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Motion to adjourn

May 2, 2011
GW Bush celebrates his famous "Mission Accomplished" moment

GW Bush celebrates his famous "Mission Accomplished" moment 01 May, 2003

So the announcement has been made that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Of course he always intended for his organization to survive him, and his popularity in some quarters of the Islamic world certainly does. So nothing has changed.

Still, people are celebrating all over the country.  Here in Normal college students who were eight years old on 9/11 are out on the quad in the middle of the night whooping it up.  You could hear them from my house half a mile away.

Politicians, wary that people may lose their enthusiasm for war, are giving cautious speeches about the need for continued vigilance.  By which they mean of course, a continued standoff in the war with Oceana Eastasia. And FOX News showed a screen scroll which read; “Obama Bin Laden Dead”.  Yes you read that correctly.

Hundreds of thousands of people, maybe over a million, are dead, and hundreds of millions of lives affected in ways ranging from a sad picture over the mantlepiece to living as refugees in a shattered land.  Many of our freedoms – the ones Al Qaeda supposedly hated us for – lie in tatters and we have spent over a trillion dollars of our children’s money. Our country could hardly be more polarized. Certainly the fundamental tensions that led to 9/11 remain.

Almost every war ends this way – the gradual realization that not much has changed and that the suffering and destruction was for not much at all, and making ever-louder celebrations to drown out that feeling. Yes the end of any war is something to celebrate, in much the same way as it feels good to stop hitting yourself on the head with a hammer.  Stop anytime then.  Stop now.

Even “The Great War” ended with the realization that fundamental tensions that lead to the war must be addressed.  We called it the Marshall Plan.  But there will be no addressing of the insatiable addiction for oil that made it so important to bring our guns and money to bear on another culture and land.  That will actually get worse.  These are wars of economics, not (as the right wing seems to prefer) religion. We are in three wars that derive at least indirectly from oil and it is folly to think there will not be more.  We seem to take a perverse pride in using more of the stuff. How did waste get to be patriotic?  How did we get to television personalities bragging about the lousy mileage on the SUV’s?

And yes, Osama is dead.  He could never have acquired a following and become powerful if we did not have a strategic need to control the oil supply.  We want to think of him as evil – desperately need to think of him as evil.  And he was evil but our need to see him that way is blinding us to some other things we ought to see.

Does anyone doubt that if we waited another ten years to bring our troops home, a bloodbath would result?  Or five years or fifteen years?  Wars leave permanent scars and violence and the seeds of future wars in their wake.  Hell, our own country isn’t over the Civil War yet.  We sure as hell aren’t over Vietnam.  But in such adventures, “a motion to adjourn is always in order”.


  • *My apologies: I bungled the 1984 reference.  It has been a while since I read the book.  As per comment here we are Oceana and are at war with Eastasia.  And many thanks to Mike the Mad Biologist for the link in his post.
  • ***Dave: Vengeance
  • Les Jenkins: Osama’s death is no victory to celebrate
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 2, 2011 at 04:53 | #1

    See, this is why I love coming here. You always say what I’d like to say, better than I could ever say it. Saves me a lot of work, that does.

    I had a few kids flag me down in the parking lot on the way home, just bursting to tell somebody Osama’s dead. Just giddy with it. I have no idea why. He’s just a man. A bad man, a man who killed, but there are so many men who killed so many more. So many men who harmed this country worse.

    When Bush has gotten hauled to the Hague to face trial for war crimes, then flag me down. Then I’ll be screaming for joy loud enough for folks to hear me half across the country.

    Tonight? A shrug, a nod to the fact we’ve created a martyr and are about to see yet more terrorist attacks. And about the only satisfaction I feel is in the fact that Obama did in less than two years what Bush couldn’t do ever. That, I admit, pleases me.

    I’m proud of the people who are using this moment to call for an end to the wars and for the rebuilding of our civil liberties. Still some sanity left in this country. That’s a fine thing to see.

  2. May 2, 2011 at 13:15 | #2

    “Obama Bin Laden Dead”. Yes you read that correctly.

    It’s bipartisan. An announcer on NPR mistakenly said “Obama” instead of “Osama” while reporting on the story this morning.

  3. Karen
    May 2, 2011 at 16:09 | #3

    It was never about OBL; it’s ALWAYS been about oil. Afghanistan doesn’t have oil, but they export unrest to states that do have oil. Look at the “popular uprisings” our government has supported lately; it’s always been an attempt to side with the winners, because then the oil will continue to flow. (I think the Powers That Be underestimated Gaddafi.) But it’s ALWAYS oil. All the rest is window dressing.

    Truth be told, I expect our U.S. government would be no more concerned about terrorism than about the daily violence that goes on in the poor, gang-infested parts of our cities, except that successful Islamic terrorism leads to more instability in Islamic states. Eventually, with the oil-rich states in anti-US hands, they might decide that it’s more important to deprive the U.S. of oil than it is to make money!

  4. James Kessler
    May 3, 2011 at 13:38 | #4

    Well considering Fox has apparently continously made that same “mistake” it becomes less of a “whoops” and more of a “We’re doing it intentionally.”

  5. May 6, 2011 at 01:58 | #5

    Just so you know, George, I have shamelessly plagiarized your fine post here. I’m pretty proud I done it, too.

  6. dof
    May 6, 2011 at 08:22 | #6

    Thanks Paul! Thanks Dana!

    James – exactly. I’ve seen them do it so many times it’s become a cliché. And there’s a big difference between speaking and typing. The homophony of Osama and Obama doesn’t translate to a keyboard. And it isn’t a typo because the keys are not adjacent on a qwerty keyboard.

    Karen – I think they like terrorism. It makes people afraid but doesn’t really pose an existential threat to our country. Fear of terrorism has been a great political tool for Conservatives. Even the ones that pose as liberal.

  7. May 6, 2011 at 11:02 | #7

    “We want to think of him as evil – desperately need to think of him as evil. And he was evil but our need to see him that way is blinding us to some other things we ought to see.”

    That defines our culture’s blinding ethnocentrism in a nutshell — that irrational need to be both right and good which allows both our effortless manipulation by wealthy people and interests who are neither right nor good; and their selfish economic interests to be so easily cloaked under a banner of good vs. evil.

    Great post.

  8. WeeDram
    May 6, 2011 at 21:10 | #8

    So this shows there is no differentiation between good and bad. Celebrate the towers going down, celebrate the evil man going down. Same.

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