Monday, May 2, 2011

Excuse Me While I Remember To Be Human [UPDATED TWICE]

UPDATE #2: Again, a better-said way of expressing my concerns here.
UPDATE: Here is what a sober, well-written version of my point looks like.

Ah, facebook. Nothing makes me feel more connected to the human race, and at the same time more saddened by it. There has been a predictable but none-the-less nauseating wank-fest of comments about the killing of Bin Landen. I'm going to try to explain why I'm not jumping for joy.

For starters, I am not particularity saddened by the death of a violent person who has caused so much harm and grief. It's the jingoistic, idiotic, inhuman, ignorant crap that I have a problem with. NOBODY is defending Bin Laden. But this doesn't accomplish anything of substance, and just reminds me that we learn NOTHING about why he did what he did (he hates our freedom, duh duh dribble splurt) and accept NOTHING about the consequences of our brutal, imperial terror that we inflict on countless millions of innocent souls. And we act like the victim. Pathetic. So, excuse me if I don't jump on the red, white, and blue bandwagon of self-satisfied hubris.

This is really only an event if you are interested in some petty form of revenge. It does nothing to stop or slow the people who will do us harm. It does nothing to address the underlying causes of this brand of terrorism (remember, it isn't terrorism when we or our friends do it). It doesn't end the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Trade Center is still gone. Those people are still dead. And the spiritual bankruptcy that this event has elicited makes my heart ache. This is not a time for joy or celebration. This is a time for sober reflection, for self-awareness and honesty about who we REALLY are as a nation and a people, and what we REALLY do to our fellow human beings.

The fact is the United States, aided and abetted by the indifference or active support of its citizens, is in fact an instrument of great suffering, the likes of which OBL could never have dreamed of. This is so well-documented as to be unworthy of further discussion.

We were still lied into an unnecessary war in Iraq. Afghanistan has been a disaster, and the legitimacy of that invasion is an open question. The dude was in fucking PAKISTAN, one of our supposed allies. And not in some cave. "At the time of his death, bin Laden was reportedly living in a heavily fortified mansion just a mile from the Pakistani army’s principal military academy".  This doesn't make you stop and wonder what is really going on?

I'm also disgusted by those on the left who have talked about this as some kind of political opportunity for Obama. Playing politics with terror is disgusting. I haven't bothered to read the right-wing response.

So have your lizard-brain reactive triumphalism. Have your worthless sense of revenge. Bask in the glory of spending ten years and who knows how many resources killing one man. But whatever you do, so not stop to think that your country is also killing countless other who are not so clearly "bad guys." Don't seek higher ground, don't consider why this whole chain of events began. Stay ignorant, stay barbaric, and GOD BLESS THE USA!!!!

Ah, almost forgot the inappropriate Billy Joel song:


  1. I'm not sure what the 'right' tactic would have been. Some of the brands of celebration are gross, to me. Vile. Osama's head on a stick, for instance in a graphic stating, 'Game Over.' Drunken frat party-esque celebrations by millions with camera phones. I wonder what their real motivation is for being there.

    However, I can't live in the simplicity of 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind' because I haven't lived in a situation where I was required to deal with violent, oppressive people first-hand. I've never had to kill anyone, or defend anyone from being killed. I've had the luxury of a somewhat easy life from the comfort of my home, focused on my little world, looking outside every once in a while to wistfully wish for peace from the bottom of my heart, but never to be tossed directly into the fray, dealing with the sad realities of war.

    So, I celebrate the death as a symbol of relief to those directly affected by 9/11. I wish that things were different, I wish that it never happened, I wish, with all of the differing personalities in this world, that we'd somehow jive in near-perfect or perfect harmony. I'll always wish for that. But, when reality hits and it's imperfect, I have to decide if I'm going to try to understand. And it hurts the spot in me that wishes for harmony, but it hits the spot in my mind that reaches out to those who wished for his demise and I hope that they feel less pain. Somehow, in this mess, there is a little bit of right, even if it's tinged with wrong.

    And I keep the faith in my President and the good people that I know that this is not to be a habit, it's a unique, difficult situation, and hopefully will be a learning tool for years to come. I will always vote for someone who believes that as much as possible, peace is what we'll ultimately seek.

    If Dan were killed in those blasts, I'd want revenge. I'd want to do it myself. This is me being human.

  2. Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to the action itself. OBL made his bed, and now he died in it. I am opposed to the idiocy of "America, Fuck Yeah." And as far as the President and "good people," well, that's another matter entirely. Suffice to say we've killed many 9/11s worth of civilians there, probably at least one 9/11 worth since Obama took office. But hey, we're the good guys, right? I'm sure John Wayne would be proud.

  3. How should it have been stated/dealt with? Honestly? I'm curious to know how you would handle it. Because I don't know how I would. I would feel overwhelmed. I'd want to boost morale while riding that fine line between sounding like an 'America, F*ck Yeah!' douche, and not.

    I don't feel like there's a clear-cut manner of handling this that would have been wholly 'right'. I'm not stating that it could use some tweaks here and there.

    I live here, unless I'm going to move, I feel like we'll always be the young country who is too big for its britches. Canada is too cold.

    I appreciate your tender heart.

  4. I'm not sure we're talking about the same things. Everyone ought to feel and express themselves as they see fit. I just read one too many jingoistic, savage things. I appreciate everything about you, "Me." :-)

  5. Maybe I'm projecting my own guilt from feeling that it was justified. His death, I mean. And the acknowledgement that it's murder, really. It's a weird day. Good and bad.

    Yeah. I need a drink. Ha. C-ya. :)

  6. "Aww send his widow a ham..."

    "...but, sir, Musims don't eat pork -"

    "- Good, cancel the ham!"

  7. Brian,

    What is wrong with both questioning the long term effect of our response to 9/11 and still feeling good about the revenge in killing Bin Laden? I am somewhat opposed to the death penalty in our country but for ideological reasons. I am concerned that our justice system is not always right and killing the wrong man is too much of a price to pay.

    On the other hand, if we are sure someone is guilty, I have no ideological opposition to the State killing that person... For revenge mostly in reality but for arguments sake even for its economic effect in not having to provide for that person for the rest of his life. I think simply calling it barbaric to allow the State to kill and feel good about its actions and dismissing it as such is a huge over simplification. I am glad you see why 9/11 victims should have this if it provides them some comfort, but we as a society also have that right even if you disagree with it. I hardly feel like a barbarian for being happy OBL was shot by our Government. We were all harmed on 9/11 and in the years after (even by our own Government).

    Revenge killing is as old as man and will probably be around as long as we are. Human nature can't totally be replaced with moral thought even when we try (sometimes successfully) to do so.

    At least, thats the way they would see it in Botswana.

  8. It is in poor taste to celebrate human death. Period. Whether or not people have "always" been savage is no justification for savagery. And I don't mean personal emotional response, I mean words and actions, like cheering in the streets, or saying his head should have been put on a pike. That's not understandable to me, that's sick.
    As far as State killing, I acknowledge it is sometimes necessary. But I do not accept that it is desirable that one should feel "good" about the death of another person. Just as those who cheered 9/11 were barbaric in doing so (you can assume they felt justified in their hatred, just as we do), going beyond personal emotion and into public display is the line I wish people wouldn't cross.
    Anyway, my bigger frustration is with the self-righteousness and ignorance some people in this country display relative to the issue of terrorism. But that's for another post...