May 3, 2011 archive

Random Thoughts: The Death of bin Laden

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

So Osama bin Laden is dead and buried at sea. I’m sure there will be those who will not accept any evidence of that, even if they were standing there when it happened. Such are the conspiracy theory skeptics.

What amazes me is that the DNA testing confirming the body was indeed bin Laden was done so quickly, within hours. Yet, death row prisoners are often denied that testing to prove their innocence. One would think that an honest judicial system would ant to be sure they had the right person, the key word being honest. In NYC, the remains of the 9/11 victims still are unidentified after 10 years. Around the country rape kits go untested and the rapists go free because of statute of limitations in many states.

This comment from TalkLeft fairly sums up my thoughts on the events of the last 24 hours:

1.     There is one less evil person in the world; that’s not a bad thing, but if I removed one eyedropper of water from a full bathtub, would it look any different?

2.     Are we now officially an eye-for-an-eye society now, where when we kill someone who killed others, “justice” has been done?  It appears so, which is both offensive and frightening.  I am troubled by the expression of this sentiment from the president, who is supposed to be a defender of the Constitution.

3.     The real legacy of Osama bin Laden may not lie in the numbers of deaths he was responsible for, but in the erosion of freedoms, the loss of privacy and the perversion of our system of justice, which I do not believe will ever be restored.

4.     Dancing in the streets in front of the White House to celebrate the killing of bin Laden is a scene I could have done without; a candlelit vigil in memory of all the lives lost and lives affected would have been a more fitting way to mark the occasion – in my opinion.

5.     “Now is not the time to let down our guard” is the watchword of the day, just as I expected it would be; bin Laden’s death is not the end of anything, just another data point on a spectrum that continues to move away from strengthening and protecting our individual rights.  Who will the new Face of Evil be, and what will we have to give up in that fight?

6.     Lots of questions about Pakistan: how could Osama have been hiding in plain sight of the Pakistani equivalent of West Point?  Is their intelligence that bad, have they been paid to look the other way – or worse – and what will the repercussions be, if any?

Finally, I said last night that for me, this is anticlimactic; bin Laden’s death is never going to see the restoration of all that we have lost as Americans.

That being said, I am not so jaded and cynical that I don’t understand that this may have brought some kind of closure to those who lost loved ones in the many bin Laden-engineered attacks both here and around the world, and it isn’t my intention to try to deny that to them; we all have to handle this in our own way – we all feel what we feel for our own reasons.  

On a lighter note, this IT guy, trying to find a safe place from the chaos, fled to the hills with his lap top for some peace and quiet in Abbottabad, when he was disturbed from sleep by helicopters hovering near by and began Tweeting. Unbeknown to him, he was Tweeting the biggest news since Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” thus making Sohaib Ather, “the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid”. He is now a much sought after media darling and has over 66,000 followers on Twitter. Nice job, Sohaib.

*Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1am (is a rare event).

*Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter.

*A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty.

*All silent after the blast, but a friend heard it 6km away too … the helicopter is gone too.

*Seems like my giant swatter worked!

*The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani …

*Moving to Abbottabad was part of the ‘being safe’ strategy.

*Since Taleban (probably) don’t have helicopters, and since they’re saying it was not “ours”, must be a complicated situation #abbottabad

*Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. ISI has confirmed it. Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood.

*Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.

I apologize for reporting the operation ‘unwittingly/unknowingly’ – had I known about it, I would have tweeted about it ‘wittingly’ I swear.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” Jessica Dovey, student, University of Pennsylvania

Where The Men Aren’t

Recently, I’ve started to examine gender dynamics inside my Meeting.  As I began I started from the premise that every religious gathering reflects the particulars of the larger world outside it.  I’ve contemplated many of these, but I haven’t examined one specific facet of this in much detail until recently.  In participation, active membership, and consistent attendance, women significantly outnumber men.  In the Young Adult Friend group which I help organize, the most consistently involved members are female.  Men often seem reluctant to take the plunge, nervously circling and re-circling the outskirts, hanging back, anxiously sailing around the perifery.  Male participation is often minimal and short-lived.  There is no in-between here.  The few who do come to stay often become fixtures of the group, but they are always in the minority.

Detective work – bin Laden w/UpDate

This is what should have happened directly after and as to 9/11! Terrorism is a criminal offense, international criminal terrorism is an international crime. We had the backing of most of the World then, meaning working with them and their resources added to ours. There should never have been Iraq and all that went with that as well as the added recruiting tools in Afghanistan. Once the Taliban were driven from there we should have worked to reign in the ghost al Qaeda while helping to rebuild Afghanistan after decades of war destruction, as we promised. But we walked away once again, like we did after the Afghan/Soviet debacle, rest is the present history as we created the next generations of bin Ladens, already out there!!


Yankee Doodle Daffy

Six In The Morning

Robert Fisk: Was he betrayed? Of course. Pakistan knew Bin Laden’s hiding place all along

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A middle-aged nonentity, a political failure outstripped by history – by the millions of Arabs demanding freedom and democracy in the Middle East – died in Pakistan yesterday. And then the world went mad.

Fresh from providing us with a copy of his birth certificate, the American President turned up in the middle of the night to provide us with a live-time death certificate for Osama bin Laden, killed in a town named after a major in the army of the old British Empire. A single shot to the head, we were told. But the body’s secret flight to Afghanistan, an equally secret burial at sea? The weird and creepy disposal of the body – no shrines, please – was almost as creepy as the man and his vicious organisation.


Daffy Duck Slept Here

Too Soon To Tell

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

There’s an apocryphal story about how someone asked Mao whether the invention of fire had been a good or bad thing for the Chinese people.

His answer?  “Too soon to tell.”

In like manner I respond to the news of Bin Laden’s death.

Is he dead yet?  I’ve read some unsupported reports that he was buried at sea which, if true, will only lead to Hitler in Argentina exile theories and Elvis sightings.  How involved was Pakistan in protecting him if he was finally found in a villa 500 yards from the 15th tee at the officers’ golf course on the main military base in Islamabad?  Is it just co-incidence that this happened on the 8th anniversary of ‘Mission Accomplished’ and trashed the last 10 minutes of Celebrity Apprentice?

Too soon to tell.

Details that answer those questions may emerge in time, but to me the far more important question is- will the U.S. accept yes for an answer?

For the last 10 years we’ve gutted our Constitution, imprisoned innocents indefinitely without due process, tortured, murdered, and started wars of aggression all ‘in pursuit’ of Boogey Man Bin Ladin.

Now that he’s ‘dead’ will we stop?

Too soon to tell.

Oh. Canada?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Canada kinda kicks off their election today eh?, and I’m hesitant to speak about it since I don’t know much aboot Canada except they have great beer and it’s called back bacon (and it’s not ham, eh?).

Scott Harper is reliably reported to be a right wing asshole of the Reagan variety (it is Canada, eh?), but his Conservative Party is likely to be the leading party at the polls (Palimentary districts are called ‘Ridings‘ and there are 308 of them).

Victory in each seat is a first past the post plurality and for years and years the Liberal Party (think of them like Third Way Democrats) have been the opposition party.  This year that will change.

The NDP is pretty sure to eclispe the Liberals by dozens of seats

There’s a slim possibility the New Democratic Party (Social Democrats) and the Bloc Quebecois (those cheese eating French secessionists) will be able to put together a majority.  Far more likely is that the so-called Liberals form a majority with the Conservatives (who’d a thunk?) BUT it’s also probably the end of the Liberal Party as a force in Canadian politics.

It’s not just the UK Liberal Democrats austerity thing that kills them, it’s because there are fiddly little advantages to being the #2 party like appearing second on ballots which will advantage the NDP the next time around whether the Liberals sell out or not.

Some links-

308 the Canadian 538, eh?

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.

–Desiderius Erasmus

Connecting the Dots 4

Slam Dunk Osama Guantanamo: Jump the Shark!

Jump The Shark 2

The most important single fact about the CIA and the only fact that anybody knows for sure is that the CIA is stupid, and way back when I was occasionally invited to parties on Embassy Row in Washington (because of the Harvard Cyclotron) I proved this over and over with a little game.

“The stupidest person at every party in Washington always works for the CIA,” I would say, and inevitably some guy in white socks would get red in the face and blurt out…

“That’s not true!”

But it was all too true, and the CIA has demonstrated this self-evident proposition once again by jumping the shark with their already ridiculous story about the death of Osama bin Laden.

It wasn’t enough just to kill one sick old Arab chained to a dialysis machine in a house with no telephones. It wasn’t enough to kill one sick old Arab that it cost us more than $1 trillion to kill.

They had to jump the fucking shark!

They also had to prove that all that torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib was a very good thing!

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who was repeatedly subjected to methods including “waterboarding” and stress positions, provided the CIA with the name of bin Laden’s personal courier, according to US officials. The killing of the world’s most wanted man as a direct result of information obtained from Guantanamo detainees such as KSM will reignite the debate over whether torture is a legitimate interrogation technique in the “war on terror”.

Torture paid off!


Now we can forget all those pesky accusations about crimes against humanity and the Geneva Conventions! Torture saved us from UBL! Case closed!

And this is exactly the same kind of overkill that couldn’t stop piling new and ever more incredible weapons into the arsenal of Saddam Hussein until the CIA had inflated him from a tin-pot dictator with a rusted-out army all the way to the status of SUPERHUMAN MONSTER, who supposedly possessed not only the kind of armament that he might have actually possessed, like chemical and biological weapons, but also a whole fleet of totally imaginary drone-bombers which could fly all the way from Baghdad to Manhattan, along with 500 tons of yellow-cake for non-existent nuclear weapons.

This was exactly the same kind of overkill that couldn’t stop piling new and ever more HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES upon the very idea of losing the War in Vietnam! It wasn’t enough that Vietnam would be re-united under a communist ally of the Russians! The CIA also had to “prove” that dominoes would fall all the way from Saigon to London unless we sent yet another hundred thousand soldiers to fight and die in those god-forsaken rice-paddies! Western Civilization will die! Defeat is not an option! Be very afraid! And don’t just feel fear…

Piss your pants and give us all your money!

So of course anybody with minimal intelligence immediately sees right through these ridiculously exaggerated stories…

But that still leaves 85% of the American electorate to piss their pants and give away all their money.  

Late Night Karaoke

Senator Lindsey Graham: Epic Fail! 20110502

I usually do not write about pure politics because many others here do it much better than I.  Whilst I keep up with politics, those of you who read my three regular, weekly series know that I am much more of and academic and a storyteller.  However, this is different.

He, and the despicable Sean Hannity have decided that it was wrong to give a proper burial, following the Muslim tradition, of Usama bin Laden was the wrong thing to do.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and I shall use their own favorite catch phrase to nail them.

Grahan and Hannity, and others of a similar mind, are drunk with the passion for revenge.  That is not supposed to be our way.  Justice, not revenge, is the American way, or at least is purported to be so.

Load more