One thing that really strikes me about the whole question of whether US forces were right to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan is the thought of how the combatants must have felt. Specifically in relation to fear – not fear in terms of their own lives (although of course, even for highly trained personnel, that must have been huge) but fear of failure. An inability to know what was in the next room, and when the mission was beyond the point of failure. That’s where I half-sympathise with the decision to pull the trigger. Imagine if, having arrested bin Laden, the soldiers had found themselves up against unexpected circumstances which saw him freed. In ten years this was by the far the closest US intelligence had ever got to bin Laden, and this was their chance. To have let that chance go would have been a tragedy. They must have known that, and must have known that more important than their own safety was the fact that Osama bin Laden must not have been allowed the opportunity to escape. Sadly – and while I can’t rejoice at his death – I can understand why dispatching him must have seemed vital in that moment.
Fear of failure
Posted 06 May 2011 in Islam and the Middle East, Politics