Monday, 2 May 2011
Mission Accomplished (but who the hell cares)
I don't have to break news to you that's all over the news: Barack Obama has just had the pleasure of doing something that an American president hadn't had the pleasure of doing in 7 years. It's rare event, but I guess its become something of a ritual in order to boost flagging efforts to secure a second presidential term going into an election year. What better way to do this than going on camera, in front of the world, and announcing "Guess what? Veni vidi vici, which means we went in there, blew some shit up, kicked some major fuckin' ass, and goter done. I know you were on the edge of your seat holding your crap in for days in anticipation of whether or not I was going to break this happy news to you, and I am thrilled to say that I am, and the news is good (as it always is, because our special and brave boys always prevail). Mission accomplished. Your commander in chief now gives you permission to return to business as usual. (Dismissive wave of hand) As you were, sheeple."
"Woo hoo! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Perhaps Mr. Obama's Ivy League-honed, Washington elite-refined killer instinct is a bit more subtle than his predecessor's, which is why he didn't feel the need to make this announcement in a flight suit on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean under a banner that says "Mission Accomplished". But then again, that guy was also an Ivy League-educated member of the Washington elite. So perhaps it was more of a case of nobody being sure at that time what the "mission" was or how it was in any way "accomplished", thus the necessity for theatrics. This time, the message alone sufficed. Deadpan. We got the bastard who caused all our problems. The obnoxious bravado of the words "Mission accomplished" themselves wasn't even needed. "Osama Bin Laden was killed at 1:30 am local time in a firefight 100 km outside Islamabad, Pakistan, and dropped into the Indian Ocean after being shot in the head"
Street parties. Official statements of congratulations pouring in from around the globe. U-S-A! U-S-A!
If you haven't found out yet, how do you feel? If you have already found out, which is more likely, how did you feel? How did you react? Were you pumped? Relieved? Doing backflips? Suddenly optimistic again?
I somehow doubt it. Anger is a funny emotion. It drives us as humans to do terrible things - break stuff, say things we regret, make rash decisions without regard for the consequences, get in car accidents. No one doubts its potency. But I suspect we evolved for our own safety and well-being to possess limited amounts of this volatile and destructive feeling. It is really, really difficult to stay consistently and constantly angry for longer than a couple minutes, hours, or days, depending on the severity of what's eating you. Even the most skilled and disciplined grudge holders end up corroding their insides so bad that they collapse in a fragile broken heap of regret and pain if they don't wise up.
Hence my personal lack of catharsis at the closure brought to something that happened almost ten years ago. I mean, that was four girlfriends ago. I was still in high school. I've seen ground zero twice since then. It looks like a giant construction site. You'd never know anything happened there. It looks like New York and the world have moved on.
And that's just me. Imagine what everybody else has gone through since then. It's not to say that what happened wasn't tragic and fucked up, or that anybody deserved to be in those buildings. It's just that, how many patriots or families of victims or whatever woke up last thursday and said to themselves: "Damn. I sure wish they'd catch that bastard today. I haven't been able to accomplish diddly squat since he did that and who knows when I will?"
Getting to the point, what has been accomplished by assassinating an old, sickly man with forty kids? I don't pity him, or think he made the world a better place, but could they at least have validated it? This was really poor form and execution. "Dropped into the ocean?" How much does the average person trust the official declarations and statements of the U.S. government? Not very much, with good reason, and so this is a stretch. Whoever dropped the ball on this did it on purpose, meaning there was likely no ball dropped at all, because this smells fishier than the sink at the Chinese grocery store in my neighbourhood. God. You want full propaganda value and impact for the efforts of this event, you fucking take Osama, you photograph him, you make him stand there with a raving beard and crappy beige suit in some show trial for six weeks, whatever, until toying with him gets old, and you execute him inside the United States of America. You know they made damn sure, for their $3 trillion war in Iraq, that they did that with Saddam. Why couldn't they do it for this supposed bounty to end all bounties that was ten years in the making?
Because that would have been too simple. It would have made too much sense. And in the perverse American narrative, their mainstream media's way of telling things, there is only one version of the story that matters. The "Looney Tunes" version, intended for public consumption, in which American presidents, defence secretaries, and generals are your Bugs Bunnies, Tweety Birds, and Road Runners, and the Saddams, the Gaddhafis, and the Bin Ladens of this world are the Wil E Coyotes, Elmer Fudds, and Yosemite Sams. This gets validated whenever something like this happens. Then of course there is the real version, which is never talked about because no effort is made to publicize it, but which a few books, blogs (look to the right), and documentaries will put you well on your way to discovering, although you are never really fully cognizant of it because there is no much information that contradicts the popular narrative, and no clean simple answers that fit together.
So to avoid being dismissed as "conspiracy theorist" or "paranoid loony-bin", don't claim to have any definitive answers (because you won't find any), but ask valid questions. Starting with how those planes got to where they were when per NORAD there should have been fighter jets at their sides within minutes of their being highjacked. How the head hijacker's passport was found a few blocks away when everything in the towers was turned finer than dust from the fall. Why those buildings dropped so smoothly and suddenly.
O.K., I'm not here to talk about 9-11 today, but now you know I can't really accept the official version with all its holes and gaps about what really happened that day. Since then, two wars were started. We know Iraq was a blatant oil grab, and Afghanistan is more than likely chiefly concerning a pipeline across central Asia. Of course, once we get past the bullshit about freedom and democracy and recognise these wars for the resource-strategic location grabs they are, even then, what these wars have cost Western and U.S. taxpayers they has long far exceeded any return on investment the citizens of those countries might have hoped their governments would obtain on their behalf...?
The short answer is it doesn't matter, because a bunch of defence contractors friends of the government continued to get rich in the process. War profiteering is a centuries, if not millenia, old game. The real question was, and is, where does Bin Laden fit into all this. I think it has been several years that most people have given up trying to figure out where he ever has, or realised that he never did. The effort of attempts by the American government PR apparatus to link the military interventions to him has long been abandoned as pointless; people's attention spans are too exhausted. I mean, a full-scale war has been started with Libya for several weeks and we've heard scarcely a peep from anybody. Compare that to the media coverage and protests at the onset of the Iraq War. Nobody cares about these wars, or any war, anymore, so why would anyone care about Bin Laden?
Answer: they don't. How much energy can you spend on someone whose existence you're not even sure of anymore? Let's see - he used to release the odd videotape to Al-Jazeera. Then the videotapes stopped. All he would deign to release after that was audiotapes. Now you are really losing people's interest. No, the CIA said, it's his voice. For sure it's his voice. Then nothing, for months, years. Governments fell, Blockbusters were released, people had babies, people died.
Then that Supersize me guy released a film. Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden. But it only struck a chord with people my age, and that was only for its name, which reminded them of the popular show and computer game from their childhood "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego". I don't know anyone who bothered to see it, or cared. I feel like telling him, dude, you're not gonna top eating Rick Lonalds for 90 meals in a row.
Finally, I remember some time in the past year and a half, the CIA gravely declared that Osama might be dead. Meaning, he was very sick. Old and sick and out there somewhere. Well, that's what people do. They get old and sick out there, somewhere. We fell asleep.
Then BOOM, on May 1st. We GOT HIM. Oh Yeah, it's him, and we got him good, we smoked him out of his foxhole. Except the people who supported you and gave you carte blanche to do whatever you needed to do to capture the supposed perpetrator of this horrible atrocity were, are, really, physically, mentally, emotionally and logically incapable of caring anymore.
Osama's existence hasn't mattered for years. He has become a convenient symbol and icon of evil, a lazy catch-all answer to complicated problems, a reminder of the ineptitude of U.S. foreign policy, and a bad joke. He is a lot of things to a lot of people, and you can construct his image into almost meaning you want. The news I read today said that from his location, with no phone or internet, it was logistically and practically impossible to coordinate attacks anyway. In other words, no matter what you believe, the official record says Osama had ceased to be relevant in real life. His death confirms that, because the officials are on record saying it doesn't mean the world is a safer place, and they are more committed to their bogus "War on Terror" than ever. Great. He wasn't an "armed and dangerous" threat after all, just a face to hate and to fear, and they are working hard to find another one to replace him for you.