Paul Holmes on New Zealand
Paul Holmes is an award-winning Herald columnist

Paul Holmes: Daring raid brightens May's beauty


Hawkes Bay's had some bad weather lately. The parts affected were mainly on the coast, from Haumoana, round Cape Kidnappers and places south, a wild salt-sprayed coast of wild romance.

I see the camping ground at Te Awanga was flooded. It was always the place for our annual primary school picnic.

If my memory is correct, only twice was the camping ground not flooded on picnic day and the picnic not cancelled. I can never understand why they persist with it.

This week's weather has been more than splendid. I don't recall a first week of May in Hawkes Bay every being as red and golden, green and yellow, as sunny and blue and still and calm and warm, as this has been. This may be the loveliest autumn I can remember.

Years ago, I planted a non-fruiting grape over our old shed. This week in the late afternoon sun it is a lurid, breathtaking mass of red, purple and yellow.

Plus they got bin Laden, Hone Harawira's freedom fighter. They blew half his face off.

In what will become a commando raid of legend, the Americans, having figured out through brilliant analysis of intelligence that he was holed up in a huge compound in a town nestled under the hills north of Islamabad, flew in and killed him.

Just like that. Took the mass killer out.

The Pakistanis are indignant at not being trusted with information about the operation by the Americans. Well, the stakes were too high for the Americans to tell the Pakistanis. Heaven knows who the Pakistani Intelligence Service works for.

As Leon Panetta, the CIA boss says, the Pakistanis either knew bin Laden was there or they are incompetent. Abbottabad is a military town, after all. They knew, all right.

And should the Americans have gone in to kill him? Of course they should have. Should they have executed him summarily, in the way they did? Of course, yes.

Or should they have arrested him and brought him out alive and sent him to the States for a fair trial? Of course not. Where would you have held him? What would the cost of security have been? Where would you try him?

No, the Americans wanted him dead. They were always going to get him and they were always going to kill him. An eye for an eye is a strong motif in the American narrative.

And, as I've written before, you don't organise the theft of giant, paid-for American jet airliners full of American people, loaded up with paid-for fuel and fly them into two of the greatest buildings in the world and cause them to melt and collapse killing 3000 hard working American people inside them.

Because if you do, America is going to hunt you down and kill you.

Bin Laden was psycho. He was described this week as a "raging narcissist." He was an evil murderer. His theology was full of hatred.

There was none of the tolerance which Muslims tell us is part of Islam. He had within him only blissful hatred. Everything about the West was contemptible filth.

Never mind Christ and Einstein and Shakespeare and Western charity and goodness; never mind the Eiffel Tower, or Frank Lloyd Wright and television and radio and cellphones.

No, all that mattered to bin Laden was hatred. I'm not sure he ever proposed anything. He was someone who opposed and destroyed and tore down and murdered and massacred.

There are certain people to whom the rules of law and life do not apply. There are certain people who simply have to be killed and thrown to the sharks, as the Americans did to bin Laden this week. People who organise such horrific massacres as the World Trade Centre was, have to be hunted down like rats and killed.

I was wondering how they were able to make an assessment about bin Laden's DNA. Here's how. Last year bin Laden's sister died in a New York hospital.

The Americans simply took her body. They simply compared his DNA to hers. They were determined, those Yanks, weren't they, to get him.

Obama showed strong, resolute leadership. He had the guts to take the punt, to order one of the riskiest and most daring military operations since Entebbe, when the Israelis rescued their hijacked people from the airport at Kampala, Uganda.

He had the courage that history demands presidents display from time to time. He made Donald Trump look like a chump with the silliest comb-over the world has ever seen. Obama showed his seriousness, this week. Obama certainly isn't agonising over the killing of the beast.

Getting bin Laden, killing him on the spot, executing him in his own bedroom, has probably guaranteed Obama a second term. Even Republicans were applauding him this week.

So a beautiful royal wedding one day, bin Laden dead the next. Not a bad few days.

- NZ Herald

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