Alex Deane - Reactions to the death of Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden was killed last night by US Special Forces in Pakistan. Alex Deane gives us his snap analysis.

Bin Laden was killed last night at his compound in Pakistan
Alex Deane
On 2 May 2011 10:23

Where were you and how did you react when you heard the news of Bin Laden's death?  Add to the various pieces by e-mailing

Sad to confess, I learned of Bin Laden's death first thing this morning as I read Twitter in bed. Twitter is an increasingly important (and addictive) source of news for me. This is plainly good news - the world is a better place without Bin Laden in it. But there are a number of important caveats.

First of all, it's a dreadful pity that he wasn't captured alive and tried. Useful information might have emerged. Moreover, the shame involved - the bringing down of that immensely arrogant man, to the drab mundanity of the cheaply decorated courts that mete out international justice - would have been tremendous. It would have demonstrated the primacy of the rule of law rather than vengeance - that a just process awaits even Pubic Enemy Number 1, no matter what the crime. And the absence of any such transparent and accountable process will lead to conspiracy theories.

Secondly, on a related note, tradition or no, I question wisdom of swift burial at sea. At Big Brother Watch we see many conspiracy theorists. This is going to get them hopping.

Finally, along with all the other progress we're assured we're making in the War on Terror, this kind of news should lead to an unwinding of the ratchet on freedom that has been tightening for a decade. The authoritarian reaction to thugs like Bin Laden has been totally disproportionate. It should be stepped down. But it won't be, of course. Once power is granted to bureaucrats and bullies who push us around "for our own good", it is very hard to take away.

Still, it's a good day.

Alex Deane is a Director at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs.  Follow him on Twitter at @ajcdeane

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