• RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Marion On May - 4 - 2011

It didn’t take long before the verbal snipers came out to play in the wake of Bin Laden’s death. It wasn’t enough that most of the Republicans, with few exceptions, were crediting the abysmal George W Bush with the end game which came Sunday evening. I wondered how many days’ grace, how many hours even, would transpire before various tranches of the media would, if not seek to turn bin Laden into the martyr figure he doesn’t deserve to be, or how many would criticize the spontaneous reactions of various American citizens to the news of this man’s death.

Just as we’ve got smacked the birthers’ collective asses with the long-form birth certificate, now we have to contend with the deathers, led by both Andrew Breitbart from the Right and Glenn Greenwald, who pretends to be from the Left, but sucks up to the Koch-founded and funded Cato Institute.

As expected, we’ve got people clamouring for sights of bin Laden’s corpse pictures, taken for identification purposes in the wake of his untimely demise, to the extent that the White House is now debating releasing them to the public.

I can understand their reluctance. I’m not too keen on seeing the body of this evil man with half the side of his head blown to smithereens and his brains oozing out over immediate creation. I had enough of that with the grainy Zapruder film years ago, showing a President’s brains being blown out the back of his head.  I also understand that the White House, unlike such bastions of good taste as Messrs Breitbart, Greenwald and Judge Andrew Napolitano, is sensitive to the fact that such pictures might offend some people – in particular, people of the Muslim faith; that such images would also only serve to flame certain elements intent on furthering bin Laden’s agenda.

I have no problem with that. Nor do I have any problem believing the man is, in fact, dead, and was killed on Sunday, as stated. And I certainly don’t have any problem with the definitive fact, being confirmed by the White House, in the wake of a lot of instant folklore stories which arose around the 40 minutes of firepower three days ago, that bin Laden was unarmed when killed.

Here was a man who masterminded the tragedy of 9/11, as well as the train bombing in Madrid the following year and the London bombings a couple of years later. He was behind the Bali disco bombing, amongst other things. All those thousands of people of all nationalities from New York to Madrid to Bali to London, were all unarmed and going about their normal lives when bin Laden sought to play god and end them. He showed no mercy, and no mercy should be shown him.

Taking him alive would have created all sorts of problems – where to incarcerate him, how long before he came to trial, where to hold the trial … If New York couldn’t stage the civil trial of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who the hell would take on hosting a venue for the trial of someone like bin Laden? That trial would have been bigger than Nuremberg. What about the punishment? If the trial were in the US, there would surely be a death sentence. If he were tried in The Hague, a life sentence, and he would still be alive as an idealogical embodiment, if nothing else. No, I’m content with one man copping a bullet for the thousands, the millions, who’ve died as a result of his actions and manipulations.

Various people in the media are trying to carve a moral high ground from this morass, and they’d be well-advised not to attempt this, because the most unclean moral lepers of modern society are usually found amongst the denizons of the Fourth Estate. Yesterday, The Guardian led with a long op-ed by the Egyptian journalist, Mona Eltahawy, scathingly criticizing the “frat boy” antics of the students who gathered at Ground Zero upon learning of bin Laden’s death. This meme was pithily picked up by Glenn Greenwald and fomented, adding a soupcon of falsity to his diatribe by stating as fact that Leon Panetta was wondering salaciously and openly who might portray him when they made the Hollywood version of the killing of bin Laden. Greenwald’s “fact” was later proven to be an outright fabrication. A lie.

As for Eltawahy, her article was a blatant piece of hypocrisy, when compared to her assessment of the Egyptian uprisings in an interview she did with Bill Maher in February:-

In case Mona is unaware of the fact, most of those whom she decried as “frat boys,” celebrating at Ground Zero on Sunday night, were, actually, just that: frat boys. College students. The actual equivalents of those students, those young Egyptian people, she so eloquently and often rudely defended to Bill Maher. Just as those kids had grown up and reached maturity in the shadow of Hosni Mubarak, so those kids partying at Ground Zero and in front of the White House, had lived from childhood with the spectre of Osama bin Laden as the epitome of the bogeyman. They shouted, they screamed, they sang patriotic songs of their country, probably laced heavily with drink. At the end of the day, they had something to celebrate, like the Egyptians in the square in Cairo. And Ms Eltahawy, a journalist in their midst, was not stripped, attacked and raped.

I know it’s utterly impossible for most people and pundits on the Right, as well as some of the so-called more enlightened folk of the ueber Left, to admit that this President is capable of walking down the street and chewing gum at the same time. Everything he’s done is wrong, even when whatever he’s done has been what he’s promised to do. Nothing’s ever good enough for some people. We all know why critics from the Right have a particular problem with anything the President does or doesn’t do, and as time progresses, we have a pretty good idea why his critics from the ueber Left (veering into the Right’s territory) cleverly hide something more sinister and ugly behind the facade of ideals and policy particulars.

At the end of the day, it all amounts to the same thing. Time we gave the pundits no mercy either.

191 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. SallyT says:

    For the record and all the comments:
    My original comment was deleted and WTS follow-up was deleted. So, a lot is missed in our follow-ups. My original comment was to Chaz. By no means was I being “un-fair” to WTS. We were teasing one another in the late night as we appeared to be alone with AdLib. If my original comment had remained, you would understand my feelings now. I do know why AdLib deleted it because of the thread it was involved with. WTS, you know why I said what I said and that is all that matters to me. I enjoyed our back and forths with AdLib slipping in to keep it going. It was a fun night.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi Sally,

      If you’re referring to c-lady’s use of the word “unfair” below, that wasn’t meant for you. She is referring to the fact that when I present a, what I feel to be balancing, POV, it may come across sometimes that I am accusing others of being unfair.

      She and I are good friends, and occasional combatants! :)
      We both want the same thing, and she has dedicated her whole life to bringing it about, which I greatly admire her for.

      • chazmania says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful thoughts…Chaz

      • SallyT says:

        We all read statements differently. I really didn’t know how that was meant. As I was explaining to Chaz, being new to this site is like the new girl in High School trying to get into the click. I am sure people would say that isn’t so but we sometimes don’t see ourselves as others do. From the outside looking in, the scene is different. But, as I also said to Chaz, even when I am ignored, I just keep on typing and once in awhile I get heard, just like he was. Love me or Leave me, well, if you choose the later, you are going to miss a really good time. I don’t try to change minds, more just give my view. And, occasionally, like with Chaz, give a hand to help him understand. But, most of the time, I am just a one liner, hoping to get a smile and maybe a real reward, a laugh.

        • choicelady says:

          Somewhere in all of this I missed the entire thread between you, Sally, and WTS -- so I was not reacting to you at ALL since I did not know you even existed at that point. Talk about having it be hard to fit in!!! When you got excised for something I totally missed, how puzzling MY reaction must have been! I was simply saying WTS is always ALWAYS pulling us back in from making over-simple generalizations, and that’s a very GOOD thing to do.

          I think I have a headache -- I realize I have no idea what I’m talking about. Other than to assure everyone on the Planet that what gets said has great value. Now, I’m quietly walking away whistling to pretend I’m not utterly confused. Before I go -- welcome to the Planet, Sally T!

          • whatsthatsound says:

            ha ha, bito! I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular. “cyber pixies” is the term I use whenever online communication goes less smoothly than the more direct forms.

            They are a handy little bunch to blame, I find.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            The cyber pixies have been at work, c-lady. I think all is sorted out and understood now. May your headache magically disappear! :)

            • bito says:

              WTS, “cyber pixies”? I don’t think that’s what some call us? :-) Thanks for your kindness.

          • bito says:

            C’Lady, we had a bit of a ‘fluff-up’ and there are some comments missing, or should i have gaslighted you on this? :-)

            • choicelady says:

              Replying to the “nothing wrong with the lights: -- bltthhhhhppp.

              Can’t fool ME, bito!

            • choicelady says:

              Now YOU are the last person I’d have suspected of gaslighting! Hah. But I’m glad to find out there are missing comments. Headache GONE.

            • bito says:

              C’lady, there’s nothing wrong with the lights, dear and what missing comments? 😉

        • kesmarn says:

          Sally — for the record — I think you are a delightful addition to the Planet, and I’m glad you’re here.

          I don’t think I ever had a chance to give you a formal welcome because Osama bin Laden was rude enough to hog all the attention, but welcome to the Planet!

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Laughs are good things!

    • whatsthatsound says:

      We totally cool, Sally!
      This was just a cyber-misunderstanding.
      Everybody be happy!

      :) :) :) :) :)
      😉

    • AdLib says:

      Cheers Sally! Maybe you’ll join us for Vox Populi (our live Friday night chat) tonight? It’s usually a lot of fun as well!

  2. whatsthatsound says:

    Have we entered the Twilight Zone?

    • AdLib says:

      My apologies to you and Sally, it was nothing that either of you wrote. Check out my comment in TOOT:

      http://planetpov.com/2011/01/16/time-out-for-ot-vol-15/#comment-125235

      • SallyT says:

        That’s okay. I understand. Thought for a moment that a meteor had hit the planet and the only one left here with me was Whatsthatsound and he has Republican leanings! Boy, was eternity going to be a long night with him! :)

        • whatsthatsound says:

          I do NOT have Republican leanings. As I wrote, and which was deleted (grumble) I will occasionally defend those who I feel are being mischaracterized. There was a Republican legislator who made an asinine comment about pregnant women. Except, in fact, his comment was about incipient things having value, NOT about pregnant women. He was using them as an ill advised metaphorical device. But many here thought that meant that he thought pregnant women were no better than, no different from, pregnant cows. And I said, and still maintain, that that was not what he was attempting to communicate at all. He was simply trying to make his case that fetuses -- to him -- have value even though they haven’t been born yet.

          If that means I have Republican leanings, because sometimes I will take the position of someone who I feel is being misunderstood, then I guess I have Republican leanings.

          • choicelady says:

            WTS -- you are very careful to be fair. You’ve done that to some things I’ve said, and while nobody likes to be thought UNfair, I give you full credit for your concern with balance.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Thanks, c-lady!
              In terms of unfairness, in general I try to avoid saying that, because like I said, it’s really more about just trying to widen the overall perspective.

              In terms of Marion, I admit that I am rather forceful, solely because she is the one who in her OPs continually accuses others of unfairness, sometimes without any backing that I can discern, and THAT I find unfair.

              People can criticize a president without being racist, elitist, or closet Repubs.
              And people who proclaim themselves to be neither left nor right can hardly be said to be “pretending” to be liberal.

          • AdLib says:

            I get where you’re coming from but I have it on good authority that women rarely appreciate being compared to cows so that Repub is going to have a very disappointing Mother’s Day.

            Not to mention “Cattle Appreciation Day”, since I also understand that cows don’t like Republicans using them to make hay.

            Or maybe they do?

          • SallyT says:

            I was teasing you………………
            And, when I read that I thought you were saying that women were pregnant with cows and I thought, “Wow, was that birth going to be a bull of a push! And, hurt like hell!”
            Sometimes my joking misses the mark. Don’t ever take me too seriously. Unless I say, “Look, I am being serious now!!”

            • AdLib says:

              So are you saying that this comment about women giving birth to cows is bull?

              If not, then I may be on the horns of a dilemma…he said as he milked this discussion until the cows came home.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              I got that you were teasing, but I knew that teasing had to come from SOMEWHERE. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to clarify what I wrote, since my carefully written and masterful words were summarily dumped into the bowels of cyberspace through no fault of my own.

        • AdLib says:

          Heh! BTW, have you seen WTS’ artwork? If not, you’re in for a treat!

          • SallyT says:

            No I haven’t. Where do I find that? I haven’t explored the Planet in it’s entirety, yet, anymore than I have explored this planet. WTS, I am too old to go to a man’s place to see his etchings. (Well, not too old but married) However, I will go to yours.

            • AdLib says:

              Sally, thanks for the tip. I made a mistake like that with Mitch McConnell who I thought was a turtle but I realized just in time that he wasn’t so I left him on his back, struggling to turn himself over.

            • SallyT says:

              AdLib, if the cow has horns, ah, you might not want to try to milk it. And, if there is just one teat, well, sweetie, its not a cow and don’t ever try to milk it!

            • whatsthatsound says:

              you do me honor, Sally.

            • AdLib says:

              Sally, I was familiar with it though so…

            • SallyT says:

              Oh, hell, AdLib, did I give my age away again? Thanks for the link and I will check WTS out.

            • AdLib says:

              Heh! Etchings, you just don’t hear that line anymore!

              Here is a link to all of WTS’ posts, nearly every one has an original artwork by him, some are just spectacular:

              http://planetpov.com/author/whatsthatsound/

  3. whatsthatsound says:

    Well said, Sally, and from the perspective of an “oldie”, I too felt a little awkward when we had a sudden influx of newcomers a couple months ago. I felt like the newcomers mostly conversed with just each other, anyway it seemed like they weren’t all that interested in what I wrote. Like you, I just kept typing away. Shucks, I even felt kind of overlooked when I didn’t win any POV awards! But heck, I figured, I write so many posts they probably ended up canceling each other out, vote-wise.

    But you know, I think that just goes to show that there is what’s happening, and there’s what we think is happening, and they are often not the same thing. So we thicken our skins, stick to our guns, and mostly, appreciate the opportunity HERE to really spell out what we mean, not limited by word counts, not moderated, even free to post our own posts here fercryinouloud! All of that, plus the great folks here, make this place aces!

    • SallyT says:

      Wow, Whatsthatsound, I got wiped off the face of the planet! But, thank you for the kind words. I don’t know about you but 1968 was a good year for me, if that can place you in my age bracket. I don’t know why I was deleted. If there are guidelines I cross, I am sorry but I honestly didn’t know I had. I guess my time has come to go.

  4. Dbos says:

    The really sick picture of what is happening in America today is of the war criminals rushing to take credit and fox propagandizing our political system into a big lie

  5. whatsthatsound says:

    Another clarification: Glenn Greenwald does not “pretend” to be from the left. He describes himself as neither a liberal nor a conservative. He writes for both liberal and conservative publications.

    • kesmarn says:

      WTS, thanks for your thoughts on Greenwald and elsewhere on this thread.

      I guess I, like you, am a bit baffled as to the consistent focus on TV talking heads — focus that is either approval or scathing condemnation, but relentless focus — in article after article from Marion. There must have been 10-15 over the past year or so. Mostly this message is: “This lefty person claims to be X but is really Y.”

      Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.

      The “enemy”(if we’re doing military lingo this week) is the RW, not some guy who rants on television or in print who may or may not be a true liberal/progressive/Dem but is in reality not what he claims. This amounts to lefty division and naval gazing and pulls our attention away from — say — getting Democrats elected. Or some other thing that reduces the power and influence of the mega-corporations and Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh.

      The right tends to be very focused and very united.

      Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow all have their good and not so good points, but they don’t make up my mind for me!

      So I don’t spend much time thinking about them.

      • choicelady says:

        Marion’s concern is usually about the misinformation we are fed by the MSM and others. It’s not everyone’s schtick, but I find her observations useful. How we are given information, whether it’s credible, skewed, pretentiously offered, distorted, IS important to me. I find her anger about the supposed “progressives” important.

        There are some posts I don’t read because I’m either not particularly interested OR out of my league (as with anything having to do with contemporary popular culture. It’s humiliating to realize what an ignoramus I am about that!)

        I find Marion’s writings useful; she often sees things I don’t watch or read. That said, if it’s not important to you, fine. But I don’t think she’s wrong to post what she thinks, and for some of us it is NOT irrelevant.

        • kesmarn says:

          c’lady, I would never say I thought Marion should stop posting, or that she’s “wrong” to post what she feels. This is the Planet, after all! :-)

          I realize that reviewing the various aspects of punditry has value to some readers, and I respect that, but the repeated theme and the tone are just not my cup o’ tea.

          No disrespect intended for folks who enjoy the articles.

        • Mightywoof says:

          I have to agree with you CLady -- I think it is important to castigate the left nattering nabobs as they are perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be what the left is thinking. Their negativity shapes the views of both the left ‘waverers’ and the independents who might be inclined to vote left.

          Marion’s writing is strong but I’ve come to appreciate it over time -- this is so rude to speak of Marion as if she wasn’t here -- sorry Marion. I appreciate your writing now, in spite of it’s strength and sometimes because of it -- you have taken on a decidedly British flavour in tone or at least that’s how I perceive it and I know that it can come across as abrasive to non-Brits.

          • kesmarn says:

            Woof, so sorry about the apparent rudeness, but in truth — and I will say this to Marion — you rarely respond to comments after an article is posted. And virtually never comment on other articles. So it is as though an article is dropped on the doorstep like the morning paper and then left for discussion by the readers without further involvement.

            There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the m.o. apparently for these posts.

            • kesmarn says:

              I can’t function without my coffee, Woof. First thing I do in the morning is get the brewer going.

              Wellll, maybe not the first thing…

              😀

            • Mightywoof says:

              I’m glad we’re cool :) ….. that’ll teach me to respond to posts before my third cup of coffee in the morning!

            • kesmarn says:

              Woof, thanks so much for the clarification. It really helps.
              I luv ya and value your opinion.

              Whew…it’s been a long week. hasn’t it?

            • Mightywoof says:

              Oh Kes -- I wasn’t castigating anybody else; I realised I was talking about Marion and should have been talking to her -- it really wasn’t about anybody else -- sorry :(

            • choicelady says:

              kes -- it comes out of a long, long history of disillusionment with the Dark Side. The changeover from progressive to troll at HP has shocked us ALL, I think, and it heightened Marion’s sense of how easily even “our side” is influenced by bad and erroneous “reporting” under the guise of “progressive” labels. The reason we are here is because of that, and Marion in particular has made that her work. I, for one, read what she says closely. I get a lot of this in my own work -- pushback against issues by people who read no further than misleading headlines -- so I really find her analysis helpful.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Thanks, Kes,

        I see that you, like me, find the perpetual punching of pompous pundits to be puzzling and ponderous.

      • Caru says:

        Of course the right is very focused and very united. They don’t tolerate dissent or independent thought.

        • kesmarn says:

          Yes, Caru, and when you have an agenda that’s a simple one-liner like: “More money for us, less for them,” that helps, too.

          But I have to give the devils their due. When they have a mission in mind, they march lock-step and get it done. The left could do with a bit less in-fighting, imho, in order to be more effective. It’s okay to have vigorous debate, but once our guy gets elected, we would do better to unite behind him and let him lead.

          We’ve all heard the old comparison to herding cats, though.

  6. agrippa says:

    My first reaction to killing OBL: well good. We got shut of that.

    OBL’s agenda never really caught hold, and we can see from the Arab Spring that the time of OBL is past.

    Now, we can start to think about what this Afghanistan business ia all about. It looks to me that the stated rationale has been killed. I think that it is time see about leaving.

    We can start thinking about that part of the world -- SW asia -- and what we want to accomplish.

  7. KQuark says:

    Kesmarn OK one last comment because I just have one last point about the rabbi’s comments. Mostly I found his umbrage against people’s spontaneous reactions to OBL’s death to be intolerant. Any man who is married and has any wisdom never assumes what his wife should or should not feel in reacting to a situation. Why does the good rabbi think he has the right to tell people how to feel about an news of OBL’s death? I certainly never told people how they should feel. Some cultures cry at wakes and some cultures celebrate at wakes but no one should judge which one is right or wrong. It’s part of that culture and part human emotion. That’s what happened after they announced OBL was killed. People reacted based on their cultural values (in this case their feelings toward America) and their personal emotions. Even implying a celebratory response was wrong is pure intolerance and being judgmental.

    How MLK would have reacted is of no consequence to how each individual reacts. I’m sure he would have reacted based on the same things that make him human like the rest of of us and to imply what is right or wrong is just placing your PVJs (personal value judgments) on something where there is no true right or wrong.

    Again this was one moment in time. We need to learn from this event and move on from it because we still have far too many problems in this country. However the moment will be tucked away like any seminal moment in US history. I’m just glad it was not another negative moment for our country like 911.

    • chazmania says:

      So your telling me now how i should feel and react to how people feel and reacted?

      Im making a point but i get yours….

      My concern with it is the blood lust and the callousness and the lack of empathy and reverence for all life.
      and mindless nationalism and foolish patriotism it reveals.
      All too reminiscent of a time we went through in the 40’s
      But this time something seems more deeply disturbed.
      it reminds me of killers going back to the scene to relive it.

      We have a right to feel how we feel? did Bin Laden?

      • choicelady says:

        Maybe it reflects a relief to be free of fear? The joyous celebrations occurred almost entirely in the two cities that had been attacked and which have experienced a number of further incidents if you recall. Also Boston where one of the planes had departed with people other people knew and loved.

        I saw it as VE Day and VJ Day for those people. The 40s, yes, but what of it? For almost everyone in America those days meant sorrow at someone lost to them, joy that another someone might come home safely, huge relief the war was done and violence would they hoped subside. The danger was real. But jingoism? Not then and not now.

        We’ve had long, long discussions about the things the US has done to create a bin Laden. We don’t whitewash that. But who are the “killers” who are ‘revisiting the scene of the crime”? None of those kids or people just acting out their relief has killed ANYONE. What ARE you saying?

        I’d really be interested to know if you’ve ever lost anyone to terrorism or hate crimes? The weight of fearing the next shoe dropping is horrible. That is what the people of NY and DC lived with. The sheer flood of exuberance at having that particular fear off their backs is, to me, quite understandable.

        I saw not a shred of evidence of blood lust, only relief. I am unclear what YOU saw, but that’s what I saw.

        • chazmania says:

          I lived in NYC and lost people in the towers that i knew well. I saw the trauma it caused to many of my friends I did not loose immediate family but you make close ties in a city like NY and i morn their loss…as i said in another post my close friend lost his wife wile on the phone with her the very day..i watched him suffer years of pain and anguish and he hates for it and i don’t blame him. and just because i am not blinded by those emotions “blinded” mind you i may have a different perspective and allowed the luxury of seeing things a bit clearer.

          My reference to the forties was about how many in Germany went along with the popular and allowed atrocity to be committed and the rise of a Hitler. Many people thought he was their savior at one point early on.

          my opinion is based on not just one outbreak of emotion but that and observing a steady slide into a mentality and cultural identity of war and assassination and torture is all ok as long as Americans can have their way…
          its Just an Opinion. an observation, i don’t require anyone to like it or agree. its just an attempt to make people stop and think if i am remotely lucky.

          • choicelady says:

            I’m dreadfully sorry for your loss of friends on 9/11. What a horror.

            Then I REALLY do not understand why you saw the crowds in Times Square as equal to the slavish Germans rather than the Americans on VE and VJ days? As Khirad noted -- it was a spontaneous outburst of RELIEF and gratitude for taking this one horror off the backs of people waiting, waiting, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

            Whenever, in the course of history, a source of fear has been eradicated, that HAS been the response of the people living with that fear. Witness the French upon liberation in 1944. I think it’s entirely understandable and not an expression of something rotten.

      • Khirad says:

        So your telling me now how i should feel and react to how people feel and reacted?

        Überlame fail.

        But this time something seems more deeply disturbed.
        it reminds me of killers going back to the scene to relive it.

        Here, I have a right to feel something too. You’re being hyperbolic again, and failing to make a point I can make cogent sense of let alone respond to.

        Bin Laden absolutely had a right to feel what he did. Before he murdered thousands of innocents. I have no reverence for a life lived like that. Live by the sword, die by the sword. He was given proper rights.

        I still can’t believe we’re even arguing about this. This wasn’t anybody’s death. This was a Hitler, a Stalin, a Pol Pot. I don’t believe in ‘evil’ or hell literally. But he was as close to evil as there is, and it’s at times like these that I wish I believed hell existed.

        Yeah, I would have absolutely cheered Hitler’s death too. It’s hardly comparable to cheering the firebombing of Dresden or horrors of War. When Khamenei kicks the bucket, I’ll get out confetti, champagne, and bake a cake. Maybe I’m kidding, maybe I’m not. But, he has blood on his hands and I will certainly not mourn him.

        And spare me the lecture on jingoism. I’ve read my Arundhati Roy and Chomsky. There’s nothing wrong with waving a flag once in a while. It’s all about degree, and understanding that wrapping oneself in a piece of colored cloth and wearing a blinged out flag pin alone does not a patriot make.

        Finally, I’d be so much more cordial and thoughtful if you toned it down a bit with your comparisons and stopped with the misplaced victim card. It’s tiresome. You’re so not blowing my mind. Of course, that will be interpreted like I’m trying to silence you or something…

        • KillgoreTrout says:

          I would hesitate to compare bin Laden with Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot. Yes, bin Laden was a bad guy, for sure, but the other three murdered millions, and for different reasons. And even our own president Bush, was responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
          I’m glad bin Laden is dead, but I would not place him in the same bracket as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

    • kesmarn says:

      KQ, it’s morning now and I’m feeling calmer. I hope we all are.

      I just have to ask: were you offended when Barack Obama said: “We don’t need to spike the football”? If you were, then I sense real consistency in your thoughts, because you would also interpret that as “telling us all how to feel.”

      That’s all the rabbi is saying. We don’t need to spike the football. Joy and relief, yes. Gloating? Not so much.

      We all operate from our PVJs. How can we not? We’re human. With all due respect, you’re judging the rabbi, my friend!

      I only bring up the name of MLK because he is so incredibly relevant to this situation. If we’re talking about violence and reactions to violence, who better to think about in this context?

      Neither Dr. King, nor the rabbi, nor I, nor the Pres (I am so bold as to speculate) are operating from a place of feeling superior or “perfect,” and being a “scold” about peoples reactions. Of course, people are human and spontaneous. But it’s not out of line to ask, as the Pres does so often: “Can we be better than this?”

      That question applies to me, Ms. Buzzkill, aka, Miss Narcan, 😀
      as much as it does to anyone else. I know I can be better.

      I’m trying. (In more ways than one.)

      • Khirad says:

        Pardon me, but entirely different. One is deliberate, the other is visceral, spontaneous.

        Another sports analogy would have been: going into the stands to taunt the fans of the team you just beat after the game.

        Were there cheering and whooping today at the wreath laying, that would be entirely different, and that would upset me.

        This was something that was only appropriate within a window of a few hours of hearing the initial news in my opinion. Before one even had a chance to process it all. I wasn’t even thinking about the death part. I was amazed we’d even found him.

        As to the president, he was laughing awfully hard at that Seth Myer’s OBL joke, even as he’d already given the orders. He and the Gates’ table. Just sayin’.

        I still humbly think you’re off base that this was about celebrating death. I was happy that our intelligence had found him, never mind that he’d met his end. But it was also so much more. A mood. A chapter closed, and the new promise that that entails. And there’s nothing to rise above from that.

        I quite frankly still don’t understand why this is a contentious deal. I’m not being dismissive. I’m genuinely struggling with it. Even a Presbyterian minister who prayed for OBL for ten years thought it natural, as was Melissa Harris-Perry understanding.

        I sort of saw this as a faux media ginned-up outrage at first. That people were reading way too much into it. I guess I was wrong, and the feelings are authentic. I just don’t get them, and find them over-judgmental and over-analytical, jumping to conclusions to impute the grimmest of human nature into motives not at all intended in their behavior.

        But, whatever, to each their own. That’s what I’m arguing anyway! 😀

        • kesmarn says:

          I agree, Khirad. After multiple, unsuccessful attempts to communicate what I felt (expressed here in real time) that night and what was echoed by others in print later, I’m officially giving up.

          To say that one is unnerved or creeped out by a certain type of reaction is also a spontaneous reaction. It’s also an emotion. That’s where I don’t get the label of “over-analytical” or “emotionless.” I didn’t feel that night — and still don’t — that I was “imputing the grimmest of human nature” into what the crowds were doing. I don’t think those college kids are bad people. They just acted the way kids do — impulsively. And my feeling was: Whoa, slow down. Take a look at what we are celebrating here and how much suffering it took to get us to this place. I have no reason to think they didn’t do just that later on.

          This has been a learning experience for me, too. I think this is partly a generational thing. And an occupational thing. I have an extremely intimate connection with the whole process of death and dying. Have had for many years. It gives me a very different perspective.

          But if I’m going to call myself a liberal with any sense of authenticity I have to allow others to have their perspective, too, even if I don’t get it. And I will make a serious effort to do that.

          And with that, I will officially throw in the towel on this one.

          • chazmania says:

            I would point out the psychological aspect of this that has disturbed me is the drift away from any semblance of decency reverence or empathy not to mention integrity. this trend i have witnessed in society for a long wile now..the snark the mocking the demonizing and degrading of each other..i have found I have done it myself as i get a contact high as my anger grows from dealing with such dipsticks on a daily basis…just drive in LA a few times and you see the ugly humanity on display wile some fucktard in a big SUV cuts you off. so he can wait at the light before you. we have all become so dog eat dog.. all created by our worship of the corporate system that perpetrated this cultural shift.
            People are meaner, nasty, arrogant, and ghetto. Im guilty too but some of the celebrating reminds me of the Gitmo guard’s and how they behaved..
            I wonder how many of those good collage kids will go on to put a boot on someones neck that finds themselves on the wrong side of “AMERICA”

            • kesmarn says:

              There has been a decline in civility, chaz. I think many would agree.

              That’s one reason I value the Planet so much. For the most part people here try to express their point of view without going for the jugular, as it were.

              I may be a naive idealist, but I think that if we each — as individuals — try to act with kindness, integrity and mercy, we can change much more than we think we can.

              We have to remain hopeful, even when it doesn’t seem “realistic” to do so. Otherwise there’s just one less candle in the darkness.

  8. whatsthatsound says:

    Let’s just remember that, while, as you observe, Ms. Eltawahy was not attacked amidst the revelry in Manhattan, neither were any of the rah rah crowd putting their lives in danger by coming out to protest. There were no camel riding riflemen bearing down on them.
    Nor were the NY celebrants pushing for a complete change of their lives, their country, anything remotely like the Egyptian protests she defends.

    False equivalency. She may be a tad overbearing, but there is no hypocrisy here.

    • KQuark says:

      I understand what you are saying about hypocrisy but her comments were unnecessary, judgmental and your typical snarky drivel I hear from the left far too often these days.

      The uber left’s continued attacks on anything American is a big reason only 20% of the population will identify themselves as liberals for a long time to come. I know the difference between nationalism and patriotism but many on the left are constantly selling the US is the worst country on the Earth. Well I exaggerate the left does put us one spot ahead of Israel. *hyperbole intended*

      • whatsthatsound says:

        KQ,
        Her comments were judgmental, but “unnecessary”? Why? That’s what she thought. Her job is to write about what she observes, and when she feels it necessary, add some personal commentary to that. So she did. One person saying she didn’t like the vibe that was going on there.
        A writer, in other words, writing.

        Beyond that, I make no secret of the fact that I usually disagree with what Marion writes, as I feel her tendency is to demonize those she disagrees with. This is a very different thing from what Ms. Eltawahy has done. She did not go out of her way to call the revelers racists, accuse them of having underhanded motives, being paid by the Koch brothers, etc. She just said she was offended by their behavior. I understand that pov. Just as I understand, although I don’t share, the pov of those who jubilantly took to the streets.

        • KQuark says:

          Unnecessary might have not been the best word. Give a guy a break. The comments were certainly snarky to generalize everyone there were “frat boys”. Maybe there are just too many people paid to give opinions instead of reporting facts.

          In my opinion Marion does go over the top and I usually express that sentiment when I read it. Her comparison to the Egyptian celebrations are a bit weak here in my opinion.

          Frankly I think a debate on how people reacted emotionally to a significant event is pretty silly. People reacted the way they reacted. I mean c’mon it’s not like people were celebrating like they did the last time Detroit won the WS and burned down half of Detroit.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            You always get a break from me, comrade! :)

            I think your last paragraph cuts through all the bs. People reacted the way they reacted. No “should haves” necessary.

            Nor any need to extrapolate too much about what kind of people they were, if they didn’t react in the way one wishes they would have. Frat boy, unpatriotic, blah blah, let’s just chuck the whole debate as being silly. (I’m remembering that great Monty Python skit about the Society of Putting Things On Top of Other Things….)

            • Khirad says:

              I see the diplomatic point being made, but I’ve observed no umbrage taken at those whom were more reflective and pensive.

              There is no ‘right’ way to be authentically patriotic.

  9. whatsthatsound says:

    One thing I am clear we need have no fear whatsoever of, is you, Marion, giving pundits any mercy.

    • KQuark says:

      I’m fascinated how some people believe 0% of what every politician says but 100% of what their favorite pundit says. Then again a pundit can say whatever you want them to hear without having to deliver on what they say so it makes them infallible.

  10. Khirad says:

    I watched Eltawahy on the Arab uprisings in an Al Jazeera roundtable a week or so back. She was holier-than-thou there too — questioning the Libyan rebels asking for NATO help. With that and other nit picky gripes, she was irritating me, and even the other Arab panelists there. I don’t know what her deal really is…

    As for inflaming the Muslim world? Has anyone in the American pundit world ever SEEN Al Jazeera? Not even to mention Al Jazeera Arabic, which is even LESS sanitized.

    Trust me, they are not as squeamish as we are. And quite frankly, I think it is US that are the barbarians for sanitizing war and violence, not them for showing the horrors of it. Sure it could inflame them, but those that would protest, would be doing so completely cynically. There were no posters of Bin Laden in Egypt, nor in Syria now. Except for a few die-hard AQ sympathizers, and terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamists like a segment of the Ikhwan protesting his killing, that region was so over OBL. So, I’m not sure it really matters either way. I’m quite ambivalent on the release of the photo. It won’t be able to even come close to videos I’ve seen from Bahrain, Syria, or Libya (some via Al Jazeera). Release it, don’t release it… matters not to me. I think the debate is a tempest in a teapot. Something which could only be ginned up in a 24 hour news cycle.

    Now, since it was mentioned earlier,

    American Muslims & Arabs Welcome News of Osama bin Laden’s Death -- updated 5/3
    http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/american_muslims_welcome_news_of_osama_bin_ladens_death/0018524

  11. SallyT says:

    My personal opinion of the difference in reactions to the finalization of OBL is about 10 years wide. We are now tire of the wars and know we were tricked into one of them. So much is happening over there with people taking issues with their government into their own. We are having serious issues here with our government and the economy and people taking issues affecting them into their own. We have been cheated either by Wall Street or the banks and the rich get richer. So, here is my reaction:
    I was on the net and someone posted that they heard they got binLaden. So, I started flipping chanels on the tube and sat there waiting. When I heard it, I stared somewhat dumb founded. My husband came home from the store and I said, “they got binLaden.” He said, “Who, where?” I told him that he was killed by the Seals (he being a old navy man). His answer, “They are the guys to do it.” From then on it was quiet, no cheers, no jumping up and down, just, “They got binLaden.” “Why didn’t we do it that way from the start and saved so many young lives and not bankrupted us.” I have to say I was relieved, why? Just that it was the end of a terrible tradegy. Sure terrorism is still out there but this was one end to it. As I watched people celebrating, I was a little puzzeled because I hadn’t felt that. But, I saw most were young and I am not. Most of them are the ones called on to fight our battles. I was just relieved for an end. Now comes the debates and the tearing into the rights and wrongs, right to left and hearing more details that maybe I don’t need to know or maybe I do. But, my original reaction is the one I go back to. I felt relieved.

    • Khirad says:

      Heh, was it just me, or were the Naval cadets not only cheering for America? 😉

      C’mon, is it just me that got a lump in my throat from this at Annapolis?


      I’ve never been jingoistic, it usually makes me uncomfortable. But at this moment I was feeling very patriotic. USA! USA! didn’t seem obnoxious that night for the first time in my life. It seemed natural. I guess, I’d sorta figured I wouldn’t have been the only one… that I’m now a bad person for it or something.

      I was dumbfounded at first, but when it started sinking in… this man that has defined a third of my life, or nearly half (if one goes back to the first attempt on the Twin Towers), that is a MOMENTOUS thing! It’s a B.F.D.. How could I not feel a little excited? That something has changed, that a pall has been lifted? Just as those that don’t get the cheering, I don’t get how this relief could be met so stoically. But such is the variety of human emotion.

      But how what I experienced differently, could in any how be seen as disrespectful to the memories of the tragedies that were inflicted by this man, I am at a loss, and am just a little offended by the insinuations suggested by it. I was only 11 when the Soviets fell, but I remember it feeling much the same. Should I have been more reflective, should the East Germans have not cheered the fall of the Berlin Wall, because of all the pain respectively caused by those? Terrorism is not defeated (nor can a war ever do so), but the Age of Bin Laden now has a definitive date affixed to its end. I cheered that.

      • escribacat says:

        Khirad, I also felt an absolute celebratory joy at the news and cheered when I found out — and I’m quite a bit older than you. I am surprised that some folks would be puzzled by the cheering (and not cheering themselves). Maybe some of us have more of a “revenge gene” than others. The guy was a mass murderer, an extreme misogynist. He wanted us all dead! If he’d managed to get hold of some nukes, he would have used them on an American or English city, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever. What’s to feel bad for? I think Adlib posted “Ding Dong the witch is dead.” That’s about the first thing I thought of too. Time to celebrate! We nailed the bastard! He got away with it for a decade but we finally nailed him! I never thought we would. And even better, it was Obama who pulled it off. It’s just too delicious. After all the harping on the right about how he’s weak on terror and so on ad nauseum, and that other tough guys around the world don’t respect him. Hehe. This was the perfect time to be tough; and it was focused and “small,” as opposed to “Let’s invade an unrelated country!” It was perfect.

        • SallyT says:

          Escribacat, I don’t know if you were referring to my comments on here when you said in yours “I am surprise that some folks would be puzzled by the cheering (and not cheering themselves)” since I had said that I was puzzled by that reaction. But, we all react to situations differently and that is why it is difficult to choose the correct or most accepted way to respond to others. I didn’t say that reaction was wrong and my was right. I just didn’t feel that type of reaction. I don’t think that takes away from Obama and “pulling it off”. Differences in people’s feelings sometimes help in keeping a balance. Some of us felt like shouting and celebrating that the “witch was dead” and others felt relieved. Neither is the wrong or right. It is an individual reaction.

          • escribacat says:

            Sally, I don’t think we’re particularly complaining about the other’s reaction! 😆 I’m not, anyway. It’s interesting though, how different the reactions are among all of us. I’ve been out of town and not reading for the past few days since it happened but Sunday night there were several friends on here who were disturbed by the cheering crowds, while I was thinking “Man, I wish I were there!” I suppose I wonder why I’m so pleased and really quite giddy about it and happy while others aren’t. That’s why I mentioned about the “revenge gene.” I suspect I probably am rather vengeful. I don’t like it when murderers get out of jail either. I’d probably be one of those mean harsh judges that everyone hates! Anyway, I did use your term “puzzled” but wasn’t judging your reaction or anything. I haven’t felt like anyone was judging mine either. But it is interesting!

            • SallyT says:

              Well, it is true that I can be puzzled and it is even more so that I have puzzled others.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Great, profound words, Sally.

    • kesmarn says:

      Thumbs up to you, Sally!

  12. ADONAI says:

    I have a soft spot. I care. And I hate to see needless death. But I am a hard man over all.

    If they visit pain on me, I will return it tenfold.

    If they kill one of mine, I will kill a hundred of theirs.

    If they show no mercy, none will be given.

    What you won’t do, I will.

    America needs people who preach love, tolerance, and virtue.

    It also needs people who will not hesitate to do what is necessary.

    • bito says:

      Hey, there is a recruitment officer ready to interview nearby, I would think. Not sure, but they do take anyone qualified up to the age of 38. They don’t even draft any more. If not you, perhaps your child.

      • ADONAI says:

        I will not commit genocide for the United Sates Army.

        Do not confuse my feeling for what I believe is justice, with a chipper feeling about the United States military.

        I am simply glad that military has men and women capable of doing what is necessary.

        I want anyone who would swear allegiance to Al Qaeda, OBL, or any other cult of evil to die.

        I don’t understand why we have to kill thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis to make that happen. Seems a tad much.

        Plus, it’s easy to talk, but it’s damn hard to kill a man. Sure the military will take that out of you to a degree, but part of me knows that isn’t right.

        You shouldn’t want to kill someone. Which makes wts correct.

        • bito says:

          Quite perplexing, AD, did you not just say:

          If they visit pain on me, I will return it tenfold.
          If they kill one of mine, I will kill a hundred of theirs.
          If they show no mercy, none will be given.
          What you won’t do, I will.

          and now you say Whatsie is correct?

          How does one correct by killing a hundred “theirs” to killing o one of “yours”? Is there a benevolent killing of a hundred that I’m unaware of or is there some confusion on the want and need parts that needs definition, understanding on my part?

          I still feel a need to address your “I will not commit genocide for the United Sates Army.” and your not feeling chipper about the military, how else were these tasks of 100 to one killings that you propose to be committed with out a dedicated force, an army? I tend to lean to the bluster part of Whatsies comment.

          Genocide? When has the US committed genocide since the the slaughter of the indigenous people? Nam?, Korea? Iraq?

          • KillgoreTrout says:

            We came very close to committing genocide in Vietnam. Of course the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese were of the same ethnic back round, our intent was to kill as many North Vietnamese, as possible. It was all about body count. That comes pretty close, in my eyes.

          • ADONAI says:

            bito, I would call invading a sovereign nation without good cause and massacring thousands of civilians genocide. I would call personal stories of soldiers about indiscriminately firing into civilian populations genocide. I would call bombing hospitals and weddings fucking genocide.

            The people of Iraq and Afghanistan have done nothign to us. Why would we ever involve them?

            The men who carried out the killing of Bin Laden are not under the direct authority of the military. We don’t need the whole military to get these people. Not even half of it.

            And of course it’s bluster. Jingoism at it’s finest. It’s obvious and pretty damn easy to point out. They’re not even my words entirely. Just paraphrasing something I read in a book a long time ago. I’m angry as hell. This dug up old feelings. I watched people jump hundreds of feet to their death to avoid burning alive. No mercy shown, no mercy given.

            And I’m sorry if this perplexes you. Makes perfect sense to me. wts is correct. It’s wrong to say these things.

            You ever been in a situation where you’re pretty sure you’re gonna die? It sucks. It’s not cool, it’s not fun to talk about, it doesn’t make for good bumper stickers. But it does give you a healthy respect for people who deal with death everyday and a profound sadness for those who have lost.

            I dunno. I have friends in the Marines and the Army and this is just how we talk when I’m with them. I feel silly sometimes because when they speak, it’s with authority. When I speak, it’s with doubt. But they never seem to notice, or at least never bust my balls about it, God bless’em.

            Also, how is it difficult to both appreciate what the military does and still be incredibly mistrustful of it? I feel the same way about the government. I’m not seeing the confusion here.

            And if my kid wanted to join the military I wouldn’t stop him. These are decisions a person has to make on their own. Live your life. Not mine.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      “If they kill one of mine, I will kill a hundred of theirs”

      AD, bluster and hyperbole aside, please allow me to point out that that is a truly sick thing to write.

    • Khirad says:

      Damn straight.

    • jkkFL says:

      “It also needs people who will not hesitate to do what is necessary.”
      And that sums up my opinion of the operation carried out.

  13. Chernynkaya says:

    From Andrew Suullivan today:

    It tells you something that the war criminals of the last administration have rushed to the media in the wake of the demise of Osama bin Laden to claim credit. Yes, as the world heaves a sigh of relief and joy, and president Obama reaps the political benefits of success -- just as he would have reaped the whirlwind of failure (can you imagine how the right would be flaying him as Carter today if the helicopters had crashed?) -- these men rush to change the subject to justify their own unpunished war crimes.

    It tells you a couple of things: first, there is no clear evidence that torturing prisoners played any role in this successful operation; second, that this fact threatens the only narrative politically standing between these war criminals and prosecution under the Geneva Conventions. No wonder they are worried. And no wonder they have persuaded one of their primary outlets, the New York Times, to make this trivial issue in this astonishing Obama success a front-page story.

  14. kesmarn says:

    The Rabbi is eloquent. Much more so than I will ever be. Rarely do I feel the need to quote at such length from a writer’s letter, but in this case, yes:

    How might we appropriately address the death of a mass murderer?

    The Torah describes Moses and Miriam leading the ancient People Israel in a celebratory song after the tyrannical Pharaoh and his Army have been overwhelmed by the waters of the Red Sea. Later, the Rabbis gave a new overtone to the story: “The angels,” they said, “ began to dance and sing as well, but God rebuked them: ‘These also are the work of My hands. We must not rejoice at their deaths!’ “

    Notice the complexity of the teaching: Human beings go unrebuked when they celebrate the downfall and death of a tyrant; but the Rabbis are addressing our higher selves, trying to move us into a higher place. (The legend is certainly not aimed at “angels.”) Similarly, we are taught that at the Passover Seder, when we recite the plagues that fell upon the Egyptians, we must drip out the wine from our cups as we mention each plague, lest we drink that wine to celebrate these disasters that befell our oppressors.

    I myself would have been a lot happier to see Bin Laden arrested to stand trial, but assuming the report that he violently resisted arrest is true, I have no objection to his having been killed.

    Yet I was dismayed by the quasi-sports-victory tone of the celebrations that arose around the country — chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A,” for instance.

    What I myself felt was more like “Sad necessity” — and I would have preferred a mournful remembrance of the innocent dead of the Twin Towers and of Iraq and Afghanistan — a thoughtful reexamination of how easy it is to turn abominable violence against us into a justification for indiscriminate violence by us.

    Can we now say, “Enough, enough!” — refuse to drink the intoxicating triumphalist wine of celebration, and turn our attention and commitment to end these wars that take on a deadly “life” of their own?

    With blessings of shalom, salaam, peace —
    Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director
    The Shalom Center

    • KQuark says:

      Please people are human and as such have human emotions. Denying that is the worst thing people could have done in my opinion. I’m am a huge proponent of logical and scientific thought when making reasoned decisions like going after OBL. I went through a bevy of human emotions when I heard Bin Laden was finally dead but I too celebrated with champaign, cheered the USA and all when I finally realized OBL was finally brought to justice. That just makes me human not an automaton that tries to rationalize not being what we are by nature.

      One reason the left will never understand a big segment of America is because it cannot understand why people are patriotic and normally don’t divorce themselves from human emotions in their daily existence. Just like the right cannot divorce human emotions when it is time to be reasonable.

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        KQ, the reactions of many in the streets, celebrating the news of OBL’s death was a natural, visceral reaction to such news. He was the biggest boogey man of the 21st century and did great emotional harm to our nation, as well as physical.
        But what the Rabbi is saying is we should always try to win over our baser emotions. That we should always try to better ourselves, spiritually and emotionally. This, after all, is the basis for the world’s religions and most of our philosopher’s writings.
        I don’t believe in rejoicing in the killing of other human beings, but I too was caught up in it, to a degree, when I watched The Daily Show Monday evening and saw Jon Stewart’s elation over the news of OBL’s death. After all, he is a New Yorker. I was glad to see his reaction, even with the beliefs I hold. This is only human, I think. But I also believe the philosophers and our world religions are correct, even necessary in our spiritual evolution and amelioration.

        • KQuark says:

          KT you should not have to apologize for being human. Of course I know we should seek to be better all the time that’s not the point because every psychologist of any merit will tell you hiding emotions is not healthy in these situations. There are just some times it should be OK to be human with no intellectual caveats.

          • KillgoreTrout says:

            I don’t consider it to be “hiding emotions.” When higher thinking becomes the norm, for an individual, those negative emotions don’t even arise.
            To say it’s OK to be human, with no intellectual caveats, is to quit the aspirations toward being a better person. Many people had a rather somber reaction to bin Laden’s death. Not because they approved of him in any way, only because it was a case of humans killing other humans.
            I have to make a conscious effort in an attempt to reach these goals of higher thought, and sometimes I fail, but we should never quit the attempt.
            I also think it is noteworthy to mention that the majority of the people celebrating in the streets, were young people. If this had happened when I was of that age, I very likely would have had the same emotional reaction as those in the streets had.

            • KillgoreTrout says:

              Grisly indeed.

            • Buddy McCue says:

              I felt kind of somber myself, now that you mention it.

              It just seems kind of grisly to be celebrating somebody getting shot in the head, even if it IS Osama Bin Laden.

      • kesmarn says:

        I think the rabbi and others are calling upon us to be fully and truly human, KQ, and not automatons.

        I would never say that your glass of champagne was a bad thing. Nor would I say that calling for reverence for human life makes one an “automaton.”

        Emotions are human and they’re valuable, but they’re not the only guide for human behavior. Nor should they be. If we all acted the way “nature” dictates, I suspect few of us would go to work every day and there’d be a lot more kids in the world. 😉

        I totally admire Obama, and I think he handled this well. I think the risk of violence is probably lower in a world without bin Laden in it. I don’t see any contradiction between thinking that and having significant reservations about gleefully celebrating a human death. I don’t see how that equates to “not understanding why people are patriotic” (?!) and expecting them to “divorce themselves from human emotions in their daily existence.”

        I have to say candidly that that is somewhat hurtful-- being lumped in — in effect — with people characterized as unpatriotic automatons.

        • KQuark says:

          I just take umbrage that the rabbi condemned spontaneous human emotion. At some point we should intellectualize this moment and learn from it but I was just taken back by his response about the moment.

          I need no assurances about my emotional reaction was to celebrate that Bin Laden was brought to justice because it was never a intellectual moment for me. It was purely emotional and I was just proud that this country could do something competently.

          I feel Americans have, especially us blog geeks, set ourself to be unhappy unnecessarily by not living in moment enough and appreciate what we do have. If we spent a fraction of the time doing the right thing instead explaining why we are right the country would be far better off today.

          BTW I know because of your profession that you do the right thing on a daily basis.

          • Khirad says:

            I get the the philosophical point. But I was not bothered one bit by the celebrations. I’ve never been one for USA! USA! USA! chants, but I let out a single USA! This was a moment for the USA. We did what we said we had done, after I had given up on us ever getting OBL, after I had wondered if he wasn’t already dead. After the initial shock that the news was for real, I felt a catharsis. Like you said, I didn’t sit back and think about it, I reacted viscerally.

            I know the point people are making, and, well, you’re far better people than I. I’m not being sarcastic there. You are. I fully understand your point spiritually and intellectually. But I confess I was satisfied and jubilant that we actually got the bastard when I’d long given up hope we ever would. It washed over me without me thinking about it at all. I understand this was not the higher reaction to have, but I’m not a saint or a bodhisattva.

            Now, if it had been planned or orchestrated, I’d have been far more offended, and true, it got to be a little excessive, but I still have no more problem with them than with this:

            [img][/img]

            The point where I would have drawn the line was if the body had been mutilated or such. As Muslims say, one should not take vengeance on a corpse. At that point, it is in God’s hands. Not that I really care about his body’s dignity, but that would have really drawn into question our dignity. That’s where emotion becomes too much, that type of thing. But spontaneous catharsis? It’s entirely understandable. Especially when it’s been so long that I’ve felt something that brought the whole country together like that. That’s what really made be buoyant. The common unity of that moment was what made me smile, not even the killing itself. Of course, one could ask if it’s appropriate for that unity to come from the killing of a human being… but, it’s OBL… I think we’d be forgiven in this case.

            There’s a certain class of tyrant and mass murderer where all my idealistic stances on the death penalty and higher level morality make an exception. Is it enlightened? no. Is it human? yes. I am imperfect.

            • KQuark says:

              BTW the picture you describe is certainly going too far but photoshopping an image is hardly a spontaneous reaction.

            • KQuark says:

              Respectfully Kesmarn I admit I don’t have a source but I’m sure literally millions around the world in the US, USSR, France and the UK to name a few countries celebrated the news that Hitler was dead for good reason.

              I do remember when Mussolini was finally caught and killed they not only celebrated but the Italians dragged his corpse in the streets. Of course in today’s morality that would be seen as barbaric.

            • KQuark says:

              Very well said Khirad and I agree about Kesmarn as well she does far better works for humanity than I.

            • kesmarn says:

              I do love the Big Kiss, Khirad. Especially as a nurse.

              But the Big Kiss was in reaction to the end of a war. Not to Hitler’s suicide.

              I know that sounds nit-picky, but there really is a difference to me.

              If Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist — a guy I really find loathsomely evil — were shot dead tomorrow, I couldn’t rejoice. Maybe there’s something “off” about me that way, but I can’t help it.

              I’m totally relieved that there will be no more bin Laden led/inspired attacks. I think those Navy Seals were incredibly brave. I don’t think Obama did the wrong thing.

              But today someone sent me an image of Lady Liberty with the head of bin Laden dangling from her upraised, bloody hand/arm, and thought it “looked cool.” That’s what I’m talking about. Not the Big Kiss.

          • kesmarn says:

            I just have to say that if MLK had been alive when this event happened, I very much doubt that he would have been grunting “USA!USA!USA!” and dancing in the streets. If that means he was cut off from his emotions or overly-rational in his persistent/consistent take on non-violence, I consider myself and the rabbi to be in good company.

            There are plenty of us who do good things every day, but don’t necessarily blog about it. Doing and explaining are not mutually exclusive. It’s not a binary question. It is possible to be a thinker and a doer, a patriot, a fan of Obama’s and still be a pacifist.

            EDIT: Just saw your “BTW” KQ, and I appreciate it. Didn’t mean to go all defensive on you there, but you know how it is. When the words come from someone you admire and whose opinion you respect, they carry added weight. Still friends?

            😉

            • kesmarn says:

              Sabreen, I think MLK really had a timeless mission--which was to support the struggle for human dignity and freedom, using non-violent methods. So I don’t really see him frozen in time in the 60’s.

              You’re right, I don’t have a way of knowing how he would have reacted to the bin Laden death. But as you say, he wasn’t a shouter. Whether he supported the act or not, I think he would have had his Christian values front and center in whatever he did.

              As our Prez said, “We don’t have to spike the football.”

            • Sabreen60 says:

              With all due respect, I just have to say please don’t bring MLK into this. He lived during a different time and had a different mission. Before he died he befriended Malcolm X -- a man opposed to his non-violent tactics. Granted I don’t think he would have been in the streets shouting, because he was NOT a shouter, period. If that’s your only point, then I agree. Yes he probably wouldn’t have been shouting. But I don’t know and actually I don’t think you do either what MLK’s reaction to the killing of bin Laden would have been.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Wonderful comment, kes! Thank you. I am right there--the relief and even happiness at the demise of a mass murderer is one thing--and appropriate IMO, but it is no time for gleeful celebration and nationalistic frenzy.

      • kesmarn says:

        That’s exactly my take on it, Cher. Thanks. I’m not saying we should all wear black and go into mourning over this event at all. Relief and gratitude were the immediate reaction here. But I didn’t organize a block party either.

    • Pepe Lepew says:

      Yet I was dismayed by the quasi-sports-victory tone of the celebrations that arose around the country — chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A,” for instance.

      What I myself felt was more like “Sad necessity” — and I would have preferred a mournful remembrance of the innocent dead of the Twin Towers and of Iraq and Afghanistan — a thoughtful reexamination of how easy it is to turn abominable violence against us into a justification for indiscriminate violence by us.

      Can we now say, “Enough, enough!” — refuse to drink the intoxicating triumphalist wine of celebration, and turn our attention and commitment to end these wars that take on a deadly “life” of their own?

      I have to agree with that.

      It did start to feel weird, like our team had just won the Super Bowl.

      I’m glad he’s dead, too, and I don’t care if he resisted or not. But, it doesn’t bring the 3,000 back. I thought people should keep that in mind.

      • Sabreen60 says:

        I think (and it’s only an opinion) that some of those young people have known war and terrorism for most of their lives. Maybe those of us who have lived during peace as well as war don’t process the elimination of bin Laden the way some young people do. Young folks can be pretty exuberant. I don’t fault them. I just think they are young and see this as a real victory against terrorism. If they are around 20 years old then for 10 years when most became somewhat knowledgeable of the world, they lived with some degree of fear. They live with terrorism reported on the news. They go through security checks at airports. I think they see the world a little differently than some of us.
        Just my 2 cents.

        • jkkFL says:

          Sabreen, funny you should bring that up, because on the news Monday, Diane Sawyer spoke of the same thing.
          binLaden was their Castro, or Cold war Russia.
          Many never knew a world without terror alerts, or Homeland Security scaring the devil out of everyone on a regular basis; so to them it was a ‘victory.’

      • kesmarn says:

        Thanks for validating the “queasy” reaction to the “Super Bowl reaction,” Pepe.


Leave your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Back to top
PlanetPOV Tweets
Ongoing Stories
Features