Osama Bin Laden is Still Dead
The death of OBL is the most significant historical event I have ever been around to blog about. At least in terms of current American history. For the past decade OBL and 9/11 have been one of the primary themes of the American experience. From almost the hour of 9/11 Osama was made out to be an enemy of almost mythical proportions. Well, the myth is dead. I wonder what else will die with him? This is a very speculative post. I speculate that the USA will take this wonderful opportunity to make the world a better place and totally flub it. In fact the USA will take this opportunity to pursue its own interests in defiance of what would be good for the world and ultimately itself. Still, as with any watershed event, unexpected consequences are to be expected. My ongoing thoughts, in no particular order:
The plethora of conspiracy theories is already a cottage industry. Heck, the fact that his body has already been disposed of is mighty suspicious. In fact, it’s so suspicious … that it’s suspicious. Was the Obama administration deliberately trying to give fodder to conspiracy theorists? Very possibly. This is something that conspiracy theorists overlook. The 9/11 truthers and the birthers and such are doing exactly what the government wants … distracting the populace from the real conspiracies. The main one being that since 9/11 the USA has wildly exaggerated the threat of terror in order to justify foreign intervention, military spending, and the consolidation and expansion of federal power in unconstitutional ways.
And speaking of exaggeration, Obama made it clear that the US policy of exaggerating terror is to continue unabated. He made the claim that the death of Osama made the world a safer place. That’s always been Obama’s great strength, he can utter the most transcendentally absurd statements while looking serious and professional and presidential. The world is not safer with Osama dead, because the threat Osama posed was trivial. In comic books and Hollywood movies evil geniuses can destroy the world. In the real world, people like Osama are bit players. His resources were incredibly limited compared to the awesome firepower that say, small governments like Libya can muster. 9/11 was a fluke, as much caused by our own complacency as anything Osama did. If you piss off a midget, and turn your back on him and he sucker punches you, is the midget some sort of evil genius?
Which leads to another point that our government wants us to ignore. Yes, 9/11 was a terrible crime, killing innocents is never justified. However, and it’s a big however, Osama didn’t take up arms against the USA because he was some nutbawho hated us for our freedoms. He was a nutbar who hated us for our support of dictators in the Muslim world, the presence of American troops on Saudi soil, and our unequivocal one sided support for Israel. This doesn’t justify his actions, but it does mean the USA should seriously debate the wisdom and consequences of our foreign policy. “Kill all the bad guys” isn’t a foreign policy, it’s a recipe for endless terrorism.
We’re not safer since 9/11. The opposite in fact. Before 9/11 how any Americans died from terrorist attacks? One a month on average? Now American troops come under attack every day, and just in general the level of carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan is ghastly. Not to mention that we have taken sides in just about every insurgency on the planet. Basically our response to 9/11 was to create failed states and paint a bullseye on the back of every American everywhere. Not to mention stripping Americans of their freedoms. I’ve never understood that one, if they hate us for our freedoms, wouldn’t giving up our freedoms be doing their work for them?
Sigh. And yes, I’ll say it, I am ashamed of Americans who celebrated Osama’s death as if the USA had just won the world cup. There’s just something unseemly about celebrating a death. This wasn’t much of a victory, if any, and it certainly wasn’t justice. Justice would have been Osama getting a fair trial. That’s what once made us the good guys, not killing people in foreign lands. On the plus side at least some are calling for a reassessment of the USA’s foreign policy, especially our involvement in Afghanistan. When Americans start coming home from our foreign wars, that’s when I’ll celebrate.
In any event, this is all I have to say about Osama’s death unless there is some stunning new news. Next, fascism and fundamentalism, will we all be living under sharia law soon?
(The above image dates from World War One and is public domain under US copyright law. Its a dead German soldier mostly buried. I chose it to illustrate that there’s nothing particularly romantic or appealing about killing people, it’s just killing people. World War One didn’t end all wars, pretty much the opposite in fact. I fear Osama’s death will be the same.)