Yesterday, news broke of the alleged death of Osama Bin Laden. The announcement was greeted with unrestrained jubilation, as thousands of Americans took to the streets, wrapping themselves in American flags and chanting, “USA! USA!” Is this really how we wish to define ourselves as Americans? Regardless of what atrocities Bin Laden may have committed in life, how can any thinking person take pleasure in the death of another human being? And does it really solve any of our problems?
The answer, quite clearly, is no. If anything, the announcement of Bin Laden’s death will simply create more problems. The image above from New York’s Daily News adequately sums up the the crassness to which Americans have stooped, reveling not just in the physical death of a human, but also in the fictional afterlife in which he will face eternal suffering. And it is the reference to this fictional afterlife, a religious symbol, that is truly disturbing, as it paints American actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan in religious terms. Bin Laden, an Islamic leader, was killed by a nation which, according to most of its politicians, professes to be Christian, while the US media proclaims his everlasting condemnation to the Christian hell.
For his part, Obama’s televised announcement of the death was peppered with references to God and Christianity, again couching the conflict in the Middle East in religious terminology:
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
One nation, under God, engaged in five concurrent wars throughout the Muslim world, proudly proclaiming that our nation – and apparently ours alone – has the right to be “blessed” by God. America officially went off the deep end today. This is, to quote the immortal Howard Beale, mass madness.
On top of the lunacy of celebrating the death of a human, the mindless nationalistic chanting and flag-waving, the endless references to God and an overall lack of the most basic principles of human decency, there is the simple fact that all of this is merely a publicity stunt – and a poorly-conceived one at that. Clearly, this announcement is nothing more than a blatant distraction, intended to keep the attention of the masses away from some other more pertinent – and likely sinister – development. It will undoubtedly be quite some time before we realize just what that development is. But in the meantime, any simpleton with even a modicum of critical thinking skills can clearly sense that something just isn’t right here.
After all, with such a momentous announcement, with such far-reaching ramifications, what could possibly have compelled U.S. authorities to abruptly dispose of the sole piece of meaningful evidence? Are we really to believe that Bin Laden’s body was thrown into the sea in an uncharacteristic attempt to adhere to Islamic traditions? Since when does the U.S. government care about Islamic practices? It certainly hasn’t impeded them from invading nation after nation, or placing troops in the Muslim holy land (now largely removed), or slaughtering Muslim men, women and children. Why start now?
Now that the body has been disposed of, there is no real evidence whatsoever to support government claims that Bin Laden has in fact been killed. DNA evidence is hardly conclusive, since it doesn’t prove that he is actually dead, and in the era of such powerful computing, photographic evidence is hardly evidence at all. So essentially the only reason we have to believe these claims is, quite simply, that the U.S. government has said so. President Obama has said so. Why should we have any reason to doubt them?
But as we all know too well, governments – presidents – lie. George W. Bush is perhaps one of the most dishonest people to ever walk the face of the earth. But this is what it has come to: In the age of Fox News and the single-minded corporate media, the elite now consider their propaganda machine to be so perfected that a simple announcement, devoid of any evidence, is all that is needed to stir up the masses into a mindless, patriotic frenzy, without a single question asked. In the days preceding the Iraq invasion the lies at least had to be repeated ad nauseum before the public bought them, but today all that is required is a single, carefully orchestrated proclamation, and the masses respond as if on cue.
The rest of the world is laughing at us, and today it’s rather hard not to join them.