Monday, May 2, 2011
No, really. Mission Accomplished.
Last night Barack Obama wrapped up the 2012 presidential contest.
Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 that resulted in the deaths of 3,497 human beings, died at the hands of the American military at a fortress-like compound – not a remote mountain cave – in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near Islamabad. The operation was authorized by the POTUS himself.
That’s right. While a puffed-up Donald Trump was crowing about how proud he was to have held the nation’s attention hostage for so long on an issue that had already been decided in the minds of thinking people and meant absolutely nothing in the whole scheme of things, Barack Obama was planning the end of the mission begun by his disingenuous, dim-witted predecessor back on March 18, 2003 when the United States began bombing Baghdad.
I remember when Dubya did his One Tough Cowboy impersonation for the nation, growling back on September 18, 2001, one week to the day after the Towers fell, that he wanted Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.” Then, just six months later, he responded to a reporter’s question by telling the world that he was "truly not that concerned" with catching bin Laden. “I don’t know where he is, nor do I…I just don’t spend that much time on him,” the drooling idiot had said.
I also remember May 1, 2003, when he stood before cameras in his Fighter Pilot Halloween costume on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, under a huge “Mission Accomplished” banner, and declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. And then guerilla warfare in Iraq increased. (The vast majority of civilian and military casualties occurred after Bush’s arrogant pronouncement.)
Well, Barack Obama never stopped being concerned about finding bin Laden and bringing him to justice. And our 44th president was able to focus on the actual country in which bin Laden was hiding, not just any ol’ sovereign, oil-rich nation ruled by a despot who used to be our ally until he invaded Kuwait in 1990 and ticked off Dubya’s daddy.
In announcing that we had taken down the Number One Boogeyman, President Obama said, “On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.”
My initial reaction was similar to many on Facebook: pride and jubilance and the patriotic feeling that “Our president is a badass and Chuck Norris better make sure Obama isn’t in his closet.” But the more I watched people on TV waving oversized American flags and whooping it up as though we just beat the Soviets at Lake Placid, the less jingoistic I felt. As the crowds grew into the hundreds in the park across from the White House, at Ground Zero and elsewhere, I realized that a man was dead. That’s all. Yes, he was evil and ugly and had caused pain and sorrow and unending grief for thousands of families. But he was one warped man. I doubt there is a shortage of haters willing and able to step into ObL’s role.
While mostly Americans were killed in the 9/11 attacks, 327 foreign nationals from the following countries also lost their lives: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
I wondered if people were cheering and dancing and waving these flags somewhere too.
My Facebook friend Terry West responded to the news by posting the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”