Look at those channeling, ferret eyes by onepennysheet.com
A close friend just emailed me, wondering whether it's time to give President Obama credit for overseeing a well-executed raid to avenge a "mass-murderer of innocents." No problem, as I favor full retaliation against all well-fed, religious zealots who bomb innocent civilians to instill general terror (as distinct from historic, destructive attacks on military troops and resources). Just as I condemn the Obama-Bush-Pentagon brand of war-making -- with indiscriminate, murderous drone attacks on unarmed women, children and old people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya -- bin Laden's thugs deserve harsh penalties.
What I found disheartening wasn't Obama's unpersuasive, but predictable propaganda, all to defend shooting down the unarmed bin Laden: "we are safer because he's dead" and "justice has been done." Do you feel safer? Is justice achieved by commando bullets, or trial? Now we are relieved to know White House assassination programs freely cover both citizens and foreigners.
No, what offended Monday was Obama's sustained, Bush-like deceptions, such as, "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda." Really, are they instantly defeated in dozens of countries? Is this more significant than decimating the entire Taliban Afghan stranglehold when an entire country shielded countless terrorists? More important than blocking scores of dangerous operatives before they strike? Symbolism matters but so does reality: bin Laden and his fanatics are by and large invisible across the Arab Spring, his zealotry rejected by thousands of Muslim insurgents.
My persistent focus is describing explicit mindsets, the determinant of what a leader says and does, and how he spends billions of dollars and expends thousands of lives. What struck me like a club is how much of Obama's defense of empire echoed the hated, criminal, mentally-challenged W. To wit:
So [bin Laden's] demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.
Yet, as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.
That is the story of our history, whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things, not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
No wonder Dick Cheney and death-squad neo-cons cheered the speech: they could have written it.
Justification is not Justice
Peace, dignity, security, values, prosperity, and God are all very well in their place, but not when justifying a political assassination. Killing defenseless suspects without trial is never about peace or dignity but the brute force of arms. True security is about real borders, not taking out sick, old men past their prime. If God blesses this version of injustice, then he's a suspect deity, in my backward moral and legal system.
Does Obama forget our own history, that the incredibly belligerent U.S. is never the innocent victim, as if empire and invasions don't have consequences? If Obama thinks "this fight" simply "came to our shores" unbidden and unrelated to our century of land and resource thefts, then we truly do have Bush III in the White House. Is not this very neo-con blather what voters thought they were rejecting in '08 -- as wrongheaded, oversimplified and propaganda to defend the indefensible, like Iraq?
What also stands out is the elephantine case of justice NOT not made by this Constitutional lawyer: that bin Laden was criminally responsible for 9/11. As no direct proof of mass-murder is offered, Obama's indictment of bin Laden solely rests on guilt by association: "We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe." So, was bin Laden killed for heading an enemy organization, not for masterminding 9/11 (which I am willing to believe)?
Later, Obama weakly asserted, "For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies." Again, note what's glaringly missing: no direct evidence bin Laden committed any specific terrorist action. A neutral observer from Mars could well conclude bin Laden was taken out for the evil-doing of "declaring war" on America. How dare anyone plot against us and our allies? In short, even after the fact, Obama invokes allegations about the generalized conspiracy of a disparate group. Where's any hard proof forcing a skeptical jury to convict, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond a commitment to "killing innocents in our country and around the globe"?
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