Osama Bin Laden is Dead
Well, in some of the biggest American news since 9/11, the TV is reporting that an American ground operation in Pakistan killed Osama Bin Laden. I’m watching Obama as I type, giving the most important speech of his career. I’d say I don’t know what to say, but I’d be lying. The first thing is simple, who the hell knows what this means. And President Obama just ended his speech. We have Osama’s body, a chapter in American history is over, what now? In no particular order, my random observations on this breaking news:
The first one is easy. Take anything from any source with a wheelbarrow of salt. Use the brain to interpret events, remember, leaders are always lying. To be more on point, Obama is the consummate politician, whatever he says is designed to improve his position, period. This is normal for heads of state. Most of what is passing for commentary about Osama’s death is going to be gibberish since it will be based on American propaganda about the “war on terror.” And call me a little skeptical, but the fact that Osama’s body has already been disposed of is sure to raise some conspiracy theories. It will be hard to spot the freezer burn with no body. The timing of this is certainly convenient as well, there’s a lot going on now that American’s need to be distracted from.
Moving right along, assuming Osama is really dead, what does this mean? Well, a lot of happy Americans for one. Osama was the perpetrator of a terrible crime, it’s hard to be anything but happy at his demise. Other than that, well, his death doesn’t mean all that much. Al Qaeda by its very nature is not a centralized organization, this won’t in any way, shape, or form end Al Qaeda. Nor will it end our “war on terror” since said war as never really about fighting terrorism at all but simply a propaganda cover for an interventionist colonial foreign policy.
In fact it’s entirely possible that a new “terrorist mastermind” will emerge from the shadows. It’s also possible that Osama had a videotape prepared to be released upon the event of his death, calling on his followers to carry on without him, yadda yadda yadda. I would hope that maybe America can leave 9/11 behind finally, but sadly the USA just loves to nurse old wounds forever. Very few Americans understand just how many innocent people we killed in the wars we unleashed in the name of 9/11, IE we spent the decade since 9/11 more inspiring and creating terrorists than fighting them, so one less terrorist isn’t really a big deal. And it may even rally some of Osama’s followers somewhere to a new 9/11 style attack. Great.
I guess in summation I’m mostly depressed by this turn of events. Since it’s not really going to make a difference in America’s foreign policy, nor is it going to inspire any meaningful dialog on just what the hell we have been doing overseas the past ten years. The political boost Obama gets from this may prove to be short lived indeed, it may even turn into his “Mission Accomplished” moment. When all is said and done, we bankrupted ourselves and created some terrible festering problems overseas the past ten years, none of that is going to be changed by Osama’s death. In fact most people’s elation will likely last until the next time they fill their gas tank. It will still be $5 a gallon.
A good summary of what has transpired so far can be found here. I did say this was going to be an interesting summer, and it’s sure starting out with a bang. Stay tuned for more exciting developments.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit. Credit and copyright: Photo of Arlington Cemetery from the 2008 DCist Exposed show by cstein96. I wish I could be more upbeat about Osama’s death, but so so many innocent people are dead and are still going to die because of this man, it’s hard for me to be particularly gladdened. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy is the best I can muster.)