Yay. I suppose.

Doubtless, the death of Osama Bin Laden will produce such a tremendous volume of analysis that we won’t have a fuckin’ clue what we actually think about it by the time it’s finished.

Which is fine. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it means a whole hell of a lot. I’m glad it’s finally done; I think we probably did the right thing in shooting him in the head. This isn’t a statement I make lightly; I’m a firm believer in due process. But neither do I see that there was a different outcome possible, nor do I think we would have learned anything or benefited from the trial in any particular.

But we’re nowhere near finished even telling one another how one should feel about it.

Discussion of whether or not it’s time to create some kind of legal framework for assassination (or anything else) is pretty much a non-starter. Meanwhile, missions in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue pretty much unchanged by this development as we’re still apparently attempting to establish stability. Or something. Oil.

Meanwhile, you have Libya contrast to Syria — the difference being that the former got sick of being shot and started a revolution and the latter appears committed more to peacefully being shot and martyred, both of whom have contributed more in a few months to making Al Qaeda irrelevant than we’ve been able to do with the best military in the world. Fronts the military nothing; best army in the world ain’t worth a shit if it’s sent off on stupid missions. We probably should get the fuck outta dodge (without blowing off our UN commitment to Libya) and let the place seek whatever it’s natural equilibrium is.

But then the military’s also very serious about the impact of peak oil and climate change as a threat multiplier over the next 40 years — a time during which, incidentally, the UN is projecting global population will peak around 9-10 billion. So the notion of NOT having a military presence in MENA during that period? Let’s be real; we ever find ourselves with too much of our supply cut off, we’ll start starving off pretty quickly.

Meanwhile, we have a monolithic “security” framework chock-a-bloc with old and new acronyms that nobody can keep tabs on, new technologies running amok, and probably a few actual threats out there to keep things interesting. The global war on terror isn’t going anywhere.

But we should seriously be declaring victory, finally, and rolling up the tents.

And that’s what’s remarkable; zero sense of closure. This, in spite of the fact that, whatever was left of Al Qaeda to begin with has been reduced to the irrelevance of a scarecrow.

We won. Why doesn’t it feel like it?

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  • Comments (5)
    • jane
    • May 4th, 2011

    kind of agree .. though feeling it’s very dangerous to be at all triumphal …. and now he’s a martyr, etc etc …

      • Max Bell
      • May 4th, 2011

      U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

  1. Seven Billionth Baby

    According to United Nations, the symbolic six billionth baby was born in Bosnia on Oct.12,1999.

    When ( – and where ) will the seven billionth baby get born ?

    As to “ When “,you can make a quick calculation from the following figures of the number of babies born all over the world :

    > 267 per minute

    > 16,000 per hour

    > 384,000 per day

    Latest UN estimate is 31st Oct. 2011

    As to the question of “ Where ? “, my guess is, it will be India with 51 babies born every minute ( – the highest rate in entire world ! ).

    Which Indian state ? I would bet on Uttar Pradesh ( which has current population of 199.5 million ), where 11 babies are born every minute.

    With regards

    hemen parekh


    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth

    • Chet
    • May 5th, 2011

    OBL was a catalyst. His problem was he pulled the trigger a the worst time for the Arab world, when W was in office. If he had done it during Clinton or waited until after W had left office, he would have been a one termer absent the WOT, the US reaction would have been more reserved and Iraq would never have seen US boots on the ground.

    The point is, the WOT has developed a life of it’s own. OBL, as important as he was at one time, has achieved a point of irrelevance in the scheme of things. Al Q will continue without him and there are plenty of other organizations out there to take it’s place. Even as a symbol OBL had become somewhat unimportant. It’s like killing a dog after it had been cured of rabies, it served no other point than to satisfy the person it had bitten.

    Needless to say, my attitude over the whole thing is one of ambivalence. Killing him may make someone feel good at the moment, but not me. It doesn’t call back the trillions for dollars that could have been better served here in the US. Nor does it restore the lives lost in fighting the WOT. It has only brought OBL back up to relevant status and given some of the folks that hate the US a rallying point.

      • Max Bell
      • May 5th, 2011

      Yeah, I think that’s it in a nutshell; this is unlikely to produce quantitative change in our current commitments, nor will it fundamentally change the dynamic of the conflict, itself. It’s impact, in hindsight, will likely be measured purely in emotional/perceptual results that had no correlation within the material world.

      Yet it is precisely this emotional/perceptual response that will prevent any kind of a shift in policy. For all the so-called debate over “American Declinism”, nobody seems to want to admit that it’s cause is the conflation of “American Exceptionalism” with meaning “Americans are better than everyone else because they’re Americans” — or call it for what it is. While there’s a lot of dancing around the subject, “patriotism” barely runs a distant second to “Christianity” in meaning whatever the individual claiming at the time defines it to mean, and is considered similarly beyond reproach, forcing anyone critical or skeptical of the claim to accept the stated intent behind the declaration at face value.

      The other day, I quoted myself, saying “Success means causing someone else to fail”, an idea, to me, so self-evidently false that it was unthinkable that anyone would mistake it for anything besides sarcastic humor. I shouldn’t have been shocked that someone I didn’t know actually agreed, but I do recall wondering, seriously, if I would be able to explain it to that person if that was, in fact, what they really believed in the first place.

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