This commentary was published in The Independent On Sunday on 08/05/2011
It isn't Hollywood. It isn't an action movie with Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis crashing through an upstairs window, spraying bullets. On the contrary, it seems likely that Spielberg or Scorsese would make a more coherent version of last weekend's operation in Abbottabad, appreciating both its moral dimension and the need to get the story straight in advance.
For most of last week, the United States government seemed to be operating from a series of bellicose scripts. US special forces had met fierce resistance in Osama bin Laden's compound; they were involved in a fire-fight lasting up to 40 minutes; the al-Qa'ida leader (or someone) had used one of his wives as a human shield. In Washington, President Barack Obama and his top advisers had witnessed Bin Laden's death, relayed to them live from a camera on the helmet of one of the US Navy Seals. The tension was reflected in a photo taken in the White House situation room, Hillary Clinton nervously covering her mouth.