Osama bin Laden targeted working people - nearly 3000 of them on 11 September 2001 - in the confident belief that the imperialist government of the USA would be more hurt by that than his own followers, on the fascistic far right, would be.
Anyone who cares for working people, and opposes bin Laden's programme of terroristic religious fundamentalism, should be pleased by his death on 1 May at the hands of US forces.
But we do not applaud or congratulate the US military. Their capture of bin Laden came after eight and a half years in which the US government and its allies have:
• turned Iraq into a hell of sectarian civil war and almost-random reprisals by US troops;
• trashed civil liberties in the USA, Britain, and other countries, and boosted racism, especially against people of Muslim background;
• mired Afghanistan in a blood-soaked war which looks likely to end in at least a partial revival of Taliban power.
In 2001 we warned that the US-British attack on Afghanistan, in reprisal for 11 September, might well "end with bin Laden, or his similars, still at large and active, and new masses of recruits for them and other terrorist-fundamentalists".
We were right. Ahmed Rashid, an expert on the Taliban and Al Qaeda, writes: "Before 2001 there were no known al-Qaeda cells in Europe except for... one in Hamburg... Today every single European country has an al-Qaeda cell".
The principles are the same as those in our response to Libya today. We will be glad if NATO intervention gets rid of Qaddafi. We will not mobilise to try to stop NATO imposing a no-fly zone or bombing Qaddafi's command centres (both of which are not imperialist invasion and occupation, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan). But we will not endorse, applaud, or congratulate NATO.
Above: survivor of an attack by Al Qaeda or an allied group on a market in Iraq, where, as a hardline defender of the dominance of the Sunni Arab minority and an avowed opponent of democracy, it has targeted the Shia majority.
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