Bin Laden Reactions

History-making news now breaks, not on Cable News, but via a text message from my oldest daughter (who has friends in the White House Communications Office). Then bursts through my Twitter Feed– real time reactions from all over the world, speculation from journalists and news organizations… and lastly, mocking the floundering of the formerly mighty Cable News, who spent the hour before the President’s speech stumbling over themselves (and often just repeating what was appearing on Twitter 10-15 minutes previously). If the revolution in Egypt hadn’t made it clear, last night made it inescapable: Cable news’ run as the go-to source for breaking information, which really hit its stride with the Gulf War, is pretty much over.

Two things which strike me now, which have prompted me to post here (as they’re too detailed to distill to 140 characters on Twitter): The reactions, both on the left and right.

First, the right: I’m already seeing a tendency to either completely remove the President from any credit for this, or to start the inevitably-growing rumbling about how Obama will be “politicizing” this. To which I say, in the words of former Vice President Dick Cheney: Go fuck yourselves.

The right not only took credit for every positive thing that happened in the “War on Terror” from 2002-2008, but also for any bad thing that DIDN’T happen. Every month that passed where we weren’t attacked again was somehow directly because of President Bush’s vigilance. Every FBI sting where some hapless moron was tricked into planning a terrorist attack by the FBI itself, and then stopped, was treated as if President Bush, resplendent in a Captain America costume, was personally giving a Ratzi a sock on the jaw.

Even worse — the intimation that 9/11, despite happening 9 months into Bush’s watch, despite direct warning in the Threat Briefing, was somehow Clinton’s fault — for not taking Bin Laden out after the USS Cole bombing (despite GOP criticism at the time that Clinton was trying to “wag the dog” and divert attention away from his impeachment hearings). That a vote for Kerry in 2004 was “what the terrorists wanted.”

A reminder to these Kings of Politicization: 6 months after 9/11, President Bush said “I don’t know where he is, and honestly I don’t spend that much time on him… I’m not that concerned.” (Video)

Obama, upon taking office, directed the CIA to make Bin Laden a priority. But the right will now deny it, saying that this event is somehow a continuation of Bush’s efforts — despite words from his own mouth to the contrary. So again, a hearty fuck you. If Bush somehow deserved credit for his efforts — so does Obama. Even if you hate him.

Now, to my fellow travelers on the left: I’m seeing a lot of hand-wringing and self-righteous lecturing about how killing is wrong, celebrating murder is barbaric, etc. It’s situations like this that makes me wish there was a hashtag like #firstworldproblems that applied here — something like #privelegedprinciples.

I suppose it’s very easy to pontificate and finger-wag, if 9/11 was only something that you watched on television. If you didn’t know anyone who was killed, it’s quite comfortable to wrap yourself in your principles. For everyone else, this is justice. Maybe you should consider that, and keep your sense of outrage to yourself?

I mean, look at this picture:

Now tell those Firefighters that they’re being barbaric for celebrating the death of the man directly responsible for the death of their brethren. Go ahead.

Sometimes, comfortable first-world liberal, it’s not about you.

9 Replies to “Bin Laden Reactions”

  1. I think celebration of death is never due. I do think that the world is a better place for his loss.

    That said, I’m not going to go back on ten years of active protest of the war, and pretend I’ve supported that effort all this time. My principles don’t change, just because they got one of the guys responsible.

    Yes, first-world liberal here. I knew someone that died in the Pentagon attack. I still don’t think the war was called for, in the way it was executed. I will appreciate this success much more when it:

    1) Causes an end to the war.

    2) Ends the Patriot Act.

    3) Rebuilds the damage done.

    4) Makes monkeys fly out of my butt.

  2. as someone who responded to the towers and also lost a close friend that day, I’m satisfied with Osama’s death. Strangely enough, I don’t feel like celebrating. I’m wary of what the response will be from those that mean us harm.

    all that being said, i’m glad he’s dead and not captured for trial. he lost his rights as a human being on 9-11

  3. My complaint is that people are praising Obama as if he were the one who pulled the trigger himself. He just happened to be the one in the oval office when it happened. He gave the speech. The people who deserve and ‘credit’ for this are our hard working members of the US Military and the CIA. Those men and women risk their lives daily to rid the world of people like this.

    This doesn’t dissolve any risk or threat. In fact, it probably makes it worse, as we’ve just managed to piss off every supporter he ever had. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have done it… I’m just saying we should be prepared for what will come of it.

  4. With all due respect, it’s pretty obvious that you don’t understand the process — Obama *did* metaphorically pull the trigger himself. The operational order to the CIA came from Obama (reversing the Bush policy), the order to commit was given directly by Obama (that’s pretty much the JOB of the President). To say that it’s just “our hard working members of the US Military and the CIA” is a bending-over-backwards rationalization to avoid giving credit to Obama, not to mention ignoring the role of a President in the chain of command — ESPECIALLY in cases of “shoot-to-kill” orders of High-Value Targets.

  5. On your second point, Michelle — There needs to be an understanding that this “War on Terror” is, and always has been, a war of symbolic narratives. That’s what terrorism/asymmetric warfare IS. And in that, we’ve managed to fairly conclusively remove the “invincible Bin Laden who is laughing at the powerless US” narrative. That’s important. Obviously it doesn’t remove the threat of terrorism — especially in a designed cell-based structure like Al Qaeda. But a symbolic victory in a war of symbols is important, and should be appreciated.

  6. Word.

    My apologies to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sometimes I just don’t feel like taking the moral high ground. This is one of those times.

    While I didn’t personally feel like running out in the streets and cheering and singing, I understand those who did.

    It is an emotional response to the death of a mass murderer. It is different from mine, but no less valid. As long as no one was hurt, and no property was damaged or looted, there’s nothing wrong with peaceful celebratory gatherings.

    I think Obama handled this perfectly. That’s OBAMA. He nixed the idea of just bombing the place, because it would leave no evidence and innocents might be killed. He gave him a proper islamic burial to show respect to the religion, not the man.

  7. Don’t you think that all of these claims are kind of hand wavy?

    I think if you look up Defense Department statistics, you can download statistics that depict the allocation of military manpower by country and year. (The data does not support the idea that Obama’s M.O. was to stumble over Osama by accident.)

    Also, if you feel that having a liberal in office does in fact increase the risk of a terrorist attack, there are comprehensive lists of international terrorist incidents available online as well. (Wikipedia has one.) You should be able to graph these incidents out by year, as well as separate jihad-motivated attacks from non-jihad motivated attacks. By comparing the Obama years to the Bush years, you should be able that particular claim is true.

    Some things are easy to settle quantitatively. This is one of them.

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