Britney Spears crashes and burns, Osama emerges from his cave, and General Petraeus announces that the light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq is visible using the Hubble Telescope
Six years ago today I wandered in from my trailer, turned on the TV, and said “What movie is this they are advertising?” Within minutes I realized that the planes flying into the Twin Towers weren’t special effects for some movie, this wasn’t some war of the world’s mistake, this was real. And within days I realized that 9/11 would launch a “war” that would make the misguided “war on drugs” look trivial in comparison. It’s gone downhill since then: two countries invaded and turned into failed states, hundreds of thousands dead (including thousands more Americans,) millions of refugees, hundreds of billions spent…and no end in sight. (This post is going to wander around some, be warned.)
And now, almost congruent with the sixth anniversary of 9/11, Britney Spears commits entertainment terrorism, Osama emerges with his first video in years, and General Petraeus announces that the surge is working in Iraq. I can only think that these three events are some terrible harbinger of things to come as I eat my oatmeal and mull over what six years post 9/11 has wrought. What does it all mean? Can we make any sense of the chicken entrails the so called mainstream media tosses about? Here at Doug’s Darkworld, we can only but try.
What does Britney have to do with all this? Beats me, I am only vaguely aware of who she is, mostly I know is when I use her name in the title of the post…I get more hits. No other name works magic like that, so she must be an important personage, right? Sigh. Britain had Diana, we are stuck with Britney Spears. Somehow I feel that’s a sad commentary and insight into today’s America, in some way I have trouble putting into other words.
Oh well, speaking of sad commentaries on our times, Osama has sent in another video from his cave. And how it is that the USA hasn’t captured or killed him six years on is a mystery of our times. When it comes to Osama there are three possibilities: he’s long dead and is a “Hollywood” creation being kept alive to promote the administration’s GWOT, the USA is deliberately not catching him for some unknown reason, or the American military and intelligence services are really incompetent. He gave a better performance that Britney at least, the video and transcript can be viewed here. (Heck, either Osama has discovered “Just for Men®” products, or his beard miraculously turned black.)
What does Osama’s video speech mean? Well, it sure is curious that he comes up with a video whenever the administration needs a bit of good publicity. Assuming for the sake of argument that he is for real, his speech isn’t all that interesting. It’s a mish-mash of fairly reasonable observations, blatantly self-serving omissions, clear insight into the west, and terrible misjudgements about the west. He clearly has a better understanding of the west than most in the west, including our leaders, have of the Middle East. The fact that much of what he says seems to come right from DailyKos engenders even more suspicion about who is actually behind the little curtain. Osama bin Laden: Islamic terrorist, mass murderer, leftist liberal. Be suspicious, be very suspicious.
Oh well, people should read it for themselves. At least he makes the point that there is no inherent difference between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. We are indeed all worshipping the same God. Granted I don’t think his call for the west to adopt Islam is going to get many converts, but gotta admire his optimism. All I know is that as long as Osama is alive and spreading his message, he will inspire more terror, more resistance to the west, and more justification for our endless war on terror. Frankly I think we should have just taken up the Taliban’s offer to turn him over to a neutral country for trial, Osama as a common criminal would have been preferable the almost mythical status he has achieved by dodging the US for six years. Heck, even today he issued another new tape urging Muslims to join the “caravan of martyrs” in attacks on the west. Wonderful, OBL, the Energizer Bunny® of terror.
As for General Petraeus and his report to Congress on how the surge in Iraq is working, guess what! He says the surge is working! Was anyone on the planet surprised he said that? I hope not. Despite the administration’s claims that they will listen to the military…they have a well established history of not listening to the military…and military leaders that don’t say what the administration wants to hear have very short careers. So it’s no surprise they found a tough looking general who is willing to say what the administration wants him to say, the General Westmoreland of our times. Poor guy.
Since the “surge” wasn’t really a surge at all and consisted primarily of a new name for our “hang in there and hope things turn around” strategy, it’s not surprising they are reporting it as a success. For four plus years now the administration has been claiming that its occupation of Iraq was a good idea and we are just about to turn the corner. Basically as long as things didn’t get significantly worse in Iraq, they could claim the surge was working. A confusing bloody quagmire by almost anyone’s definition simply spun as a “victory in progress.” God help our brave men and women in Iraq, because Congress and the administration aren’t going to. Not to mention no one is helping the poor Iraqis caught in this mess.
Six years on, and no disrespect to the victims and their families intended, but I think its high time we put 9/11 behind us and started moving forward again. Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered hundreds of 9/11s in the wars we justified in its name, our continuing obsession with an event that once got us the world’s sympathy is turning into almost an embarrassment. Way too many Americans have used and continue to use 9/11 as a vehicle to promote their political agendas or drive federal dollars into their coffers, the cult of 9/11 is frankly turning into something ugly.
The fact that people have even claimed the USA “needs another 9/11” and people think “terrorism” every time a pipe explodes or a truck crashes shows just how morbidly obsessed with 9/11 we are. 9/11 is six years in the past, it’s time to move on and base our national self image and foreign policy on current events and what we can realistically accomplish. We are never going to be able to rid the world of evil, and our attempts to do so by the power of our military, with the twin torches of “9/11” and “democracy” in hand, are making the situation worse, not better. The “War on Terror” is a disservice to the memory of all those who fell that terrible day.
God rest the souls of all who fell on 9/11, God grant peace to their friends and family, God grant us all the wisdom to learn something from this tragedy.
Our Father, which art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
The Lord’s Prayer, 1662 Common Book of Prayer, Anglican Church, from Matthew 6:9-13 and Gospel of Luke 11:2-4.
(The above image of the WTC attacks was taken by a federal employee in the course of his job, and is thus pubic domain under US copyright law. Why this picture? Think about this: If Al-Qaeda hated us for our freedoms, why did they attack military, economic, and political targets? Why didn’t they attack the greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known? Credit: National Park Service)