In May 7 IssueBy John Thompson, Columnist
We've killed the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Truly it's at most a symbolic victory. We haven't heard from the man in years, and even then it's been by short recorded messages that, when we hear them, are never confirmed by voice recognition whether they're actually from him or not.
Even if we got confirmation from the CIA or FBI that the messages were authentic, is that really reason to believe they're authentic? Every move, every gesture, every action and statement released by our government agencies is calculated these days, to take advantage of full propagandic effect.
So anyway, let's say he's now really dead. What have we won? I sure know we've lost a lot over the last decade, so what have we won? Freedom? Security? We've lost freedom; we will likely never feel secure as we did prior to 911.
But most of the fears were hollow; fear levels were supposed to rise and fall according to a color coded chart. We received messages to be very afraid, mixed with messages to go out and enjoy America… take your kids to Disney World, spend money you don't have and get the economy going. But just remember that a mushroom cloud may appear at any moment.
Bin Laden didn't cause nearly as much terror in this country as the government, the media, and our own infantile imaginations did. But we needed those years of terror, otherwise how would we have built up our ability to rationalize a decade of constant bombing and occupation in the Middle East.
For oil, remember. You'll not convince me otherwise. Of course we've entered an age of resource wars. They say water will be next, and it will be a big one.
Again, it won't amount to a hill of beans as far as domestic policy in the United States is concerned, nor foreign policy for that matter. We're now well entrenched in the Middle East. Mission accomplished.
Bin Ladens mission is not yet accomplished. His goal was much bigger. But he's well on his way. His mission was to draw the United States into a protracted war that would highlight brutalities, xenophobia, and the subjugation of the Arab world, so they would finally rise up and take on the West, for good. He couldn't get the Arab world to do it on it's own, so why not get the United States to do it?
We were happy to oblige. A cabal known as the "Neoconservatives" had occupied the White House. Not Bush, but nearly all that surrounded him. Their creed was that our duty, as the sole superpower, was to go the world over, righting wrongs, mainly by introducing "Democracy" by force.
The truth is, Osama Bin Laden was irrelevant then and is irrelevant now in the big picture. I'm not the only one who thought so. Just six months after the 911 attacks, and after months of talk from President Bush about how we were going to "smoke him out of his cave" like it was some kind of western movie, Bush had this to say about the irrelevancy of Bin Laden; "Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not. We haven't heard from him in a long time. The idea of focusing on one person really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. He's just a person who's been marginalized. … I don't know where he is. I really just don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you."
Yes indeedy, people just weren't understanding the scope of the mission. The scope of the mission was to take over the Middle East while getting the mass of people in the U.S. on board by terrorizing them. It's a funny thing, back when all the news outlets were beating the war drums for Iraq, as requested by the government and the weapons manufacturers (and non coverage of the largest mass demonstration in world history, throughout the world)… at that time lots were for going to Iraq, as they were somehow behind 911.
It's taken years and years, but finally people are beginning to see that Iraq had nothing to do with 911, but it would be too uncomfortable to then make that other leap and realize we brutalized, tortured and terrorized a country for no reason, but now you can't hardly get anyone to admit they were for going to Iraq… oh no, they were for Afghanistan, but not for Iraq. I was one of those who really was for going into Afghanistan, but not Iraq. Now I know we shouldn't have done Afghanistan. Ah, humanity, we're nothing if not gullible. Turns out, John Kerry was right, it should have been a police action. We should have utilized out "secret" agents like Israel does Mosad, and dispatch them around and kill those who needed killing. Why didn't we? Because that would not have transferred our countries coffers into the bank accounts of the weapons manufacturers, nor the world's leading oil and construction contractors.
The result of our excursions has been to totally deplete our coffers. Osama Bin Laden is well on his way to accomplish his mission. But what were his reasons? We've been told it's because he (they) hate our freedom. Did we really eat up this incredibly childish explanation? I suppose we could have listened to Bin Laden as he told us the reasons…. They didn't want us in the Middle East, especially in his home country of Saudi Arabia. But then he's been making that clear since the first gulf war 20 years ago.
So what has the killing of Osama Bin Laden accomplish? The Patriot Act (the curbing of civil rights, loss of privacy), Extraordinary Rendition (a torture by proxy method in which we took 'combatants' to countries that will torture), Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (read: our own torture), the death of Habeus Corpus (allowing indefinite imprisonment without trial.. or even charges!), and of course what has to be a rulers favorite, Obama's executive order allowing him to order citizens shot if he deems it fit (if you don't believe me, look for Executive Order 12333).
Of course there's much more. so much in fact I'm fairly certain that my reading habits have probably precluded me from being able to fly, which is ok, since a growing majority of Americans won't be able to afford to anyway.
In another wonderful Bush quote, and I might have to do another Bush quote column one day, considering that some think Obama has been Bush's equal on the destruction of the American language which is totally laughable, but Bush said that we had to go after Saddam Hussein, because ""The war on terror involved Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself."
This is what we've done over the past decade. Terrorize ourselves. It helps justify the daily killing of people who are fighting to not have their country occupied. And we're going broke doing it.
In the scheme of things, I don't have a problem with killing Osama Bin Laden. It is my opinion that it was a good idea to give him a burial at sea, as any burial spot would immediately become a shrine to a martyr. Symbolic stuff like that is mighty powerful. Mankind lives on symbolism. It's also my opinion that it was a good idea to afford him full burial rights as a Muslim, not because of any notion that I think he be treated "fairly" or anything na´ve like that. No, only to not further inflame the Muslim world.
What if we had taken Bin Laden alive? That, I can assure you, was not going to happen. Already there are reports out that the Obama administration's changing story on his killing is causing some rumblings in other parts of the world. But can you imagine the secrets he could tell, having been what basically amounts to an operative of the CIA back when Bin Laden was fighting the Russians with our help?
That would have been very messy for the U.S..... better to make him messy.
European countries are taking the new information that Bin Laden was not armed, did not use his wife as a shield, and the possibility that the unarmed man was killed very seriously. An article in the New York Times says while it does not put us on the same footing as when Bush unilaterally invaded Iraq, it is doing a lot in discrediting Obama, who characterized the killing as "American justice."
My question, and it's the only one I've really posed to people, is; now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, does that mean we can have our freedom back? Can we go back to pre-911? My 13 year old niece comes to mind. She does not have memories pre 911. She will never know what it once was like to not have your whole world in some way colored by the event of that day, and the fear it induced in Americans, which is now a part of our national psyche. Much like the Great Depression, or the Cold War threat of nuclear annihilation molded the minds of the growing generation; 911 will be the defining event of this generation. And in that way, Osama Bin Laden did win, but only because the event was used as a tool by the masters of this country and their unwitting minions.