Monday, May 30, 2011

Abbottabad Musings

Now that the twenty-four hour news cycle has fully chewed through the events that lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden it is well past time for a little reflection.  We have gotten over the rush, the emotional high of them moment, can we put the flags away and stop treating this as some sort of sporting event?  Can we dispense with who deserves the credit for the “win” and actually consider how this event played out?

I have a sneaking suspicion that the SEAL team mission was an assassination, or “wet op” from the very beginning. That would explain the confused messaging from the White House, and the way the story changed as the days progressed. Every time the official story rubbed up against other claims, the official story changed. The story went from a vicious fire-fight,  to OBL getting whacked like Mo Green in the Godfather. It was ugly to watch the White House attempt at damage control.

It is beyond irritating to watch official Washington attempt to “control the narrative.”  They are so bad at it. It is like they still do not understand how the twenty-four hour news cycle works. It is like they do not understand how the modern media has resources via technologies that bring new data into the mix almost instantaneously. Abbottabad may seem the ends of the earth to the DC elites, but it sill has cell phone towers. Massaging the message no longer works. Government flacks are much better off in telling the unvarnished truth, because BS gets called out early and often.

For whatever reason the Administration decided to treat the general public like children. Most likely this is because the whole Long Form idiocy made Team Obama conclude we were children. Maybe they thought that an honest admission of the mission of SEAL team six would cause the Arab street go berserk.  So how did telling that first day fairy tail work out? It did not. The Taliban went on a rampage anyway, and the general U.S. Public was too busy giving each other high fives to really care how or why OBL met his end. The whole business appeared to be deception for deceptions’ sake; deception as SOP.

Was this poorly told fairy tale supposed to distract us from some of the more worrisome issues emanating from the death of OBL? If so, chalk that up as another fail for Team Obama. All it did was activate the antenna of the very people Obama was attempting to lull into a stupor. They still had a problem with how this went down. Succinctly put the question became : “When did Barack Obama become Judge, Jury, and Executioner?”  When did Obama become ensconced in the  divine right of kings?

There are plenty of smart people out there who claim that this was the only way OBL could be brought to justice. These “pragmatists” point out the overarching difficulty of not only capturing OBL alive, but ever bringing him to trial. They are correct in one respect, our justice system has devolved so badly, has been become rotten to the core with petty politics, that trying OBL would have been a nightmare. Still, what a sad commentary on how stupid, lazy, and corrupt we as a nation we have become. Only two generations ago we and our allies we able to try Nazi war criminals. Today, we can’t be bothered to bring a nihilist Saudi millionaire to the bar of justice. It is just too much work. Core principles? Who needs them? We have SEAL teams, we have drones, screw it, just waste those suckers.

I wonder if we will be so cavalier when another nation decides to use our methods against people they find annoying?  Will we say “good job” to the Chinese if they were to blow up the Dali Lama via their version of a Predator? After all, as far as the Chinese are concerned, the Dali Lama is a dangerous separatist who is an existential threat to the unity of the nation.  Not the same thing as OBL, you say? The Dali Lama is a man of peace, while OBL was a murdering thug,you say? The Chinese may disagree. Who gets to set the standards here? Why do we, the US, get to kill whomever we please (in the national interest, as part of the war on terror) and they don’t. Remember we came within a hair’s breath of killing Qaddafi and a Yemeni cleric by the same means. We have killed numerous Al Qaeda operatives, and not a few innocent by-standers, in Pakistan, via our drones. How come the US gets to play fast and loose with the notion of sovereignty but no one else? I truly wonder if these “pragmatists” will be as willing to give other nations the carte blanch that they have handed the US.

I have a big problem with how this happened. We got a treasure trove from his Pakistan home, who knows what a competent FBI interrogation team may have teased out of an alive and kicking OBL? More importantly it would have been better all around if OBL had stood trial for what he truly was; a murdering thug, a nihilist jackass who covered his misanthropy with a degenerate notion of Islam.  Not only should he have been tried by the laws of the United States, but he should have been held culpable by Sharia. That did not happen, we did not have a full accounting. We failed because our political system can no longer handle these grave matters of justice. We are far too busy playing stupid games of partisan got-cha. We are far too busy feeding the corporatist monster. We are far too busy corrupting our Democracy with mountains of cash. We don’t do justice anymore.

The final end of Osama was expedient, I will give you that. Still, how much more of our Democracy, how much more of our Constitutional rights, are we going to surrender for the sake of expediency? We have already given away vast swaths of our 4th and 5th Amendment rights in the GWOT, and its older bastard brother, the War on Drugs. We have gone very far down the rabbit hole of the police state, and have nothing to show for it other than the corpse of OBL. And we don’t really have OBL. We don’t even have the photo of his demise; Dad thinks it might cause problems. We would not want to spike the football now would we? If we are good little children, and we fill out the FIOA paperwork out just right, we might get to see the pictures twenty years hence. What about our 1st Amendment right to be informed about what our government is doing for us and to us? Sorry, that is not expedient, the Constitution is just a piece of paper after all.
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