Friday, May 6, 2011

The Two bin Ladens
As far as I know Osama bin Laden was killed only once. Nevertheless, revises of his demise are still issuing daily from Washington. He was armed, he wasn’t armed. He either did or didn’t use one of his wives as a shield. There were continuous fire fights at the compound or only one. Only one woman was wounded or one woman was killed. And what about the children?
Every sentient American should be aware that their leaders lie about everything all the time. Information for them is not meant to inform, but to placate or provoke. The offing of Osama was organized as much as a theatrical offering as it was a commando raid. The changing versions we get daily thus may be seen as the revisions of a play during tryouts. With the Osama drama, we’re still in New Haven. That doesn’t mean we will ever get a final script. The JKF assassination produced three contradictory official versions. All have lived comfortably side by side for all these years. Go see the excellent film “The Conspirator” and learn that the circumstances around Lincoln’s killing remain vexed.
What we do know is that there were two Osama bin Ladens. One is a stock super terrorist out of Fox Channel’s “24” series. He’s the mastermind who slips away till next week while Jack Bauer tortures his henchmen--always at the very last minute--in order to save West LA from damage worse than that wrought by Charlie Sheen.
Then there’s the real Osama, the one who’s rarely revealed in the popular culture. He’s the scion of a wealthy family fascinatingly on friendly terms with the Bush clan--but apparently not fascinating enough for the media to take a look at that relationship.
And what of his religion? If you substituted Jesus and God for Mohammed and Allah, his pietical preference wouldn’t be much different from any hardscrabble holy roller down in dear old Dixie, But here again the media is hardly interested in examining why Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalisms actually have more in common than in conflict.
Consider his military doctrine. Little has been said about the fact that it mirrors ours. The Pentagon, attacked on 9/11, was obviously a military target, while the World Trade Center, home to the largest domestic CIA base and enormous corporate economic power, was a command and control center. Had we attacked such locations in Iraq, Iran or wherever, the civilians killed in whatever number would have been written off as “collateral damage.” Likewise the hijacking and destruction of civilian airliners with all their passengers becomes terrorism depending on the nationalities involved. One of the anti-Castroites who bombed a Cubana airliner, killing 73, just died a peaceful death after a long life while his leading co-conspirator is enjoying his dotage in Miami, feted as an heroic old soldier by his erstwhile CIA buddies. Repeated calls for their extradition to face terrorism charges were simply ignored by our nominally anti-terrorist government.
First world nations like Spain and Britain have much experience battling serious and persistent forms of terrorism. Their tools were primarily civilian: intelligence gathering and police work. London never bombed Dublin or invaded the Irish Republic. Madrid didn’t burn Biarritz with white phosphorus or torture and disappear thousands of Spanish and French Basques. Neither nation vastly increased its military budget to meet its particular threat.
It’s plain by now that first the Bush and now the Obama administrations cynically used 9/11 and terrorism to further militarize and dominate the Middle East while turning the U.S. into a quasi police state. The first goal has failed miserably. The unanticipated Arab spring has shattered U.S./Israeli plans for the region. Washington favored the local dictatorships, so that any turn towards popular rule and democracy can only be to its detriment. A new battle for the Middle East is just beginning. This one will not pit the empire against a few thousand feudal fanatics of the Al Qaeda stripe. Unless America realizes that the odds have dramatically turned against its corporate crusaders and pulls back its desert legionaries, we will find ourselves saying, yes, bin Laden is deservedly dead, but that's just one down and a billion to go!