04 May 2011

Osama bin Laden, Party Politics, and Death By HMD

There are some things that I would think can be counted on with a "covert operation." There are some odd elements to it. There are definite curiosities about some of the details. But I don't believe for a second that if the U.S. were gloating so about this and he weren't dead, that he'd miss the opportunity to tell us himself here directly. My reasons for not wanting the "death photos" released aren't limited to their gruesomeness and the fact that not only serious, rational adults would be viewing them (although that should suffice), it's that I don't want to listen to the ongoing skepticism, and it would definitely go on, and on, and on.

The bottom line is that the only way I could be "SURE" is if I'd shot him myself. Beyond that, I have to make some choices at some point, based on thoughtful consideration and critical analysis of what information I can gather as to what's plausible, and the basic gist of the story is, to me, plenty plausible. Since I'm not deep in celebration and don't have that much invested because I have not been "living under the cloud of terrorism for 10 years," another choice I made even before the 9/11/01 news had taken its first breath, I'm also not invested in knowing the finest details of the death of this one man.

All of a sudden it makes a difference if he was unarmed? I don't believe that the dancing, cheering partiers care one bit, and if the rest of us do, perhaps it's the conditions we use to ever "justify" taking a life that are the problem. I would have infinitely preferred he be taken alive, tried, questioned, held to account, made to face his countless victims and their families, maybe even learned from...but he wasn't, and here we are. Since the bulk of the photographs I've ever seen of him as an adult, even at comparative leisure, show him not only armed, but very heavily armed, I'm not too inclined to believe reports that he, this one time, was not armed at all, at any point, and I also would never seek to jeopardize the members of the SEAL team and intelligence personnel and their families by demanding their identities and eyewitness accounts. Either way, it simply doesn't change anything about the gap in this situation between my ideal and my reality, armed or unarmed.

I don't care where the intelligence came from, because it would still never make me a proponent of torture, and I would hate, hate, hate to find myself in the president's position going into this. (A) Finally apprehend the most notorious terrorist leader of our day using information built upon information that happened to have been gained years ago by waterboarding another terrorist, when torture was a method prioritized by that administration, or (B) let him walk rather than knowingly subject yourself to even more irrational criticism. And still today they call him conceited and selfish. The truth is that he didn't even have access to a selfish option.

But what about proof? "We want proof!" Ah, yes..."proof"...surprisingly slippery little concept, as it turns out, since DNA's now apparently easier to manipulate than Photoshop. The only reason I was glad that President Obama released his long-form birth certificate is that it answered, in no uncertain terms, nothing about his only foolishly-challenged citizenship, but everything about the intent of the chronic skeptics. This lesson must not be underestimated: there are no answers, not for those "skeptics" (not the rationally critical but the ones who foam at the mouth with it).

What drives the rabid should not even be called "skepticism" but just basic "true believer" bullshit efforts to get what they really want, which may not even be identifiable separate from the faces of their designated saviors. There will be no progress for them under President Barack Obama. Their leaders have very effectively made him their "devil," like Hitler made the Jews, and, again, nobody seems to have the courage to change their course, even if they have any nagging doubts. This is not just my subjective opinion, only my acceptance of their position declared and repeated by them with their behavior: if you GET something you WANT, you're satisfied; if you're NEVER satisfied with what you GET, it is clearly NOT what you WANT.

I get it; I do not need them to tell me again. There were never any "birthers." There were only opportunists and their followers, and I will regard them accordingly from here on.

Their having made that abundantly clear, I see absolutely no reason to release pictures of a bullet-riddled body, pictures that would further dehumanize not only bin Laden but us and everyone in between, pictures that could just as easily be faked as anything else, pictures that would no doubt further antagonize the enemies that are not unlikely holed up somewhere right this second plotting en masse their retaliation. The potential "benefits" don't even come close to the potential "costs" for me, especially when the majority of the complaints and demands will just immediately shape-shift into something else. This has become, at least domestically, an all-out war, being fought with HMD - [red] Herrings of Mass Destruction - and we are clearly suffocating beneath the weight of them.

What I want and need, at the end of the day, is to be compassionate, conscious, heedful, engaged, ethical, and safe. I want the same for our military and intelligence personnel, and for our governing officials, and even for the opportunists and followers. This can be accomplished as effectively with the tools I have right now as with any pictures of dead men.