I can't exactly mourn Osama bin Laden, or even really regret his passing. It may be that this was one of those occasions where extra-judicial killing can be justified. I only know that, if so, it is one of few occasions. What disturbs me is the reaction to his death.
The ghoulish crowds on the streets of Manhattan reminded me of the crowds that Charles Dickens described, with revulsion, who struggled to get closer in a public hanging. That doesn't mean you have sympathy with the criminal. This is an issue of taste not justice.
But the idea of Barack Obama being in at the death virtually, watching the proceedings through a camera strapped to the head of one of the soldiers, gave me a particular nightmare. It reminded me of something, and I have now remembered what it was - it was the way that Adolf Hitler demanded to see the deaths of the July 20 plotters who had tried to assassinate him in 1944.
Again, I am not complaining about the outcome, simply the lapse in civilised values. The sight of civilised people marching through one of the most modern cities of the world, baying in delight at the execution of a human being at home sends a shiver down the spine. And it should do.
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