Tuesday, November 07, 2006

THE NEED FOR DISSENT by George Monbiot

IF OSAMA BIN LADEN did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. For the past four years, his name has been invoked whenever a US president has sought to increase the defence budget or wriggle out of arms control treaties. He has even been used to justify President Bush's missile defence programme, though neither he nor his associates are known to possess anything approaching ballistic missile technology. Now he has become the personification of evil required to launch a crusade for good: the face behind the faceless terror.

The closer you look, the weaker the case against bin Laden becomes. While the terrorists who inflicted the dreadful wound in the world may have been inspired by him, there is, at the time of writing, little evidence that they were instructed by him. But bin Laden's culpability is irrelevant: his usefulness to Western governments lies in his power to terrify. more...


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