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Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:24 am
by Jonathan E.
garth cartwright wrote: . . . the targeted assassination that I find disturbing. He's living in a house with 2 sons, 2 wives, some grandkids . . .

The claims are that it wasn't a targeted assassination. Yeah, I know, the "claims" . . .

And the claims are that the woman killed was being used as a human shield — so . . .

You might well be right about the advantages of a trial, but it's too late now.

And it seems fairly irrefutable by now that OBL did a targeted assassination of about 3,000 individuals in 2001. Once again, so . . .

I don't think it was called the War on Terror, hideous phrase as it is, for nothing.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:45 pm
by Dayna
A lot of people say they won't beleive it till the ysee a picture of the body, but I can't handle death, so I couldn't look. It brought some closure to a lot of people, including me. I listened to a replay of the planes hitting the Trade Towers and all the poeple that lost loved ones and the images of people jumping 100 stories to death. I remembered what I felt like. I thought I was going to die that day. I know others felt worse, since they lost someone. When the news broke that the Towers had been hit I was working at a resturant and the people there had the TV on in the bar. When I first looked at it, I thought it was an old picture but then as I watched it sunk in what was happening. Eventually, they closed the restuarant and let us all go home, so I just went straight to my Mom's house, because I thought, "If I'm going to die, I'd like to be with my family." Justice has been served in this case. I think if they could have went in and just got the guys responsible, it would have saved a lot of lives in war, but then I give credit to our well trained military. I know there's actually more terrorists out there though and he was just one guy, so we are still in danger.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:01 pm
by Adam Blake
Thank you, Dayna. That was very touching to read. I would say, though, that it was vengeance, not justice that was served. Justice is a very big word indeed, and one which politicians use far too easily without thinking what it means. Where is the justice for all the civilians killed as "collateral damage"? For the victims of the "kill teams"? For the homecoming vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who find their medical bills are not covered by their insurers and their homes being re-possessed by financial criminals who are given more protection under the law than they, the soldiers who were sent to fight in Bush's wars. In war there is no justice, only vengeance and strategic advantage - and the difference is critical.

They should have taken him alive. It's too late now, but it would have made all the difference in the world to the US sense of moral high ground. Extending Wild West values to Pakistan will be perceived very differently outside the USA.

Hey-ho.... Support our troops. Bring them home.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:03 pm
by Jonathan E.
Here's a vaguely relevant "QUOTATION OF THE DAY" that came with my New York Times email news digest today:
"I cried. I took a look up at the sky and said 'They got him!' Now the day has come, and it's a mixed emotion. It's sad; it's triumphant. I feel absolutely fantastic. I hope it brings some comfort to the families. No closure. That word should be stricken from the English language."
LEE IELPI, 66, of Great Neck, N.Y., whose son, Jonathan, a firefighter from Queens, died in the 9/11 attacks.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:17 pm
by Jonathan E.
Adam Blake wrote: . . . They should have taken him alive. It's too late now, but it would have made all the difference in the world to the US sense of moral high ground. Extending Wild West values to Pakistan will be perceived very differently outside the USA.

Hey-ho.... Support our troops. Bring them home.

Easier said than done, perhaps. Reports are that they would have been pleased to capture OBL alive — and, for some reason, I'll take their word for it for once. Honestly, I don't think there was any moral high ground lost with the way it turned out — and suggesting that the US is "Extending Wild West values to Pakistan" is rather laughable, although I will certainly agree that the history of the US has produced a different overall mindset from much of western Europe when it comes to settling issues. In this case, I'm hard pressed to find any evidence of serious negative international reaction to the way it went down besides the obvious and predictable from organizations like Fatah, which . . . umm, I would suggest lack any credibility in this case.

Don't just bring the troops home. Abolish all military forces! Costa Rica manages to live without a standing military.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:30 pm
by garth cartwright
My friend Woody Haut wrote '"Justice," Barack Obama called his death. In the old days, of course, "justice" meant due process, a court, a hearing, a defence, a trial...But a court would have worried more people than Bin Laden. After all, he might have talked about his contacts with the CIA during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, or about his cosy meetings in Islamabad with Prince Turki, Saudi Arabia's head of intelligence.' I'm in agreement - he could of named many a political contact from across the Middle East and some hardcore anti-Soviet US politicians and spooks who gave him plenty of support.

The World Service say he was unarmed and in his bedroom - why even if he put up a struggle (and this is a 53 year old ill with kidney disease) did they not shoot him in the arm or leg? Navy Seals being top marksmen. Assassination was the order.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:08 pm
by Jonathan E.
Well, I wasn't there — and, as usual, one can read more than one version of what went down. From people who weren't there either. So . . . ultimately, it's all guesswork on our part and yours may be as good as mine. Or anyone else's. No shortage of hot air.

My guess is that OBL had absolutely no intention of being taken alive — would you in his circumstances? — and made it so.

May a thousand conspiracy theories flower and flourish. 'Cos they will.

Personally, I'd argue that the concept of justice in this case is hazy at absolute best, to the point where it may as well not exist — but it sounds good on the official soundbites. What else would you expect? The system is the system. It feeds on itself.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:12 pm
by Jonathan E.
garth cartwright wrote:My friend Woody Haut wrote '"Justice," Barack Obama called his death. In the old days, of course, "justice" meant due process, a court, a hearing, a defence, a trial...But a court would have worried more people than Bin Laden. After all, he might have talked about his contacts with the CIA during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, or about his cosy meetings in Islamabad with Prince Turki, Saudi Arabia's head of intelligence.' I'm in agreement - he could of named many a political contact from across the Middle East and some hardcore anti-Soviet US politicians and spooks who gave him plenty of support. . . .

Very, very, very old news. Far from secret. Already raked over about a thousand times. I'm not sure anyone would give a toss any longer. And, relevant to 9/11/2001? I don't think so.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 11:20 pm
by Des
garth cartwright wrote:The World Service say he was unarmed and in his bedroom - why even if he put up a struggle (and this is a 53 year old ill with kidney disease) did they not shoot him in the arm or leg? Navy Seals being top marksmen. Assassination was the order.


I was weirdly shocked by the killing of Ceaușescu, I was troubled by the execution of Saddam. OBL's death seems kind of approppriate - violent and pitiless. Perhaps I'm just an embittered old reactionary but I just don't care how he died, even if it was the result of American imperialism etc. It's no fun being a heartless bastard though.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:39 am
by garth cartwright
Latest reports say as they entered his bedroom his wife rushed at the special forces and they shot her in the leg. They then shot O twice in the head. It's now - at least in the UK - discussed as a kill mission, no intent on taking him alive. So the US got what it wants and Osama got what he wanted - martyrdom. It plays well to his followers and to the war pigs so this can run and run.

I'm much more impressed by the French who got Carlos out of Sudan alive, put him on trial and absolutely demystified the former Most Wanted Super Terrorist into blithering idiot. I have no sympathy for Osama - I just don't like summary justice.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:47 am
by AndyM
But can you imagine the cost, protractedness and security risks of a trial ?

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 3:06 pm
by garth cartwright
Agreed Andy, it would not have been easy. But in our wonky democracies having a trial rather than summary execution is one of the few things we have that stop our societies slipping into totalitarianism.

Personally, I think his status in 2011 was much overrated - he was a bit of a John Lydon, dragged out for mock threat effect occasionally. I imagine his trial - like that of Carlos's - would have proved more bemusing to all sorts of people rather than set off bombs. The problems in Pakistan/Afghanistan - and across the Arab world - are deep rooted and existed long before OBD stepped on the stage. His martyrdom will be an excuse used by those who want to cover for their crimes.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 6:12 pm
by Jonathan E.
garth cartwright wrote: . . . But in our wonky democracies having a trial rather than summary execution is one of the few things we have that stop our societies slipping into totalitarianism. . . .

Bit of a problem finding a jury of twelve of his peers in this case perhaps.

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 6:30 pm
by Jonathan E.
Des wrote: . . . I was weirdly shocked by the killing of Ceaușescu, I was troubled by the execution of Saddam. OBL's death seems kind of approppriate - violent and pitiless. Perhaps I'm just an embittered old reactionary but I just don't care how he died, even if it was the result of American imperialism etc. It's no fun being a heartless bastard though.

But Mussolini's upset at the end was OK, wasn't it? No one's complaining about that one, are they?

Re: The death of Osama bin Laden

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 6:34 pm
by Jonathan E.
For some reason, I feel that some of you may find this opinion piece amusing, even relevant:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/05/04/notes050411.DTL&ao=all

I paste it in for the lazy:

Osama bin Laden saves America

by Mark Morford

I'm hereby delighted to report that many on the hard right, that fantastically insane cluster of hyperclenched beerchuggers who fully believe that Obama is a not only a Muslim, but also a Nazi commie socialist Mexican immigrant robot with lasers for eyes and molten pacifism for blood, do not actually believe Osama bin Laden is dead.

It's actually a dastardly CIA conspiracy, is what it is. Or if he is dead, well, lame ol' President Obama certainly had nothing to do with it, and it's all probably some giant PR stunt anyway, and that highly suspicious "burial at sea" was far too courteous given how everyone knows OBL's body should have been ripped apart by ravenous tigers in the middle of a NASCAR racetrack before the star-spangled eyes of tearful Wonderbread schoolchildren, etcetera and ad nauseam.

In short, we can rest in our reassurance that the more insane and mistrustful of our country are just as ridiculously askew as ever. Hell, we've got the hugely tasteless T-shirts to prove it.

As for everyone else, well, electric possibility reigns. You may right now be noticing that a rather delightful hush has fallen over the GOP, a reluctant reverence, a simple understanding that even the slightest peep in the direction of decrying Obama, or trying to shift the focus back to their whimpering agendas -- that, say, gas prices are somehow more important than the destruction of the global symbol of evil in the world -- any such puling would be horrifically immature, trifling in the extreme, politically fatal.

And no wonder. No matter where you land on the spectrum of overt weirdness that is celebrating a ruthless targeted killing, no matter how you view the brutality of warfare, the distorted costs of justice or America's creepy, cheerful bloodlust, there is right now a palpable shift, an irrefutable tang to this unexpected turn of events unlike many others in our short, spastic history.

Parse it as you will, but it's not every day the global symbol of all that is vile and wrong with the human animal gets taken out by the global symbol of all that is decent and right with American-style democracy.

An oversimplification? Probably. But it all points to a possible radical rethinking for (and of) Obama himself, a grand opportunity to regain both momentum and message lost. It's also a perfect occasion to reignite the entire "Change We Can Believe In" mantra for a newly electrified populace.

Question is, can he do it? Has he learned anything from the past 2.5 years of brutal pushback and opportunities squandered? Or will it all slip away in a maelstrom of mishandled message and twitchy Rush Limbaugh blubbering?

At present there is little doubt: The potency of the moment is Obama's to lose. There are those calling this the "man on the moon" event of this generation, on par with the Berlin wall collapse, a triumph of American will and sophisticated military cunning so significant the temperament of the country will never be the same.

So historic is the shift, in fact, that all Obama really has to do now is let the astonishing details of the clandestine operation trickle down and word of his direct, daring involvement penetrate the collective consciousness, and not only will any current agenda items be supercharged with new vigor, but many of his administration's previous, unsung achievements will take on a fresh luster as well.

The details are as mesmerizing as they are dark and unsettling. The undisclosed meetings. The careful orchestration. The strategic refining. The incredible secrecy, months of training by the most enigmatic facets of our elite military, the final call to make it happen. It's as gruesome and somber as advanced military craft gets.

It's also overwhelmingly cinematic, the American good-versus-evil fantasy writ large, even as it speaks to Obama's powerhouse strengths of focus and intention. No waste. Minimal collateral damage. Precision and timeliness and absolute clarity of purpose.

(Meanwhile, mere hours before it all goes down, effortlessly singe your critics and enemies alike at the correspondents' dinner, and travel to survey the damage in Alabama. Not bad for a couple days' work, really).

Or perhaps not. Perhaps all we'll feel now is an overheated jolt of jingoism, a warped sort of respect for the billion-dollar special forces military teams -- the same groups reportedly responsible for some of the most brutal torture and rendition under Bush and Obama alike. A mixed blessing, to be sure.

Or perhaps all we get now is this strange sense that bin Laden was, after all, just a symbol, and without a massive effort on the part of Obama to upheave the acidic political and ideological tone in America, a new symbol will simply emerge elsewhere to enrage and divide us anew. America loves its demons. It seems we always must find something, someone upon whom we can transfer all our fears. Can Obama change that? Is it even up to him?

One thing is absolutely clear: We don't get many such moments in a given lifetime, especially one containing such a strange and dazzling bolt of irony.

It goes like this: Osama bin Laden successfully poisoned much of the American spirit, brought tragedy, pain and unwanted, devastating war, was leveraged as an excuse to commit all manner of despicable misprision by the Bush administration, and changed the complexion of a nation for the worse.

And now, his bloody demise a full decade later at the hand of a far more measured, intelligent, focused president could actually, in a way, bring America back to life, give it a focus and purpose like it never quite had before. The same pitiful demon that caused much of our pain could, if handled correctly, turn out to be the source of a new, more thoughtful kind of liberation. How's that for wayward poetic justice?