Monday, May 02, 2011

Obama trumps Osama

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Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden

I don’t feel much like blogging today, and not just due to the (understandable) lack of any non-Osama-is-dead news out there at the moment. I don’t really have much to say on the matter; to be honest, I don’t even particularly care either way about bin Laden being dead. So, the US killed some religious extremist who, a decade ago, executed a terrible strike against its citizenry and continued to threaten many more since, although rarely with any follow-through.

Of course, I’m relieved that he’s gone – and I can’t deny a small, primeval part of me does somewhat hope his much-belated departure was painful – but when you think about what it really changes, in practical terms pertaining to everyone’s day-to-day lives … it’s just another corpse. Albeit one that millions worldwide are frenziedly cheering over. Which I find to be creepy. (Yeah, yeah, bleeding-heart liberal and all that.)

Granted, though, this does have the effect of giving President Obama an assured jolt in the polls, which, combined with the recent birth certificate release, might even make the motley bunch of GOP candidates soundly unelectable at the moment. If anything, that is good reason to cheer.

In the end, though, Radley Balko at The Agitator has the closest take to mine that I’ve seen so far: Yeah, the fucker’s dead, but one look at his legacy of terror he spawned in Americans – the vast majority of it self-imposed – and it becomes clear that putting two bullets into the decrepit old man’s skull isn’t what makes you the true victor in this matter. Given his terms and his original goals, bin Laden won. He won bigger than he could even have hoped for. And he will continue to be victorious for as long as the government is wiretapping phones without a warrant and groping passengers at airports nationwide. (Amongst innumerable other transgressions against reason and civil and human rights.)

Perhaps the silver lining in all this, at least for me, is the assured amusement to be had from the “We must now somehow find a way to criticize Obama over this!” reaction that’s more-than-certain to come from the Right. We’re already seeing Tea Partiers crowing about how Obama’s hogging the credit for it (as if he shouldn’t?) for purely political reasons, and others are engaging in their usual “we shoulda shitfucked the carcass just to piss ’em off!” schtick, seeing as they obviously can’t come up with any better way to deal with this “victory” than to act like smarmy eight-year-olds. We even have certain conspiracy theorists now waxing suspicion over the fact that the body was quickly buried at sea rather than paraded around or turned into an exhibit or something.

In short: It’s fine to be happy that bin Laden’s dead, but celebrating it in an orgy of national pride, as if the US had somehow struck a mortal blow against a great and pressing evil, is just bizarre and, frankly, wrong. One evil figurehead down; countless more future ones to go. And so the cycle perpetuates itself.