be war criminals. Also, it is striking that many of the critics of Obama express concern about the alleged emotions behind American militarism – vengeance, Wild West fury, a lack of basic decency – rather than being concerned about the moral question of whether America should have the right to intervene in other states. It’s the sentiment they hate, more than the use of military force overseas per se.
No, the now widespread ‘uncomfortable feeling’ with the shooting of bin Laden is really an expression of moral reluctance, even of moral cowardice, a desire to avoid taking any decisive action or expressing any firm emotion that might have some blowback consequences for us over here. It is the politics of risk aversion rather than the politics of anti-imperialism, the same degraded sentiment that fuelled the narcissistic ‘Not in my name’ response to the Iraq War in 2003. […]