Barbarians R Us

I was just leaving for dinner with friends in Seattle when I peeked at the computer and saw that the devil of the new century had evidently been slain; Osama bin Laden, the Road Runner to Bush’s Wile E. Coyote, the Evildoer in Chief, the guy who managed to change America from one thing to quite another in just a few short years.  Buried at sea, perforated with Freedom Bullets courtesy of the Home of the Brave, just like that.  We talked about other things as we walked down California Ave. in West Seattle to our destination, a nearby Indian place with a friendly bar.  The waiter brought us drinks and menus, but then left to join everyone staring at the large TV screens usually showing cricket or soccer, to hear the President speak.

Aside from the bartender and us, the dozen or so others there were either Indian or middle eastern, and I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed when Obama stepped into the very imperial-looking East Room and, in a subtle but unmistakeable way, invoked the Bushian spirit of 9/11 vengeance, thus blandly trying to make our new version of Red Queen justice look reasonable and proper, at least for appearance’s sake.  What a difference ten years make.

If someone had told me back then that today I would be watching a Democratic President proudly announcing an international extrajudicial assassination, while we were involved in (so far) three wars and counting, I would have told them they were nuts.  Had they added that there would then be a vigorous debate about how great torture was, since it had already long been settled that wiretapping, eavesdropping, and every other form of government transom-peeping was accepted by all, I would have called them a cab home.  I’m not naive; I know that our post WWII national security/spook establishment has been running around doing all of these things for some time, but the openness, not to mention bipartisanship, about it these days is nothing short of alarming.

Maybe it was the huge screens in the bar, but Obama’s studied sobriety was somewhat belied by the scary intensity in his eyes, something I’d have liked to have seen earlier, when he was defending something, well, defensible.  He wasn’t wearing a silly costume, but it being the anniversary of Mission Accomplished, it was disappointingly evident that “change” was more a matter of style than substance.  Predictably, the large number of younger Americans who don’t remember America before 9/11 changed everything reacted as they were now conditioned to: as elated fans of their winning home team against a hated rival.  Unsurprisingly, but perhaps even more disturbingly, Obama later ratified this bloodlust with a promise to have a little ceremony at Ground Zero, where the head on a pike would be only implied as he looks toward a victorious year for 2012 as a War President.  USA, fuck yeah.  He even invited George W. to attend, but he declined.  Maybe Bill Kristol is free that day.  Or John Yoo.

 

 

 

25 Comments

  1. daphne says:

    sorry I’m not motivated enough to locate it, but John Yoo has apparently published (in the WSJ?) a column claiming that – you guessed it – a)Obama’s actions vindicate Bush and b)torture was, SO, critical to the assassination. I’ve been saying forever that in everything from verbal squabbles to all-out war it’s just a huge clash of egos. Yoo obviously wrote that piece to soothe his.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I’ve heard it all, but like you are too preoccupied to link it. Can’t help thinking of Rosalind Russell in “The Women,” sneering, “You, you…. shopgirl.”
      Yoo, yoo… torturer.
      Somehow I think that’s worse, but we’ve come a long way since the 30′s, and not in a good way.

  2. dirigo says:

    Y’know, OBL was, when all is said and done, a legitimate military target.

    Guilt can be ladled all around, to try to cover the gross distortions in our policies since 9-11; but it’s not a stretch to say OBL got his just desserts, and special ops deserve some credit for perseverance.

    There’s no doubt we’ve all been twisted out of shape over these last ten years, but today, Sen. Reed of Rhode Island put down the necessary marker about the questionable legality of the torture regime (implied also in remarks by Feinstein), and it seems that is the fulcrum on which all of this rests. Still.

    Who initiated “enhanced interrogation techniques” (going beyond the pale and the law) – and why?

    Saying it worked, as the Bush amen chorus has it (insisting that Obama concede the point), doesn’t mean it was ever legal.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Or smart, effective, or anything else. Just asinine belligerence for show. As usual, our agent of hope and change just rubber stamped another Bush outrage, and for annoyingly similar reasons.

      • dirigo says:

        Outrageous as it all is, Obama can’t concede the premises of the Bush acolytes because there will never be a legal review of torture and related issues if he does.

        It’s a slim reed but a reed nonetheless.

        That’s what lawyering will get ya, but it don’t help much with closure, fer sure.

        • dirigo says:

          And then, on the wearily prosaic level, frat boy W. is said not to want to share the platform with O. at ground zero today because, Bush “aides” say, their man feels the prez is not sharing enough credit for the great kill.

          Petty is as petty does.

  3. mikeinportc says:

    One murdering asshole killed on the orders of another . Let’s have a parade! Dude had it coming , but given the provenance of the majority body count , over the last ten years, all the celebrating and pontificating seems quite distasteful . Not to mention the tug-of-war for “credit” at being the best killers.

    “Predictably, the large number of younger Americans who don’t remember America before 9/11 changed everything reacted as they were now conditioned to: as elated fans of their winning home team against a hated rival. “

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking when I saw some of it.A bit surprised at the extent of it.
    Here’s a sample , if you can stand it
    The second link belongs in The Onion , but is unfortunately not satire.

    http://www2.bupipedream.com/news/death-of-bin-laden-inspires-campus-wide-rally-of-hundreds-1.2216739

    http://www2.bupipedream.com/op-ed/i-m-glad-i-was-in-the-crowd-after-bin-laden-was-killed-1.2217452

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s some frightening stuff… Does Murdoch control all the news these days? I knew my opinion would be a minority one, but sheesh….
      Thanks for the unpleasant but nonetheless informative links, Mike.

  4. mikeinportc says:

    Murdoch? LOL! That’s the main, “liberal”, campus paper, of the local “liberal’ hell, as the young GOPers* see it. (I see them, with occasional exception, mainly as absorbers of, and dispensers of, MSM conventional wisdom.)

    *The current crop of little elephants are better than most. They have an essentially Greenwaldian view on free speech, and drug issues, ( Although I doubt they’d like that comparison.), and sometimes can be very funny in skewering the powers-that-be.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, in my day they were obsessed about the sexual practices of teh ghey, so I gues they’ve improved a bit. They still sound like assholes.

      • nswfm says:

        And now, they are worried about the interior organs of the women.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Funny how that works. It’s a chicken vs. egg question: which comes first, sexual frustration or Republicanism? Not that I would ever do the honors, but the poor things clearly just need to get laid, for a change.

  5. mikeinportc says:

    “It’s a chicken vs. egg question: which comes first, sexual frustration or Republicanism?”

    For the young ones, it’s usually Daddy’s money. ;)

    Btw, chickens are a relatively recent development* , so the answer is “egg”. ;)

    * ~700AD or ~700 yrs ago, from a species of pheasant (Korean?) . I forget the exact #.

  6. retzilian says:

    One would have to believe OBL was involved in 9-11 in order to “celebrate.” One would have to believe that OBL was actually killed in this raid to accept the rest of the story, which keeps changing every day. One would have to believe OBL was actually still at large up until last weekend to give a crap about this.

    Therefore, one must believe about six impossible things before breakfast.

  7. dirigo says:

    It’s been reported Apache leaders have protested the American military’s use of Geronimo to describe Osama bin Laden during the successful special operations raid on OBL’s Pakistan compound.

    The great chief was a tough hombre, Apache leaders said, but tough in a way different than OBL – tough in a good way – or something like that.

    In reporting on OBL’s video and television viewing habits, I have found that military and intelligence operatives decided to call OBL’s channel clicker a dirigo. I of course am as offended by this slur, associated with OBL, as the Apache chiefs are at special ops’ use of Geronimo as a moniker for their quarry.

    I am a man, not a clicker.

    On Monday, I will file a formal protest with the Pentagon, and may, in the absence of a satisfactory and respectful response, sit on a lobster pot at the main gate of America’s defense headquarters, to underscore my concerns. Attention must be paid.

    I appreciate your support.

  8. retzilian says:

    And never mind the fact that OBL was left-handed (like Obama and Clinton, btw) but the OBL in the video is holding the remote with his right hand.

    I guess they forgot to tell the fake OBL to use his left hand. Ooops.

    Never mind that OBL would only be, what, 54 right now and yet he is fully gray?

    Silly, silly, silly.

  9. PI says:

    Hey, Cocktail Hag! Wanna see a fashionable but scary pic of the steely-eyed creep?

    http://my.firedoglake.com/twolf1/2011/05/13/its-all-my-fault/

  10. Bill Jones says:

    “If someone had told me back then that today I would be watching a Democratic President proudly announcing an international extrajudicial assassination, while we were involved in (so far) three wars and counting, I would have told them they were nuts.

    So you’d much rather do it the way Truman, Kennedy, Johnson did it, secretly?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, it would be less unseemly, it seems to me. Or perhaps just outsource it like Clinton. Yes, being publicly proud of torture is something I find both new and abhorrent.