Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama is Dead, But We're Still in a Mess

Killing Osama bin Laden was like squashing an aged infertile spider long after it had already spawned thousands of genetic copies of itself to keep the toxin spreading.  While I'm happy that this monster no longer draws breath, neither am I dancing in the streets and waving the American flag.  I am glad if survivors and relatives of 9/11 victims are able to find closure today. I'll be really glad if the President uses the occasion to declare "Mission Accomplished: the troops are coming home!" -- but we know that's not gonna happen.  

While I was awaiting the President's speech last night, I endured Wolf Blitzer and John King's pontifications on the Most Important Day Ever, in the History of the Entire Universe.  During a lull, Wolf conducted a telephone interview with a New York City firefighter who spent days at Ground Zero and subsequently developed cancer, probably from breathing in all those toxins the EPA blithely assured us were all perfectly innocuous.  The exchange ended like this (No transcript - I am paraphrasing).

Firefighter:  "And now that we finally got him, I hope that we can bring the troops home from Afghani-"

Blitzer:  "Back to you, John!  I see since our cameras lit up the scene in front of the White House, thousands are gathering and singing The Star Spangled Banner!" 

Cynic that I am, I have to wonder about that massive compound surrounded by razor wire, practically right next door to Pakistan's version of West Point, going unnoticed all these years.  Doesn't the CIA have Google Earth?  Didn't they talk to the neighbors, who have noticed for a long time that the occupants of the compound never brought out any freaking garbage?  Does the timing have anything to do with the killing of K-Daffy's grandkids by a NATO strike getting all that bad press?  Did they think Osama's death would cancel out that collateral damage?

I don't know.  Meanwhile, let's forget all about this week's congressional deregulation of the financial industry and the Treasury's plan to exempt trillions of dollars of foreign exchange trades from any pesky oversight. Let's pretend there is not 25 percent real unemployment and show the nervous markets how confident we all feel.  Let's all go shopping and take in a Broadway show.


Kate Madison said...

I posted this on Reality Chex last night. I still believe it today, so here we go.....

Well.....we done it. Osama bin Laden, he is dead. Very dead. Deader than a doornail. DNA says so, also the CIA. Now....let us leave Afghanistan. Immediately, if not sooner. After all, is that not the reason we were there in the first place? If Bushwack, Chenfeld and Rummy had not so busy planning to get Al Queda in Iraq, bin Laden would have been killed at Tora Bora. Remember that? Cheney said we did not have the soldiers or the time to deal with him then. I fail to see why it is such a big deal now. Just waaaay too much water under that bridge! But it should ensure Obama's reelection. Nobody can say he is "soft on terrorism" now, unless the Republicrazies start shouting the killing was faked and Osama is alive and well in Disneyland.

STOP THE BOMBING (i.e., creating new terrorists) and BRING OUR SOLDIERS HOME!

Marvel said...

Oh, how I'd like to know what percentage of those waving their flags and shouting USA USA USA actually voted in last November's elections.

dreamsamelia said...

Dear, dear me...not even Gail Collins, who loves to come up with saucy imagery, could have come up with your
"aged infertile spider long after it had already spawned thousands of genetic copies of itself to keep the toxin spreading."
At least now when we step in the toxin, we know what it truly is....
You don't rival any columnist at the Times: you lead the way for them to follow. For once, the grass is greener on the _outside_ of the fence, far outside the Times paywall.
This image is MY best rebuttal to the ever weaving webs of the wicked spin on terror...thank you!

BobN said...

An interesting comment just heard on Minnesota's NPR affiliate, from an American over in France. She said that the news there is mostly about how Americans are reacting (waving flags at GZ, etc). The news is not about what a great accomplishment this is for the US; rather, it's about how we are behaving, about our morality, and about how we are acting very much as the Iraqis did on 9/11. What is the difference between us? Why do we think we are so morally upright?

I tend to agree with you, Karen, about the timing. I can only believe that they knew where he was for a long time. This is an October surprise, about 18 months ahead of schedule. Early enough to avoid suspicion, yet still help O's campaign and his poll numbers.

John in Lafayette said...

@ BobN:

If that is, indeed, the way the French feel, then shame on them. While I am extremely uncomfortable with celebrating anyone's death - even someone as contemptible as Bin Laden - there is a world of difference between celebrating the mass murder of inoocents and celebrating the demise of the mass murderer. Conflating the two is merely another instance of French anti-Americanism. Nobody hates arrogance quite so much as the arrogant.

The French celebrated the death of Hitler, after all.

The optimist in me would like to believe that the release of the birth certificate and the move on Bin Laden were, perhaps, an attempt on Obama's part to give himself some badly needed political capital. We shall see.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

“After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.” Says our Prez. Well, SOME poor souls know the cost of war but for most Americans (and Australians), it is a vague image quickly put to the back of our minds. If anything, what we really mourn is the actual cost in dollars - but not enough to call a halt to all this crap. Personally, I found the whole speech anti-climatic. We caught Saddam and now we caught Osama, yet we still go forward with this senseless war, making more enemies by the day.

Yes, Karen, I too thought it was interesting it took our brilliant intelligence officers months (years?) to find Osama hidden in broad daylight.

Like Kate, the only thing that would have given me cause for celebration would have been the announcement, “Osama is dead. The war is over. We are bringing our troops home!”

A great man said...

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" —Martin Luther King, Jr.

GS Chandy said...

President Obama has apparently 'resolved' the Osama problem (though by no means has he resolved the terrorist problem).

Nor - despite the significant improvements he has made over his predecessor's foolish policies - has he taken any serious steps to resolve the real issues that confront the US (and the world): education; resource depletion; poverty reduction (in the US or elsewhere); global warming; pollution; ... (etc, etc, etc)