If it's crap ... We'll tell you
For a country that was founded on freedom, we sure have a fetish for submission. In grade school, while I was never forced to stand during the morning Pledge of Allegiance, everyone around me made a conscious effort to make me feel traitorous for not doing so. This feeling was no different than my parents never forcing me to read the Bible before I went to bed at night, but constantly reminding me that I was Hell-bound if I didn't pick it up at some point. What shocks me most is that, with all of the right-wing's efforts to distance Obama from America through racist conspiracy and religious slandering, the president continues to ram bipartisanship and familial inclusiveness down the throats of American citizens.
Just as with the recent budget compromise, Obama praised the assassination of 9/11 orchestrator Osama bin Laden as an example of what happens when America comes together to get something accomplished, as one nation under God. This is not a professional blog, so I don't have an obligation to not say, "Fuck you," in response to this, so I won't resist the urge. "Fuck you, Obama."
The religious pandering aside, I didn't ask for Osama bin Laden's blood on my conscious and I'm not even someone who disagrees with our initial reasons for going to war in Afghanistan. One of the few intelligent decisions George W. Bush made was his refusal to negotiate with terrorists after 9/11 by offering a simple proposal: surrender Osama bin Laden, or we will invade. Do I doubt that bin Laden would have been executed if he was surrendered? No, not after what happened with Saddam Hussein. But, "surrender" at least implies an attempt to see him captured alive. Nothing I've heard about this operation says the same for Obama.
Barely twelve hours after the announcement and there's already reporting on what this means for Obama come the 2012 election. I'm not here to start any idiotic conspiracies about Obama holding off the news of bin Laden's death for weeks. However, everything from the out-at-sea burial to the speech itself piques my suspicion that the kill order was made in order to avoid any political controversy that would come from the proposed capture. Obama has already taken slack for stalling on closing Guantanamo Bay even after the alarming numbers of detained innocents were reported. If bin Laden were denied a similar detention, what would that say about him allowing the torture of merely suspected terrorists? And how would he counter criticism that holding bin Laden would incite further attacks from Al Queda? Oh well, Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight though so I guess we'll just see how this plays out, right?
Honestly, I could have accepted such a blatant opportunistic move if Obama didn't pass the torch onto all of us with his aforementioned speech closer. Worse yet, numerous Americans are rolling with this, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" outside the White House and waving their flags in victory. When foreigners look at this display and hear Obama cheering us on, does anyone wonder why bin Laden made an example of over 3,000 American citizens instead of just the politicians whose reckless foreign policy fueled tensions between his country and ours?
I'm sure more than a few of those celebrating bin Laden's death know that this will likely do little to end the war or reform the White House foreign policy, and are therefore treating this as an acknowledgment of a smaller victory. I won't deny you that. It amazes me too how, after all the top brass's bullying of central intelligence over the last decade, they still have the nerve to congratulate them. It amazes me that, after lobbying against healthcare for 9/11 first responders, the government still thanks them for their dutiful sacrifice. And, it amazes me that, after working against them by funding the Pakistani dictatorships that hid bin Laden, the White House wants to spin this long journey as the success of our brave military.
All that said, we know that this a president who has stated that he needs to be pushed to make due on his own campaign promises; so to those of you who celebrated last night, I don't want to hear any complaint down the line about Obama beingsatisfied with his performance after you showered him with praise. Perhaps it's hypocritical of me to criticize Obama for thinking about his reputation (by washing his hands of bin Laden) and then criticizing you for not thinking about the country's, but that's just how things work out. We have more at stake than just a future presidential election. It's not even about letting the terrorists win by, as David Sirota put it, "vaguely mimicking those we say we despise." Fuck the terrorists. The minute we give them the privilege of comparing them to us is when we lose. Our job as citizens is to be better than our government because that's the way we earn our platform to demand change. Just like when I still refused to pledge to the flag when my peers claimed, "You must hate America," for not doing so, you don't have to wave your flag when the government it tries to convince you that, otherwise, "You must want Osama bin Laden alive to attack us again."
Update: Yesterday, I watched a bit of NBC news (not a source I necessarily trust, but it doesn't matter in this case) and they took an online poll asking whether viewers would've rather seen bin Laden captured dead or alive. All said "dead," but one specifically said to "save the burden of a trial." This is what I'm referring to when I say we should be acting better than our government. This is the same justification for keeping Guantanamo Bay open. This person sounds like one of those vengeful, impulsive plaintiffs you see in every clichéd court drama. A trial should never be considered a burden; it's a right. If bin Laden legitimately died in a firefight, I don't have a problem because this is war. However, this firefight was part of a kill mission, which changes the context entirely.
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