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.