Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Ding Dong, Bin Laden's Dead, and Yes, You Can Give Credit to Obama
I've been silent about Bin Laden's death for a couple days now, listening to the spin (and doing a lot of head shaking) and listening to the cheering (and doing a lot of head shaking), and finally I feel ready to state how I feel about the whole thing.
First off, let me tell you who the REAL HEROES are: the Navy Seals who went in and got the job done. No question about it, they lopped the head off the snake, and Al Quaeda will never be the same. That terrorist organization has lost its leader, its major source of strategy-making and financing, and America has sent a clear message that we will not tolerate terrorists attacking within our borders.
But celebrating the death of anybody is a bit distasteful to me. "Revenge" and "getting even" and "payback time!" are all baser emotions. I don't see the death of Bin Laden as payback. I see it as a logical military action taken to remove a threat (and not a preemptive strike, either, because those terrorists have hit us.)
The most alarming and disgusting thing to me, though, is the crazy right wing spin being put out on Fox News and conservative airways. Now let me be clear. I don't think all Republicans are bad. Many are quite rational and care deeply about this country--I often say we want the same things, we just disagree on how to best accomplish those same things. But the right wing extremists and Tea Party folks are just bleating fools. On the one hand, they're spinning the death of Bin Laden as a great victory for George Bush and policies of torturing prisoners in order to gain intelligence, which, they are claiming, led ultimately to Bin Laden's capture (Obama just happened to be the President when it finally happened, they are saying).
To say it bluntly, I call bullshit. Let me direct you folks to the video above. It wasn't the past torture of prisoners that led to Bin Laden's capture. George Bush even said that capturing Bin Laden wasn't his first priority. Iraq was. President Obama disagreed and campaigned (as the video clearly shows) on a strategy of how to get Bin Laden. It was to stop focusing on Iraq, to double down in Afghanistan, and to deal with Pakistan. I can remember the right wing MOCKING Obama after he laid out his strategy. Senator McCain in this same video goes off on making Obama sound like a big-talking crazy warmonger and the right wing has been saying Obama's just a big talker who is soft on terror ever since. Sorry to inform you, but it was Obama's strategy that led to the capture of Bin Laden. He simply, quite patiently, made good on his promise. (And you can bet if the Navy Seals had actually failed in their mission, the right wing would certainly be blaming the President for that.)
Besides, how can anybody actually get behind a policy of torturing prisoners? That is not America. We don't torture people. We are bigger and better than that. The ends do not justify the means, and that's just ethics. If you support torture, fine, that's your business, but please stop squawking about being a Christian.
This morning, the right wing has moved on to suggesting that Obama was way out of line in killing Bin Laden (now suddenly they ARE giving him credit for the action). They have returned to their standard fear-mongering by asking, "Who's next?" Uh-oh, if you piss off President Obama, he will have you killed. Give me a break. As the video above shows, Bin Laden was a single target, the President announced his strategy regarding him well before he was ever elected, and I will say it again: he simply made good on a promise.
Bin Laden is dead. There is one less terrorist terrorizing not just Americans, but our allies, and indeed, other Muslims. Bin Laden was a radical extremist, a sociopath, a man who believed his way was the only way and everyone not in step with his agenda needed to die. He was to humanity what Adolf Hitler was. We should thank God, Yahweh, and Allah that Bin Laden's power did not get any greater than it was.
An enemy of humanity is gone. We should remember that with sadness and remember the lessons of history. For those who would use this occasion to press their own political agenda and dislike of our own President, shame on you.