Already the story is starting to unravel, mutate, transmogrify. Government statements that were presented as gospel truths in every media outlet in the world, and which served as the basis for ten thousand earnest, serious commentaries, turn out, one day later, to have been false.
We had been told -- by the president's top "counterterrorism adviser," John Brennan -- that Osama had been "engaged in a firefight" when he was gunned down by American agents. This was not true; it turns out that he was unarmed when they shot him in the head. We were told that the base coward used his wife as a human shield while he pumped hot lead at America's boys. This was not true. There were no human shields -- although Osama's wife was shot in the leg, while another woman, wife to a bin Laden aide, was shot and killed by the agents.
Of course, even these new officially released"facts" must be taken with a grain of salt, since they spring from the same impenetrable murk of the security apparat from whence the original story of the raid emerged. Will these new details change tomorrow?
(Meanwhile, actual reporters doing actual reporting independently uncovered another falsehood in the first story: the compound that was raided in Abbottabad was not a "million-dollar mansion," but a rather ordinary house in a middle-class area, worth about $250,000.)
In any case, we are told by the Fightin' Patriotic Progressives who now stand foursquare behind the apparat that we should not trouble our little heads over these "discrepancies." Such things are to be expected in the "fog of war." (But didn't the president and his national security team -- including John Brennan -- actually watch the raid unfold on live video feed? Didn't Brennan see what happened with his own eyes?)
Or if not fog, then the original misinformation can be put down to "subconscious" mythologizing, as Digby tells us. ("I think it was mythologizing for the sake of mythologizing, even if it was subconscious.") Our leaders wanted an old-fashioned cowboy shoot-out for the big climax of the bin Laden story, and so, somehow, the counterterrorism chief of the United States just, you know, subconsciously rearranged the facts to fit the myth. But as Digby sternly warns us: "Let's not get stupid. The fact that they embellished doesn't mean it didn't happen." That's true; but "the fact that they embellished" does mean that we would be, well, stupid to accept anything that belches forth from the Secret State at face value.
I don't mean to pick on Digby; but the post linked above serves as an
almost perfect example of the moral schizophrenia that has gripped the
progressive movement since the advent of Obama. At one point, she
rightly notes that no one would have been bothered if the Administration
had admitted from the start that bin Laden was unarmed when they killed
him. As she says, the assassination scenario was duly praised by such
rock-ribbed liberal icons as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; and she
notes, astutely, "I don't think there's any political downside, and in
fact it probably makes them look more macho in the eyes of the people."
(Indeed; all manner of liberals have been exulting in the new image of Obama the Heroic Hit Man. For example, Juan Cole and James Wolcott -- both long-time scourges of the witless, brutal militarism of the Bush Regime -- posted up a lolcat-style photo of a cool, grinning Obama in shades, emblazoned with the tagline, "Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate -- I was too busy killing Osama bin Laden.")
Digby then goes on to offer up another telling -- and damning -- insight:
"Besides, the question of whether the president could order an assassination was settled some time ago. They assert the right to keep prisoners in jail forever and kill American citizens, and nobody cares, so why in the world would there be any domestic blowback for ordering the death of the world's most wanted man?"
Here is where the schizophrenia sets in. It is obvious, from this and
other posts, that Digby is horrified and outraged at Obama's open claim
of this universal license to kill and imprison with impunity. That is,
she fully recognizes that the United States government is led by a man
who believes he can murder anyone he pleases, at any time, at his own
arbitrary decision. She knows that he has used this power over and over,
most extensively in Pakistan, where even by the most conservative
estimates hundreds of innocent people -- including many women and
children -- have been killed in Obama's drone missile campaign.
But this is not simply a case of lesser evilism in a system where all
the alternatives are grim -- i.e., "Well, Göring is a monster but he's
probably marginally better than Hitler; let's support a bloody coup to
install him as Fuhrer." No; Digby and many other progressives whose
writings show they are perfectly aware of the atrocities that Obama has
committed and the evil policies he embraces -- such as the unrestricted
license to kill -- still display an active affection and celebratory
support for him. To them, even though he has killed these people and
claimed these awful powers, he is still one cool guy.
Witness their delight at Obama's comedy routine at the Correspondent's Dinner last week, when he poked fun at the pathetic Donald Trump, garnering big yocks from the Beltway elite -- even as NATO missiles were killing three young grandchildren of Moamar Gadafy: more child sacrifices offered up on the altar of our modern Molochs. They didn't even notice.