Monday, May 2, 2011
Rot in Hell: the tale of May 1st, 2011 and the death of Osama Bin Laden
By now it is old news. Osama Bin Laden, the most hated enemy of America for ten years, a man three administrations have tried to locate and eliminate, was killed Sunday by a Special Forces operation in Pakistan.
What a great, great day for anyone who values freedom and justice.
The emotions and rapid flurry of events of that evening are best relayed as they were that night, as they happened, on Facebook.
9:43 pm Obama will interrupt programming shortly for 'important' announcement. If he's going to mess w/ my TV time it better mean we've made First Contact.
At the time I had no inkling of what this was about, but duly (and suspiciously) noted that the announcement would pre-empt rival candidate Donald Trump's television show. Then, on FB, a flurry of leaks about the news.
9:51 pm Osama Bin Laden is dead! Whoo-hoo! Rot in Hell asshole.
10 pm Richard Engel of NBC is waxing poetic about how this is the end of the War on Terror. No. It is a great moment, a proud moment, a vengeful moment, but it is not the end . . .
10:07 pm Spontaneous chants of "USA! USA!" have broken out at the Mets-Phillies game . . .
10:11 pm the local Fox affiliate reciting parts of Bush's speech from 9/11 . . . powerful stuff. Speculation Dubya will not comment on camera because of his respectful hands-off stance towards Obama
By now, the news was known to every American who was still awake, and we were still waiting for Obama to verify what we already knew.
10:21 pm His remarks will make the news either way, but this extended delay is allowing networks, the web, and local affiliates to not only scoop Obama on the news but also take the first wave of joy and relief upon their shoulders. A wasted opportunity for the White House.
10:23 pm Fox and NBC are reporting he was killed by a missle strike and that it took some time for 'boots on the ground' to recover the body.
To this, someone replied that Obama's speech was timed to knock the beautification of Pope John Paul II off the front page, and rhetorically asked why they couldn't have waited another day. To which I replied. speaking as a pretty adamant Catholic - because it was more important news???
10:30 pm Snippets of Obama's script are leaking. "not a moment of celebration, but of justice", etc. I, personally, would appreciate a bit of patriotic vitriol in the speech, but talking heads on TV are already downplaying that, claiming Obama is too 'international' to make those statements. If so, that tells you something.
10:31 pm Obama said to be 90 seconds away from speaking [actually, it was 3 or 4 minutes. I went and tried to wake up YaYa to watch the speech, but she was too tired and shrugged me off]
10:39pm started off poorly, stiff delivery, stumble on 'flight 93'. C'mon, pick it up we deserve your best
10:40 pm [reacting to Obama's announcement it was a ground strike conducted that day]today? On the ground?? Kudos to the WH for the misleading leaks earlier, preserving the scoop. Well done!
10:41 pm appreciate the nod to Bush.
10:43 pm he's picked up steam.much more natural now
10:45 pm I'm reminded of a comment about the British Empire; if u crossed them they would repay the debt, even if it took 20 yrs
10:50 pm 9 minutes, 27 seconds of speech that will read powerfully on paper but was sadly hit and miss live - for once I really hoped Obama would nail a speech, but the weight of the moment seemed to impact his first few minutes on screen. No doubt there are individual lines that will work well in news reports.
10:51 pm Crowd outside the White House cheering and screaming in happiness. Nice to see.
11:02 pm STATEMENT BY GEORGE W. BUSH
Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.
11:07 STATEMENT BY MITT ROMNEY
This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere.
Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the
president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many
thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid
down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.
11:11pm For the record: I don't believe this was anything but the result of persistent American effort over the course of ten years and two Administrations. But, sometimes history falls in your lap so - pay attention, because it'll probably be the last time I ever say it - well done Mr. President. Good job.
11:14pm Whoever the American soldier is who fired that fatal shot - thank you! I can't imagine how proud and happy you are at this moment!
~ around this time I spoke to a friend of mine who had wept with pride and happiness at the news ~
12:40 am The State Department has issued a worldwide travel/foreign residency alert for US citizens in light of "enhanced potential for anti-American violence given [Osama's death]". Stay safe out there people.
Drudge [Drudgereport.com] is reporting Osama resisted and that 3 others, including one of his sons, were killed. One was a woman Osama's group used as a human shield. Unsuccessfully, it would seem.
~ a brief break away from the euphoria and stress of that night: Criminy, just finished Torchwood: Children of the Earth. If there is a more morbid, hopeless, self-loathing sci-fi miniseries out there I'll need zanax just to open the DVD case. Sadly, I fear the depiction of the human soul is probably spot on. It's a great end to the show, and very well done.
3:40 am Wait a minute -Obama ordered that Bin Laden be buried within a time frame mandated by Islam, so his body was dumped at sea? What?????? A) IF TRUE, welcome to conspiracy theory 101 B) he isn't deserving of any respect or consideration in death, regardless of his religion. In fact, I could give a sh*t about respecting his religion, be it Mormon, Islam or Lutheran. As for the idea it was done to pacify his followers, anyone who cares about how his remains were disposed is someone that will eventually end up on the wrong end of a SEAL bullet anyhow.
7:45 am Buried at sea. No body. A bow to Islam that makes no sense given we don't accord the same treatment to the thousands of other Muslims we've killed this decade. Welcome to Conspiracy Theory 101. My satisfaction with Obama's tactical brilliance lasted all of . . . 10 hours.
NOTE: By this point people on both sides of the political aisle were doubting the story of the death, and stating so on FB. Said one FB friend, who has certianly leaned Left in local politics: "It's a very nice story, but I believe very little of what the government says. It seems to come from the Department of Convenient Re-Election Strategy."
I didn't doubt he was dead, as it would be too easy for him to make a public announcement to the contrary and scrap Washington's credibility, but I was incensed at the disposal of the body.
~ 9 am. I guess I'm as fickle as the rest of the MTV generation. I woke up this morning and realized nothing changed - gas is still $4.19! a gallon, a $ is worth nothing, our debt is crippling, we're still ignoring revolutions in one country while inexplicitly bombing in support of another, and the wrong movie won Best Picture. Ugh.
The Bin Laden announcement actually pre-empted a post I was going to do here, questioning the reasoning and value of our recent involvement in Libya and elsewhere. In light of Obama's sucess, I felt it would read like sour grapes and scraped it.
~ another brief respite from the news ~ Since I'm 'on call' today I rented 'Black Swan'. It was good, and Natalie Portman deserved the Oscar for her emotional portrayal of Nutty Nutterson. No way it deserved Best Picture tho', so I'm glad it was skipped over - albeit for the wrong film.
This was my final political status update of the day:
By ordering the disposal of Bin Laden's body Obama has planted a perpetual crop of conspiracy theories.This should have been a unifying, patriotic victory, and was - for 12 hours. Now we are already dissolving into different factions. He dropped the ball big time, and it angers me. What a wasted opportunity.
So what would I have done differently? If I wasn't allowed to post his head at Ground Zero, ol' London style, I'd have immediately released video and stills of the corpse, then had it buried at Gitmo. That location would kill any opportunity for a 'shrine' while also preserving the corpse as a counter to any conspiracy nuts.
Later in the day the family sat down and watched extended coverage of the killing on ABC, and we answered some questions from the kids. YaYa, in particular, seemed bothered by the idea of the death, asking if we ever approached him for a 'peace treaty'. It was sweet. Naive, of course, but sweet and it warmed my heart. I am glad she is not as cynical and matter-of-fact as an adult (yet).
I remain bothered by the apparent lack of any teaching about 9/11 or the war in school. It is ten years old, and even if it was not, isn't it important enough to address often enough where I don't have to explain it all from scratch?
So there it is. Euphoria, then anger, then resignation, then back to a calm but certain pride.
Bin Laden is dead. Justice has been served.
May God Bless America.