By Bernard Jenkins
Say what? Despite tin-foil hat conspiracy fantasies, there is no doubt Osama Bin Laden is now sleeping with the fishes in the Arabian Sea. The government would never have announced his death if there was any chance he would be showing up at the Mall of America bagging groceries next month. The real question is: How do we keep the trillion dollar terror/industrial complex humming along, sucking up tax dollars and scaring the pants off the citizenry, without the perfect bogeyman Osama Bin Laden?
The Al-Qaeda brand had already been devalued over the years since 9/11 although our terror/industrial complex has tried mightily to keep it alive and frightening. Al-Qaeda of Mesopotamia. Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Qaeda this. Al-Qaeda that. Like so many Ray’s Pizza shops on every New York city street corner. Al-Qaeda the magic LOGO. Bin Laden the ghost-like cartoon villain.
The felonious Bush gang cried "Osama is coming!! Osama is coming!!" every time they stepped in deep voodoo and needed to distract the country from their own criminal behavior and Constitution-shredding.
The feckless, Bush-lite Obama administration used Al-Qaeda as the handy excuse to pursue their own floundering war in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, despite intelligence that there were fewer than 100 card-carrying Al-Qaeda left in that miserable long-suffering medieval country.
As the years went by, it appeared that Al-Qaeda had actually shot its wad on the one big bang, the tragic and diabolic 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Yes, London and Madrid subsequently suffered shocking attacks with numerous dead. But nothing as shattering as 9/11. And most other terrorist tries were the incompetent work of freelance martyr fantasizers, chumps and morons that did not succeed. Except as another good excuse to pump more moolah into the bloated Department of Homeland Security and the already bulging pockets of security hustlers and corporations getting rich off the (real or imagined) threat.
Even in the last 4 months as the Freedom Caravan moved across the Middle East, toppling some Arab tyrants and terrifying the rest, you did not see any "Long Live Osama Bin Laden" banners in the protest marches and demonstrations.
Osama Bin Laden was nowhere to be found, becoming a desert mirage, and Al-Qaeda seemed to be fading into the amnesia of history.
Then late in the evening of May 1st, President Obama commandeered the air waves and bandwidths to announce that Osama Bin Laden, public enemy #1, the man who wasn't there and yet was everywhere, had been found in Pakistan and been killed by America's most special of special forces. Hoo-ray! Hoo-ray!! Boo-yah!! U-S-A!! U-S-A!! Game over!! We win!!
The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a genuinely surprising, dramatic and long-awaited piece of good news for America and for Obama, who has had very little of it for some time. And yet, the story is doubtless much more complex than the simple SEAL Team 6 made-for-TV action tale we have been fed.
The first dramatic announcement by Obama was essentially a few simple truths surrounded by a pack of lies. In short order, we were told that Osama was discovered, after years of tracking his favorite courier, to be living in a $1 million mansion/palace/compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, hometown of the Pakistani Military Academy and countless retired military officers. The Pakistani military and the dreaded Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Department (ISI), we were told, knew naaaathing. It was the gunfight at the Osama corral. The cowardly varmint hid behind his wife's skirts. The good guys killed her to get to him. Hot lead was flying all over. He had an AK-47. He was reaching for an AK-47. He was armed with a squirt-gun. He was a coward and a sissy. He was shot in the head. He was shot in the eye. He was shot in the back yard....
The corpse was quickly whisked off to an aircraft carrier, wrapped in a shroud, given the Muslim last rites and deep-sixed into the Arabian Sea. No film at 11. Except a photo of the Obama national security team supposedly watching the action in real-time video with stunned or stoned expressions on their faces. Only Hillary appeared to be reacting to whatever they were watching with a dose of genuine human emotion. She later said she was only stifling a sneeze.
The Obama-loathing GOP, caught with their talking points down, still have not figured out how to react except to insist that all credit and praise belongs to GW Bush! Proof positive, if any more were needed, that this political party is so awesomely, breath-takingly insane they should never again be allowed to hold public office or, indeed, walk the streets unsupervised!
The Democratic Party, whose default position is always to take the other guy's side in the argument, is busily, dizzily arguing with itself. The death of Osama is good riddance to bad rubbish. Ah, but he should have been captured alive and tried in a court of law. No, he should have been bombed not shot. We should now get out of Afghanistan. No, we should invade Pakistan.
Obama himself is currently walking on water.
With the over-excited assistance of our national media, the Obama administration is in full marketing mode. Performing the now-standard public rituals of military worship. Taking back some of their early lies and embellishments. Polishing up new ones. Releasing videos that show Osama as the Howard Hughes of Al-Qaeda, old, shriveled, goofy, addled, sitting in the dumpy bedroom of his 3-story pigsty, hypnotically watching images of himself on an old-fashioned big box TV. Simultaneously they announce they have captured a huuuuge cache of Al-Qaeda information from Osama's computers, though they had originally said he had no internet connection, proving he was still the dominant mastermind Godfather and CEO of his multi-national terror conglomerate. For good measure, the administration loudly proclaims that now Bin Laden has been found and killed, what remains of Al-Qaeda will be so bent on revenge we must be more afraid than ever!! Huh??
The great war on terror has so far proven to be a better con than the 80-year-long Red Scare. It has given us two endless wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the greatest war profiteering possibilities in history; doubled the defense budget to over $700 billion in order to swat these pesky flies, which is more than the rest of the world’s military expenditures combined; provided the homeland security set-up with countless boondoggle opportunities; created a ready-made alibi for torture, illegal wire-tapping, indefinite detention of “enemy combatants” and promoted fear-mongering galore.
To get this con game going, it has been said by some, that if Osama Bin Laden hadn’t existed, it would have been necessary to invent him. To keep it going now that Osama Bin Laden has been killed, it may be necessary to re-invent him.