There has been much self-congratulation and back-slapping among Western politicians. In the USA, there has even been dancing in the streets. An American friend informs me that on the night when the news broke, his college campus erupted into a frenzy of chest-bumping and high-fiving, with brave cries of 'U-S-A!' echoing through the night - infantile citizenship at its most regressive. Wrestling with a formidable combination of syllables, WWE musclehead John Cena even broke into valuable fighting time to crow that Bin Laden had been 'caught and compromised to a permanent end', prompting patriotic whooping from his crowd (Mark Twain defined the patriot as 'the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about').
Nor have the British media missed this opportunity to fan the flames of nationalism. On BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight (2 May 2011), the BBC's North America correspondent Mark Mardell noted with barely disguised relish that in contrast to the uncertainties over the rights and wrongs of recent military interventions, the assassination of Bin Laden provides a much longed-for clarity. 'Killing a bad person', asserted Mardell (conveniently ignoring the others killed in the firefight), 'is very clear, very simple and very clean' and would prove 'cathartic' among 'patriotic Americans' after ten years during which the US state had been unable (according to Mardell) to 'get 'im'. This was a virtual replay of Mardell's televised assertion that the 2003 invasion of Iraq constituted a 'vindication' of Blair and his military strategy.
But what is clear, simple or clean about the assassination of OBL? Certainly not the details of the murder, which have changed almost by the hour. Nor is the moral case for the killing very transparent: like OBL, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are responsible for premeditated mass murder, but it seems unlikely that Mardell would approve quite so breezily of any plan to 'terminate' US presidents.
Even if the US state were not the world's chief exporter of terrorism, the US president's assurance that we live in a safer world as a result of this killing would be preposterous. Al-Qaida has already vowed to carry out revenge attacks against the US. The death of bin Laden may give a temporary boost to Obama's domestic approval ratings, just as the death sentence passed on Saddam Hussein two days before the 2006 mid-terms was surely calculated to revive George Bush's flagging popularity ratings. But it can only - as the International Communist Current argues - exacerbate the tensions between the US ruling class and their jihadist antagonists, making the world an even more dangerous place for us all.