From thousands of miles away, Osama bin Laden, a seemingly shadowy and spectral figure with a graying beard and white turban, was the face of terrorism for most Americans. The leader of the radical Islamic group Al-Qaeda, bin Laden was the mastermind behind the destructive attacks of September 11, 2001, which resulted in the deaths of 3,000 people and the destruction of the World Trade Center.
On May 2, Navy SEAL Team Six, a counterterrorism unit, stormed a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan the CIA claimed housed the terrorist leader. After a firefight, bin Laden and three men were killed in the raid. There were no U.S. casualties.
Following the raid, President Barack Obama addressed the nation and said “justice has been done.” The president said he repeatedly met with his national security team for many months after information trickled in about bin laden’s whereabouts in Pakistan.
Bin Laden’s remains were buried at sea according to news sources.
As news of bin Laden’s death reached the streets, you’d have thought it was New Year’s Eve and the Yankees had won the World Series.
Yet a closer examination of the aftermath, particularly between liberals and conservatives reveals a huge gulf in thinking.
Facebook, that great barometer of the universe, yielded its sweet fruit shortly after the president’s speech. Almost right away, my Facebook friends posted stats about bin Laden’s demise. What I discovered were my liberal friends expressed reserves and doubts about celebrating the death of a person, even though that person was the leader of a fanatical terrorist group responsible for killing thousands of innocent people. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my conservative friends posted images of the American flag, the bald eagle, the bald eagle straddling the American flag, the Statue of Liberty taking a dump on bin Laden’s bullet-ridden corpse, etc. if you looked at the people celebrating in New York City, most were young, chanting college kids who wanted to party. Back in the adult world, people went on with their work and lives, probably realizing that finally wiping out al-Qaeda’s leader almost ten years after the 9/11 attacks was just another footnote in a long, protracted war.
Make no mistake; bin Laden was a bastard who hated Americans because to him, we were unclean infidels, allies to Israel and decadent swine who advocated rights for women while jerking off to hardcore cable porn. We were evangelical Christians who drank cheap, watery beer while watching South Park. In short, we were a mess of contradictions who suckled the teat of Arabian oil to power our hefty battleship-sized SUVs. We settled into the Middle East – bin Laden’s holy land – and wouldn’t leave. We sat our fat American asses down and made ourselves at home like some boorish houseguest.
As a result of our comfy relationship with Israel and our policies in the Middle East, bin Laden saw America as a threat.
In death, bin Laden will most likely be martyred and mythologized. He will be the leader slain by capitalist, imperialist Yanks.
Grab the duct tape and gasmasks, because the next few months will be a wild ride on a rollercoaster and the tracks are filled with nitroglycerine.
Politicizing the killing began immediately after the president announced bin Laden was killed. Liberals praised the Obama Administration’s strategy and CIA intelligence-gathering operations, while conservatives lauded former President George W. Bush’s tactics and waterboarding torture techniques as the real reason the military could locate bin Laden.
When in doubt, go with the facts.
Fact: A special CIA unit consisting of experts who were tracking bin Laden was closed in 2005.
Fact: When Obama assumed the presidency, intelligence on bin Laden’s possible whereabouts were few and far between. Since the U.S. wasn’t really exerting any real effort to locate the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, American forces had to start the hunt all over again.
Fact: Finding bin Laden was like trying to find Waldo is one of those “Where’s Waldo” books if you were blind. Information had bin Laden living in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. A grandiose manhunt with several leads and several disappointing outcomes.
Fact: Obama gave the orders to use the Navy SEAL team to sweep the compound and get bin Laden.
Experience has shown me that one person is intelligent and rational, while several people are the opposite. There’s always a determent to the pack mentality, where people seek safety in numbers and thought. When tempers flare and emotions run high, the brains are switched off in favor of white-hot razor blades of anger and fury. The ones who do cartwheels at the death of bin Laden celebrate without considering the longview of history.
Simply dragging bin Laden’s body through the streets and teabagging his dusky withered corpse isn’t going to bring the 3,000 people back who perished during 9/11. In fact, desecrating the bodies of our enemies isn’t something Americans are universally known for. During World War II, did we display Nazi heads from the gates of the White House? During Vietnam, did Nixon play bongo drums made from the tanned, stretched skins of Viet Cong?
What all of the pundits, politicos and mouth-frothing patriots realize is we’re better than that. We should not feel wrath and lash out like an angry child. We should temper our decisions with wisdom and plot carefully against those who strike at us, and after we exhibit our strength in battle, we return not as mighty conquering Romans with the spoils of war and violated bodies of our enemy’s women, but with dignity and grace.
Ideally, we should be a kind, yet proud people; thankful for our blessings and not boastful or petty.
Yet the death of bin Laden revealed our dual natures: pensive and pugnacious. We either remember the dead killed that awful day a decade ago by a fundamentalist Islamic group, or we party in the streets while waving flags and hawking T-shirts of a dead turbaned figure.
We report the news with objectivity and professionalism, or run headlines like the New York Daily News: “Rot in Hell” or the New York Daily Post “U.S. Nails the Bastard”.
Could you imagine the same macho bullshit during World War II after Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
“We Fried the Nip Bastards!”
“A-Bomb Saps the Japs!”
“Fuck You, Hirohito!”
Things like this make us look like a nation of wife-beating drunken cowboys with small penises. We’re so eager to carry the mantle of “American exceptionalism” that we forget what being exceptional really means.
For those of you too fat to walk to the bookshelf and get the dictionary, it means better than average in quality or outstanding.
Those who don’t conform to this assessment are branded apologists for the left, America haters, socialists or even worse: liberals.
The fact is, America is a great nation despite the political arguments that sound eerily similar to children on a school yard arguing who’s stronger: Popeye or Mighty Mouse. Sure, there’s retarded bullshit everywhere, but it’s the kind of retarded bullshit which develops and evolves in a truly free society.
In short, it’s our retarded bullshit.
So there are those who rally that bin Laden is dead, just like there are those who over-analyze foreign policy to the umpteenth degree like Adrian Monk checking his sanitizing wipes.
These differences make this country great and give bloggers like me grist for the mill.
Now I must bid you adieu, gentle reader. A large pint of beer awaits me at the local tavern as I celebrate with orgiastic glee the untimely demise of bin Laden’s pet goldfish Hammed.