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My last word on the assassination of Osama bin Laden (I hope)

I had thought that the Osama bin Laden assassination would have run its course by now here in the United States of Amnesia, but, with nothing else to replace it – except, perhaps, for the “news” that Bristol Palin’s facial appearance indeed has been altered, she says, because she had jaw surgery (this is the most-viewed “news” story on Yahoo! News as I type this sentence) — it lingers still.

It’s a sign of the collapsing of the American empire that so many Americans have found comfort, I suppose the word is, in the assassination of a rather pathetic man in hiding whose last big show was almost a full decade ago.

I mean, how convenient it is to blame more than a decade of American stupidity and laxity* on one man, and how tempting it is to believe that with his death goes American stupidity and laxity. If bin Laden was the cause of all of our problems, then surely his death is the magical solution to all of our problems! Right? Right?

As I wrote right after I found out about it, bin Laden’s assassination has changed nothing except for the national “news” obsession du jour (or, in this case, de la semaine). Bin Laden had been fairly powerless for years before his assassination, and his largest achievement was in destroying the American economy.

And hell, he didn’t even have to do the work. It was the treasonous wingnuts of the unelected Bush regime, using their wet dream of 9/11 like the Reichstag Fire to fulfill their wingnutty wish list, who did the work for bin Laden, using 9/11 for years as their cover to push through a radical right-wing, treasonous agenda they otherwise never would have been able to push through.

And it was an hysterical, cowed populace that allowed them to, just as it had allowed them to steal the White House in the first place.

While President Barack Obama seems to have driven the final stake into the heart of “birtherism,” whose death was long overdue, and for at least the short term can stave off any charges that militarily he’s a pussy, sooner or later the economy is going to reassert its political gravitational pull on Planet Obama.

An NBC News poll taken late last week shows that while almost 60 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy (the bin Laden bounce, no doubt), almost 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.

The bin Laden bounce has put Obama slightly above a 50-percent overall approval rating in the Gallup Poll after he had languished in the 40s for more than the past year, only occassionally hitting 50 percent or 51 percent in that time period.**

Given the weak field of Repugnican Tea Party candidates, however, Obama’s re-election is likely even in an economic environment that might otherwise seriously jeopardize a second presidential term.

But what Obama’s probable re-election means is the continued rightward drift of the nation, in which the new “center” is still right of center and continues going rightward. What’s good for Barack Obama’s personal political fortune, unfortunately, is bad for the nation and for the rest of the planet.

And how you do something matters. I don’t mourn the death of mass murderer Osama bin Laden any more than I would mourn the death of mass murderer George W. Bush or mass murderer Dick Cheney (or mass murderer Condoleezza Rice*** or mass murderer Donald Rumsfeld or…), but how it was achieved was shitty, regardless of how history, which up until now, at least, always has been written by the victors, might tell the story.

George W. Bush is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent human beings, is a much bigger mass murderer than was bin Laden, yet should a military team from a justice-pursuing Iraq (which was home to most of Bush’s victims) take out Bush on American soil like a military team from the U.S. took out bin Laden on Pakistani soil, Americans would be, literally, up in arms.

Even mass murderers like George W. Bush deserve a fair trial. Summary, extrajudicial execution, no matter who its victim is, is always wrong. The perpetrators of such tactics are no better than are their victims. And that’s what the Obama administration’s assassination of Osama bin Laden proved to the world: That the majority of the inhabitants of the United States of America is no better than was bin Laden.

Finally, I hope to make this my last post on Osama bin Laden’s assassination. But before I go I want to leave you with Ted Rall’s current column on the topic. Here it is, in full:

President Obama murdered Osama bin Laden. I am surprised that the left has been so supportive — not of the end result, but of the way it was carried out.

Imagine if the killing had gone down the same exact way, but under Bush. Armed commandos invade a foreign country, storm into a suburban neighborhood, blow a hole in a house and blow away an unarmed man in front of his 12-year-old daughter. The guy is a murder suspect. Mass murder. But there’s no attempt to arrest him or bring him to justice. They spirit his bloody corpse out of the country and dump it into the ocean.

Osama bin Laden was suspected ordering of one of the most horrific crimes of the decade. He might have been taken alive. Yet Obama’s commandos killed him. A big part of the puzzle — the key to the truth, who might have led us to other people responsible for 9/11 — is gone.

Barack Obama is our Jack Ruby.

Liberals would be appalled if this had happened four years ago. They would have protested Bush’s violations of international law and basic human rights. They would have complained about killing the Al Qaeda leader before questioning him about possible terrorist plots. They would have demanded investigations.

But this happened under Obama. Which means that even liberal lawyers who ought to (and probably do) know better are going along. At a panel discussion at the Justice Institute at Pace Law School, University of Houston law professor Jordan Paust asserted: “You can [legally] use military force without consent in foreign countries.”

“At some point a sovereign state [such as Pakistan] that’s harboring an international fugitive loses the right to assert sovereignty,” added Robert Van Lierop.

Paust and Van Lierop are, respectively, a leading opponent of torture at Guantánamo and a former UN ambassador known for his activism on climate change. Both are “liberal.”

In the U.S., conservatives and “liberals” agree: Might makes right. America’s military-intelligence apparatus is so fearsome that it can deploy its soldiers and agents without fear of retribution.

Might makes right. [Emphasis mine.]

In 2007, for example, U.S. Special Forces invaded Iran from U.S.-occupied Iraq in order to kidnap Iranian border guards. It was an outrage. In practical terms, however, there was nothing the Iranians could do about it.

The United States’ 900-pound gorilla act might go over better if we weren’t a nation that constantly prattles on and on about how civilized we are, how important it is that everyone follow the rules. For example:

“We’re a nation of laws!” Obama recently exclaimed. “We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate.”

He wasn’t talking about himself. This was about PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of supplying the big Defense Department data dump to WikiLeaks. Manning has been subjected to torture including sleep deprivation and forced nudity — treatment ordered by Obama.

Truth is, the Constitution, our treaty obligations and our stacks of legal codes are worthless paper. We’re not a nation of laws. We’re a nation of gun-toting, missile-lobbing, drone-flying goons.

U.S. officials do whatever they feel like and then dress up their brazenly illegal acts with perverse Orwellian propaganda. [Emphasis mine.]

“I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice,” Obama claimed, as if blowing away an unarmed man in a foreign country was the moral equivalent of filing an extradition request with the Pakistani government and putting him on trial before 12 unbiased jurors in a court of law.

Justice is a legal process. It is not a military assault. [Emphasis mine.]

When considering the legality or morality of an act it helps to consider different scenarios. What, for example, if Pakistan had military power equal to ours? Last week’s lead news might have begun something like this:

“Pakistan has intercepted four U.S. helicopters over its airspace, forced them to land, and taken 79 heavily-armed commandos as prisoners. According to Pakistani military officials, the incident took place about 100 miles from the border of U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

“‘They didn’t stray across the border accidentally. This was a deliberate act,’ said a Pakistani general. President Asif Ali Zardari has asked Pakistan’s nuclear weapons infrastructure has been placed on high alert as the parliament, the Majlis-e-Shoora, considers whether to issue a declaration of war…”

Or let’s assume a different reimagining. What if the United States really [were] a nation of laws?

Then the news might look like the following:

“Bipartisan demands for congressional investigations into the assassination of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden quickly escalated into demands for presidential impeachment after reports that U.S. forces operating under orders from President Obama invaded a sovereign nation without permission to carry out what House Speaker John Boehner called ‘a mob-style hit.’

“Standing at Boehner’s side, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi decried Obama’s ‘cowboy antics’ and said she had received numerous phone calls from the relatives of 9/11 victims furious that true justice had been denied. Meanwhile, in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon moved for sanctions against the United States…”

In fact, no one knows whether Osama bin Laden was involved in 9/11.

They suspect. They feel. They don’t know.

For what it’s worth, he denied it: “Following the latest explosions in the United States, some Americans are pointing the finger at me, but I deny that because I have not done it,” bin Laden said in a statement released on 9/16/01. “The United States has always accused me of these incidents which have been caused by its enemies. Reiterating once again, I say that I have not done it, and the perpetrators have carried this out because of their own interest.”

Why should we believe him? Why not? He admitted his responsibility for the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998.

Interestingly, the FBI never mentioned 9/11 on his “wanted” poster.

There was the famous “confession video” — but it was translated into English by the CIA, hardly an objective source. Arabic language experts say the CIA manipulated bin Laden’s discussion of what he had watched on TV into an admission of guilt. For example, they changed bin Laden’s passive-voice discussion to active: “[the 19 hijackers] were required to go” became, in the CIA version, “we asked each of them to go to America.”

“The American translators who listened to the tapes and transcribed them apparently wrote a lot of things in that they wanted to hear but that cannot be heard on the tape no matter how many times you listen to it,” said Gernot Rotter, professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the Asia-Africa Institute at the University of Hamburg.

Other [bin Laden] communiqués appear to take credit for 9/11 — but there’s a possibility that he was trying to keep himself relevant for his Islamist audience. Anyway, a confession does not prove guilt. Police receive numerous “confessions” for high-profile crimes. They can’t just shoot everyone who confesses.

I’m not angry that Bin Laden is dead. Nor am I happy. I didn’t know the guy or care for his ideology.

I’m angry that, without a trial or a real investigation, we will never know whether he was guilty of 9/11 — or, if he was, who else was involved.

Our Jack Ruby, Barack Obama, made sure of that.

Yup. And I’ve wondered if perhaps bin Laden was assassinated by the Obama administration because he knew too much, and a trial at an international court of law would have brought what he knew to light. 

*Our problems preceded Sept. 11, 2001. Our democracy pretty much was diagnosed with terminal illness when Americans just allowed Team Bush to steal the White House in late 2000. After that, anything else that followed, such as the devasation that was just allowed to occur on 9/11 and with Hurricane Katrina four years later, couldn’t have been a surprise.

**Obama enjoyed approval ratings in the 60s during his first six months in office. He then gradually slid into the 50s and then into the 40s.

***Rice’s recent interview on MSNBC was, um, interesting. She hasn’t changed a bit. You still know when she’s lying — it’s whenever her lips are moving. (Seriously, though, she always has the quavering voice of a liar, and when she’s really lying, she moves her head rapidly from side to side.)

While I doubt Rice’s sanity, as I doubt the sanity of any mass murderer/war criminal, I don’t believe that she actually believes the lies that she spews forth. I believe that she is terrified that one day she might actually be hauled before an international criminal court, and therefore she’s sticking to the same old lies about her part in the execution of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War that she’s been telling for years now.

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UN looking into legality of slaughter of bin Laden

Was this past weekend’s assassination of Osama bin Laden legal?

Unsurprisingly, in the articles that I’ve read online, Americans tend to say that of course it was — he was an “enemy combatant” with whom we were “at war”; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually called, quite speciously, bin Laden’s assassination “an act of national self-defense” (and not, say, a revenge killing); and besides, Barack Obama had said when he was campaigning for president that if we got bin Laden in our sights then he would order him killed (as though if you simply warn someone that you will do something illegal, such as rape her or murder him, if you get the opportunity to do so and then do so, then your actual act is not illegal because hey, you’d given him or her a warning!) — while those outside of the U.S. are much less likely to make such a certain pronouncement, expressing problems with the facts that bin Laden was unarmed and that the raid on his compound was conducted without the consent or even the prior notification of the government of the sovereign nation of Pakistan. Bin Laden should have been captured, if at all possible, and put on trial, since everyone, even the likes of bin Laden, has the right to due process, these dissenters have expressed.

One of these dissenters, Kent University international lawyer Nick Grief, called bin Laden’s killing what it apparently was: an “extrajudicial killing without due process of the law,” and he noted that even Nazi war criminals were brought to trial at the end of World War II.

Louise Doswald-Beck, former legal chief for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that bin Laden was not an enemy combatant but that “He was basically head of a terrorist criminal network, which means that you’re not really looking at the law of armed conflict but at lethal action against a dangerous criminal.”

Another British lawyer, Michael Mansfield, said, “The serious risk is that in the absence of an authoritative narrative of events played out in Abbottabad, vengeance will become synonymized with justice, and that revenge will supplant due process. … Whatever feelings of elation and relief may dominate the airwaves, they must not be allowed to submerge core questions about the legality of the exercise, nor to permit vengeance or summary execution to become substitutes for justice.” [Emphasis mine.]

And it looks as though the United Nations is investigating the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reports The Associated Press today:

Geneva – The United Nations’ independent investigator on extrajudicial killings* has called on the United States to reveal more details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement [today] that Washington “should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.”

Heyns says “it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden.”

His statement echoed similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law.

Of course “U.S. officials say the raid [was] legal under U.S. and international law.” How often does the perpetrator of a crime admit it?

In any event, it’s not like the U.S. is going to respect any adverse finding by the UN anyway. The UN Security Council would not rubber-stamp George W. Bush’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, but the Bush regime went ahead and launched it anyway in March 2003. The U.S. respects the UN only when it is convenient for the U.S. to do so, which is one of the many reasons that the U.S. is so hated throughout the world: its blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

I still believe that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was meant, at least in part, for Barack Obama’s political gain. I believe that Obama wanted to show that he’s just as bad a bad-ass as George W. Bush tried to pass himself off as, and also, what’s better to counter the charges that Obama is not really an American and actually is Muslim than to snuff out Osama bin Laden, to take him dead or alive dead?

The so-called “swing voters” are susceptible to such wingnutty charges that Obama isn’t a citizen and that he’s actually a Muslim, and it’s the support of the “swing voters” (he’s screwed his progressive base) that Obama so very badly wants for his re-election.

Weirdly, though, in the White House photo of the gathering in the Situation Room during the operation to assassinate bin Laden that everyone has dissected to death —

In this image released by the White House and ...

— to me, Obama doesn’t look like the leader of all of it. To me, he looks like he’s just kind of shrinking in the corner, a bit bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed by all of it, and hell, just from this photo, Secretary of State Billary Clinton appears to be more in charge than Obama does. Obama appears in the photo to be an onlooker at most.

In any event, Osama bin Laden is dead, which even Al-Qaeda has acknowledged, and it’s not like there will be formal repercussions for the U.S. government for once again very apparently having violated international law.

But it will be interesting to see for how long the U.S. can maintain its position as the global bully. Bin Laden’s actions significantly weakened what he believed to be the “great Satan,” the American empire, costing the United States at least $3 trillion, pundits are saying. (Of course, much if not most of that $3 trillion went to greedy war profiteers, not for the actual benefit of the U.S., and much of it simply disappeared and remains unaccounted for to this day.)

And as China is poised to become the world’s No. 1 economy within the next decade, as the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, how long will the U.S. be able to call the shots globally?

It is in the long-term interests of the United States of America — and any other nation’s — to follow the rule of law. It is easier and more convenient, in the short run, to circumvent the law, but to circumvent the law often bites you in the ass later, often (if not usually) costing you more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Because he was not put on trial, but was assassinated, Osama bin Laden is now, to many in the Muslim world, a martyr whose manner of death only proves his assertions about American abuse of power against Arabs and Muslims to be correct. We Americans can, and should, fully expect bin Laden’s death to be avenged. And then we’ll avenge that. This tit-for-tat bullshit bloodshed can go on for years and years and years, which is exactly what the war profiteers and the weasels of the military-industrial complex want.

And just as the United States was somewhat recovering from its reputation as the global asshole that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime earned it, Barack Obama, by mimicking George “W. for Wanted Dead or Alive” Bush, has taken us backasswards again.

Can we at least take away that Nobel Peace Prize that he so prematurely was awarded while the UN investigates the legality of his unilateral order to assassinate bin Laden?

P.S. Reuters reports a little more thoroughly today of the United Nations’ looking into the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reuters reports today:

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism … and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in certain exceptional cases, deadly force may be used in “operations against terrorists.”

“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially-decided punishment,” the independent experts said in a joint statement.

“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said. “It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden.”

Scheinin, a Finnish law professor who teaches in Florence, and Heyns, a South African human rights law professor, report to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include the United States. …

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, also called this week for light to be shed on the killing, stressing that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

“We’ve raised a question mark about what happened precisely, more details are needed at this point,” her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva [today].

*Those Obama apologists and American jingoists who take exception to the word “assassination” (as though only, say, an American president could be assassinated) at least cannot argue that bin Laden’s killing was indeed, at the least, an extrajudicial execution.

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The bin Laden assassination account du jour

OK, so first, we were told that Osama bin Laden was armed and posed an immediate threat to the U.S. Navy SEALs who shot him dead in Pakistan this past weekend.

Then, we were told that he wasn’t armed, but that nonetheless he still somehow was threatening to the SEALs — maybe he had a bomb* on him, even! (Of course, anyone could have a bomb hidden on [or in…] his or her body, so using that “logic,” it’s OK to shoot dead anyone.)

Now, we are being told that the SEALs had planned to kill bin Laden no matter what.

Reports Yahoo! News today:

The SEALs’ decision to fatally shoot bin Laden — even though he didn’t have a weapon — wasn’t an accident.  The administration had made clear to the military’s clandestine Joint Special Operations Command that it wanted bin Laden dead, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the discussions.  A high-ranking military officer briefed on the assault said the SEALs knew their mission was not to take him alive.

Publicly, the White House insists it was prepared to capture bin Laden if he tried to surrender, a possibility senior officials described as remote.

John Brennan, the administration’s top counterterrorism official, told reporters on Monday if “we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that.”A senior intelligence official echoed that sentiment in an interview [yesterday], telling National Journal that if bin Laden “had indicated surrender, he would have been captured.”

But bin Laden didn’t appear to have been given a chance to surrender himself to the SEALs.

“To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything,” CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an interview airing on “PBS NewsHour.”

There is a word for this kind of thing: Fuck.

One of my U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein, who is chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that she was informed of the planning of the raid on the compound in Pakistan that held bin Laden in December.

In December.

One, if bin Laden (still) were such an imminent threat that he needed to be summarily executed on the spot, then why did it take the Obama administration that long to finally get him?

Two, since the Obama administration had bin Laden’s nabbing in the works at least since December, why the fuck has it been unable to get its fucking story straight?

I have as much confidence in the Obama administration as I did in the bumbling Bush regime.

This bullshit bungling is supposed to help Obama’s re-election campaign how?

*The Los Angeles Times reports:

After saying Monday that the American operatives who raided the Pakistani compound had orders to capture Bin Laden if he gave himself up, U.S. officials [yesterday] added an important qualifier: The assault force was told to accept a surrender only if it could be sure he didn’t have a bomb hidden under his clothing and posed no other danger.

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The (Jessica) Lynching of Osama bin Laden

Wow. You expected this kind of shit from the unelected Bush regime, with its lies about and cover-ups regarding the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman sagas, but you (or at least I) expected more from the Obama administration.

Until now I have held off on repeating any of the details that have been released regarding Osama bin Laden’s actual moment of death because I was skeptical of them – and for good cause, because now, they are reporting, apparently bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot dead in the head and did not use one of his wives as a “human shield.”

The “human shield” charge especially was repeated all over the corporately owned and controlled mass media, because it fit in nicely with the pre-existing jingoistic narrative of bin Laden as actually being a “coward” instead of a bad-ass — a charge that is probably more false than true and that says a lot more about Americans’ actual collective level of courage than it does about bin Laden’s. (Americans, after all, kill with high-tech weaponry and they usually kill from a distance. [Which makes American killing “civilized,” you see, while the less technologically advantaged “terrorists” often if not usually kill others more closely and personally, which makes them “terrorists,” as does the fact that they’re not Americans.])

Anyway, so now the latest word is that bin Laden was unarmed and that the woman who was shot dead along with him was not his wife, but was another woman, and that his wife was injured in the firefight, but was not used by bin Laden as a “human shield.”  

These are just basic facts of what the fuck happened. You would think that the “transparent” Obama administration would have done a much better job of getting out accurate information about such a momentous news event.

And the fact (well, the fact du jour, anyway…) that bin Laden was unarmed raises the legal, moral and ethical question of whether or not he should have been captured and brought to trial instead of executed on the spot. Does a “civilized” nation of “laws” and “order” and “human rights” execute someone who is unarmed, even someone like Osama bin Laden, on the spot?

I recognize the huge problems, including, of course, security issues, that putting bin Laden on trial would have presented. But do we have principles or not? Do we mean what we say in our Constitution about human rights — including the right to a fair trial and the right not to be summarily executed, no matter what it is believed that you have done – or don’t we?

All of this — the initial misinformation about bin Laden’s summary execution, the apparent fact that bin Laden could have been taken alive — makes Barack Obama way too much like George W. (“W” for “Wanted Dead or Alive”) Bush for my sense of right and wrong, and I have to wonder how much of bin Laden’s execution was calculated to benefit Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

I mean, fuck: In January, Team Obama did indeed roll out, as part of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, the lame meme of “We do big things” in the State of the Union Address. Yesterday, Obama said of bin Laden’s execution, “Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do.”

I mean, that looks like a link to me. It’s fairly apparent that Team Obama sat around and pondered: Hmmm… How can we fit Osama bin Laden’s death into our re-election campaign narrative?

Even in this great age of cynicism, that’s some sick shit, in my book.

Again, I’m not crying that Osama bin Laden is dead, but we cannot claim to be a “civilized” nation that respects human rights and laws and at the same time do shit like summarily execute the “bad guys.” (As far as body counts of innocents go, we Americans actually are the biggest global bad guys, but because we’re Americans, we’re fucking saints.)  

And to watch Barack Obama act as though he went over to Pakistan and got bin Laden himself – when that long, hard work was done by other people, including some who apparently put themselves at the potential risk of great injury or death – is nauseating, especially when Obama apparently plans to use bin Laden’s scalp for political gain.

But that is the history of the slimy political opportunist Obama: taking credit for others’ work, such as how he only rode, all the way to the White House, the wave that Howard Dean had created with the left-leaning “netroots.”

Now, it appears, it is the execution of Osama bin Laden that is going to keep Obama in the Oval Office for another four years.

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Bin Laden laughs at us in hell

I don’t shed a tear over the death of Osama bin Laden (in so small part because he’s been fairly irrelevant for years now), but you know, this return to the jingoistic stupidity that we saw in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, is unsettling. Luckily, no Americans have been killed this time (only American lives matter, of course), so hopefully something else soon will become the next top news story (you know, something related to Donald Trump or Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan), but how long can it be before the “birthers” will demand to see bin Laden’s death certificate, and then, once that is produced, proclaim it to be a fake?

I read that the song “We Are the Champions” has been sung at U.S. bin Laden death celebrations. Yeah, we are the champions, all right — and it only took us 10 years and thousands upon thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. We rule!

More chilling than the words and actions of my jingoistic cohorts, of whom I expect precious little, however, are those of President Barack Obama, of whom, despite his string of broken campaign promises, I still expect more.

“Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” Obama proclaimed today about the snuffing out of bin Laden. (“We do big things” is one of the campaign slogans that Obama rolled out during his last State of the Union address, since “hope” and “change” don’t work anymore.)

Jesus fuck.

When we make such feel-good statements as “as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” are we really supposed to say that about the killing of one individual? Even someone like Osama bin Laden?

Is this what “American greatness” has come to: our ability to kill one man after 10 years, hundreds of billions of dollars and the killing of tens of thousands before him? (That’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes.)

Our bloated-beyond-belief military-industrial complex and insane tax breaks for the rich and the super-rich have put us into a huge federal budget deficit, they’re telling us that it’s all our public school teachers’ fault and they’re talking about destroying Medicare, the polar fucking ice caps are melting, for fuck’s sake, and the people are in the streets like Ewoks over the news reports that Osama bin Laden (whom they’d forgotten all about) is dead!

Speaking of which, apparently we couldn’t even handle bin Laden’s corpse correctly, with the media reporting now that burial at sea actually is not the preferred way to bury a Muslim; the preferred way is to bury him with his or her head pointing toward Mecca.

One Muslim cleric put it this way: “If a man dies on a ship that is a long distance from land, then the dead man should be buried at the sea; but if he dies on land, then he should be buried in the ground, not to be thrown into the sea. Otherwise, this would be only inviting fish to a banquet.”

Oops.

Of course, the whole argument was beyond bizarre anyway: We snuffed out Osama bin Laden, but not to worry! We handled his body correctly! (Except that apparently we didn’t.*)

And I’m seeing all over the place the simple-minded assertion that Osama bin Laden is now in hell.

If he is in hell (actually, I don’t believe in hell, but I’ll play along with the simpletons), he is celebrating his stunning victory over the United States of America, his “great Satan.”

After all, bin Laden’s stated objective was to destroy the American empire, and while the empire already was on its way out before his henchmen hijacked some airplanes some 10 years ago,  bin Laden certainly helped along the demise of the American empire. He caused, at least indirectly, the deaths of more than 4,000 of our troops on top of the almost 3,000 Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and had a huge hand in destroying our economy after the treasonous war profiteers (such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) used 9/11 as their pretext for looting the U.S. Treasury of hundreds of billions of dollars in the names of “national security” and “national defense.”

I suspect that Osama bin Laden surprised himself in how successful he was in accomplishing his objective of destroying the American empire, and Americans’ incredible stupidity and short-sightedness fairly guarantee that bin Laden will get the last laugh, with a banner reading “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” behind him — even if in hell.

*Bin Laden’s body reportedly was disposed of within 24 hours, as Islamic law requires, and it’s understandable that the U.S. power elites didn’t want a gravesite for bin Laden’s followers to be able to visit, but some experts are saying that the burial at sea might cause blowback.

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