In 2011, I saw pictures of President Obama watching US Special Forces kill Osama Bin Laden. I argued with a number of friends on the appropriateness of the President of the Free World sitting around in a room watching soldiers on a mission to hunt down a man that was once the greatest foe of the USA but was now a doddery old fool hiding behind the blouse of his young wife.
I get the need for the USA to go after somebody like Bin Laden. America is quite good at that. "You wrong us, we have long memories and we will come after you". In my opinion Bin Laden deserved what he got and more. But did the President of the US have nothing else in his in - tray than to watch the taking out of a man who was no longer a threat to the USA? What happened to World Hunger? Ebola? Global Peace?
As far as I can tell, Obama watching Osama's end game was all about appearance / PR. The modern day equivalent of doing something concrete. In today's world, its all about appearance, about looking good. Even if you are not doing anything, just be seen to be doing something that plays well to the somewhat gullible public.
Fast forward to 3 days ago. Again, all forms of media were filled with the justified taking out of the loser that is known as Jihadi John. He was such a loser that he couldn't get laid in a town renowned for its generous women. He finally found global fame as the social media face of ISIS recruitment. The serial be - header of the defenceless. Yes he fully deserves his encounter with the US drone that took him out. But was I sickened by the song and dance the American and British Intelligence community made about taking out Jihadi John? Can you imagine that Winston Churchill was so fixated about Josef Goebbels' propaganda on behalf of the Nazis that he sent a brigade of the SAS to hunt him down and kill him and then crowed about it on the Radio & Television.
What sort of men are our leaders? These men who have never held down real jobs. These men who only bother about what looks good rather than concrete stuff. Just this morning, a friend shared this link with me. Did our intelligence service know about the guy in this link? This Haji Bakr or were they fixated on straw men like Jihadi John, the halitosis suffering low life loser? Based on that link I will say Haji Bakr is worth 100 Jihadi Johns. Yet we crow about taking the nobody that is Jihadi John out of the equation. It appears what matters more to our leaders is PR coups rather than evidence of concrete progress on the war against ISIS.
What worries me is that the Americans had someone like Haji Bakr under detention and at some point they let him go. This makes you wonder how inept Western countries are in this anti - Terrorism fight. For instance why are we having a debate about snooping? It is such a silly debate. The intelligence community should be given Carte Blanche to snoop on everybody and anybody. If they use what they discover for nefarious or civil cases, they should be brought to book with the courts applying severe and exceptional penalties & punishments for such infractions. To be fair, I understand the public distaste for giving too much powers to the government, a distaste fuelled by our leaders who have undermined the public trust by misusing similar powers in the past, for example, they have used anti - terrorism laws to prosecute people over council tax and rubbish bin issues? How terribly churlish? How symptomatic of their smallness as leaders. As a safeguard to snooping laws, a caveat should be added that nothing discovered via snooping can be used for civil cases. Simple. Case closed.
Another issue is that of citizens who decide to go and fight or live in ISIS controlled territories or even with ISIS opponents. I just can't get my head around why there is a debate around this issue or why there is seeming paralysis by Western government in dealing with the issue. We live in a democracy where people have a choice. Why is the government then actively preventing adults from leaving the country? If we are concerned about their very young children, we already have a determined & enthusiastic child protection bureaucracy for that purpose. Take the kids off these people and wave bye to them. Strip them of their citizenships and right to return. Why are we hiding under Geneva protocols and some other archaic laws made almost 100 years ago that has no connection to the world we live in today? Why are our leaders helpless? Why can't they see these reasonable & logical steps? Why are they not forward looking? Why are our leaders not taking the battle to ISIS?
Can you imagine Winston Churchill refusing to fight the Germans because he was worried about collateral damage? Or Presidents Roosevelt & Eisenhower not fighting the Japanese because they were worried about upsetting the media and the electorate? Oh how we yearn for the days of strong / determined men of power. Even recent leaders like President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher are modern day examples of what leaders with back bone can achieve. Not the ones we have now who think taking out a common criminal like Jihadi John is worth a song and a dance.
On a final note, the events in Paris should hopefully prove to everybody in the Western World that we are not safe doing all the common things we take for granted. The government should make this clear so we are under no illusions. Hopefully the genuine realisation that our way of life is under severe threat will help our leaders develop a back bone and take the battle to these terrorists. Forget all these establishing democracy nonsense. In my opinion, nation building and trying to encourage democracy amongst people who don't want it is a waste of time. We have done more damage to ourselves in the Middle East by using this template. My solution is simple, identify the snake and cut of its head. If baby snakes come up in its place, cut of the heads too. If any criminal terrorist group take territories, go in there and smash them. Although I do not wholly support the Israeli template, but you can now see the result of their approach - Fatah is now an organisation preaching peace. Hezbollah leaders don't want to be publicly known and Hezbollah members are not as quick to result to violence.
Its time to do things differently. Its time for our leaders to develop a back bone.