The problem was that he had got away with it. The world’s most notorious terrorist had slipped happily into relaxed retirement, and by doing so, had demonstrated the weakness of the western world and their inability to achieve justice.
It was overdue, since the Arab spring marks a new era to that of Jihad. In many ways, Al-Qaeda have already defeated themselves. Killing the inspiration will add little to a war on terror, that is mostly over and done with.
However, it matters to history. The western weakness that his freedom demonstrated lay in the inability of massive science and technology to win against a single Muslim, Insha’Allah.
Following his escape, from pursuing Afghan and American forces, through that porous border, it was always believed that he lived a humble life in the mountains, constantly on the move, to avoid detection. He did in fact settle in Abbottabad, a military town, 30 miles north-east of Islamabad.
According to the Guardian, “The compound was eight times bigger than neighbouring residences and the walls were between three and six metres high, topped with barbed wire. Although valued at over US$1m the place had no phone or internet connection.”
Far from spending his fugitive retirement in humble villages, constantly on the move to avoid detection, it seems that the 6’4” icon of terrorism occupied himself with a castle-building project in a town described by John Simpson as “Pakistan’s equivalent of Sandhurst”.
The left tend to be uncomfortable with the notion of punishment and retribution. The current Labour Leader made no objection to a Tory policy to reduce the jail population. However, the criminal justice system, in this country and others, recognises the need of victims to have satisfaction.
The victims of September 11th were not just the 3,000 dead, but the whole country. The natural defences of the two largest oceans were no match to the determination and resourcefulness of a spiteful man.
The victims were also the western world as a whole. We saw our system of fairness, and our sanctity of human life, attacked, undermined and humiliated.
But the largest group of victims are the ordinary Muslims who saw their peaceful religion transformed into a war, motivated by fear and insecurity of a world increasingly governed by economic and secular values.
Historians are likely to mark the New York atrocity as the beginning of the story, and the death of Bin Laden as the end. Within this ten year narrative will be war in Afghanistan, a divided United Nations, war in Iraq, beheadings on the internet, and eventually the optimism and fruition of The Arab Spring.
Sunday 1st May, 2011, is a historic day indeed.