I'm talking about the inept bombers of the United States military establishment. Over the same weekend, American armed forces "mistakenly" killed and wounded at least a hundred Syrian and Afghan soldiers in two separate oopsies. But these bombers could not possibly be described as terrorists. They're the good guys. They have protected, state-sanctioned status.
Now that law enforcement officials have identified the suspected New Jersey/New York bomber as a naturalized American citizen of Afghan descent, it has finally become safe and politically correct for us to use the "terrorist" word to describe him.
Upon hearing that the now-arrested suspect's name is Ahman Kahn Rahami and not Jim-Bob Fluke, politicians and pundits are jostling for prime camera position.
According to the New York Times, the Rahami family of Elizabeth, New Jersey are notorious operators of a restaurant ironically called First American Fried Chicken. It never closes. Customers are loud eaters. And of course, they urinate in neighbors' driveways. And every time the cops are called, the Rahamis scream discrimination. And some of them have even fled back to Afghanistan!
So, you see, American citizens, the freelance bomb-planters are upset and went on their rampage because they are bad neighbors in America, not because America invaded their home country 15 years ago and has no intention of ever leaving.
The smaller headline in today's Times smarmily describes the human carnage unleashed by American warplanes this way: "Accidental Bombing in Syria Creates New Dilemma for U.S."
As usual, when another illegal and undeclared war goes bad, it's framed around "the White House struggling to put together a coherent strategy in a multi-sided conflict":
The errant bombing, for which the administration apologized to Mr. Assad, also gave both the Russians and the Syrian government a propaganda bonanza: Russia suggested it was a result of an American reluctance to share intelligence, and the Assad government said, contrary to all other evidence, that the United States was trying to protect the Islamic State.The US insists it wants to send humanitarian assistance to the people it is killing, but the convenient scapegoat for everything from hacked emails to the rise of Donald Trump - nasty old Russia - isn't letting them. The American airstrike on anti-Isis Syrian troops and the mass violent deaths it caused have "weakened efforts to control violence," another Times subhead paradoxically complained.
It's nearly impossible to locate the tiny Times article on the most recent of many "errant" American strikes in Afghanistan, but it's still there:
A spokesman for the American-led coalition, Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, confirmed only that “we conducted an airstrike against individuals firing on, and posing a threat to, our Afghan partners in Tirin Kot on 18 September.” His statement continued: “We don’t have any further information on who those individuals might have been or why they were attacking A.N.D.S.F. forces.” The initials refer to Afghan security forces, including the military and the police. “U.S., coalition and Afghan forces have the right to self-defense, and in this case were responding to an immediate threat.”Translation: it's the fog of war, Citizens-Consumers. Since we invaded their country, we have to defend ourselves by killing global neighbors we don't have the time or the inclination to identify. It's a threat whenever we say it's a threat. From way up in the air, all those people look alike to us.
The corporate media, meanwhile, are showing some refreshing new priorities today. It turns out that it takes a domestic bomb-thrower to bump another bomb-thrower named Trump off the top of the front page.
The serious people sit back and wonder why "they" hate us for our freedoms, and want to blow things up. The word "blowback" is rarely mentioned in polite media company.
Instead, the Tweeters and talking heads argue back and forth about who uttered those careless bomb and terror words first - was it Trump or was it Clinton? Our pathological state of permanent war and mass surveillance is not a fit topic for discussion and debate in Neoliberal Horserace 2016.
Before the manhunt and ensuing arrest of Rahami, for example, NBC framed the story around Trump's irresponsible knee-jerk reaction and Clinton's more passive-aggressive blather.
The presidential candidates remained true to form in their reactions to the explosion in New York City on Saturday night, with Donald Trump sounding alarms and Hillary Clinton offering caution.
Trump, the Republican nominee, was set to take the stage in Colorado Springs just as unconfirmed reports of an explosion in downtown Manhattan started spreading over Twitter.
After waiting on his plane for about 13 minutes, he took the stage and reported what no news outlets or law enforcement had yet: that a "bomb" went off in New York City.
"Just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York, and nobody knows exactly what's going on, but boy, we are living in a time," Trump said. Exactly how Trump learned of the incident is yet to be determined.
While Clinton, the Democratic nominee, appeared to criticize Trump for immediately calling the incident a bombing, she initially referred to it the same way.
"I've been briefed about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota," she said.
Asked later to respond to Trump's calling the explosion a bombing, Clinton told NBC News that it's important to wait until jumping to conclusions.
"I think it's important to know the facts about any incident like this," she said. "I think it's always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened."
On Sunday morning, however, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to the explosions as bombs, as well, saying: "Whoever placed these bombs we will find and they will be brought to justice, period. And they will be punished."
Later Sunday, Clinton put out a statement on the "apparent terrorist attacks" in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.President Obama, meanwhile, chose to simply deny that the dozens of people who were injured and traumatized by the Homeland blasts should be feeling afraid. Because freelance terror never wins, and state-sanctioned winners never quit.
"We're going to continue to enlist tech companies, community and religious leaders to push back on extremist content online and all messages of hate," he said. "We all have a role to play as citizens."As former "defense" secretary Robert Gates warns, Trump may be "irredeemable," but Hillary needs to get even more hawkish than she already is:
“ (She must) address forthrightly her trustworthiness, to reassure people about her judgment, to demonstrate her willingness to stake out one or more positions on national security at odds with her party’s conventional wisdom, and to speak beyond generalities about how she would deal with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, the Middle East — and international trade. Whether and how she addresses these issues will, I believe, affect how many people vote — including me.”