Osama bin Laden dead – are we there yet? No. Show us the meat.
At the moment of writing, I’ve not looked at what any of the nationals are saying about today’s big news, but am merely flipping between BBC News 24 and Sky News 24. Both are breathlessly asking the same question: did Pakistan know? And if it didn’t know, what does that mean about US-Pakistan affairs? Was Pakistan sheltering the evil beardy be-turbanned one? Was the USA – under its touchy-feely, hopey-changey president Obama – actually acting as the hegemonist, imperialist, capitalist foe of old? I can hardly wait to read tomorrow’s Guardian to find out what I should think.
But then I don’t know what to think until we have that Heinrich Himmler/Che Guevera moment: show us the body. There’s an obvious, long-proven fake picture doing the rounds on the internet. There are (again internet) rumours that the US security forces took pictures (hardly unlikely, since pictures formed part of the evidence that proved he was who the US forces claim he was). And here is where photography comes into its own: a still picture is what we want, not a jerky, handheld, unfocussed, amateurish, camera-phone YouTube clip. We’re not after Karsh here, but give us something.
But to return to the Beeb and Sky’s frantic question – did Pakistan know – as an armchair student of history, may I offer two scenarios:
1) The Eichmann scenario. Pakistan did not know, the US planned and carried out a successful, surreptitious operation right under the noses of the Paki secret services, much as Mossad did under the Argy noses to snatch Adolf Eichmann and later try him for his war crimes in 1962.
2) The Cuban Missile scenario: JFK, through RFK and secret channels to the USSR, negotiates a way to take the world back from the brink of nuclear war, giving up missile bases in Turkey for the Russkies’ withdrawal from Castroville. Both huff and puff for the media, but the deal is stuck to.
Now there may be a third scenario I haven’t thought of, but, hey, I’m just going according to history and trying to learn from it. (Mind you, when you think about it, it’s those who do learn history who repeat it most often. Usually to baleful effect.)
But I know which the two above scenarios I tend toward. It’s just we won’t know whether I’m right until future announcements – perhaps in a several years when they come to light – regarding the US (and Nato) and Pakistan. But you read it here first.
PS: Why, on both the BBC and Sky News reports, did I not hear the word: “Wahhabi”? Why do I suspect I shall not see the word mentioned much in the nationals tomorrow? I suspect the Guardian shall leave me sadly wanting in this respect. So I won’t know what I should think.