Since 9/11, social media has become today’s platform for expressing news and views.
A sign on Facebook aptly summed President Obama’s political rejoinder to Republican provocateur Donald Trump: “Sorry it took me so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was too busy killing Osama bin Laden.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, a Pakistani in Abbotabad named Sohaib Athar (@reallyvirtual) unwittingly reported of the compound strike and ensuing helicopter crash, scooping everyone.
— From Aljazeera English
And those words, ‘scooping everyone,’ indeed carries a great deal of weight — the US media has gone bat-shit crazy.
A good friend, also an ardent news watcher, called me last night about 7:30 (California time) and told me to check CNN (my friend also knew I don’t have cable; all the news I see fit to reprint comes from my laptop), as President Obama was suppose to address the nation at 10:30 (East Coast time), but no announcement on the subject matter.
WTF — all in a dither, I surfed the news sites, but all of them — CNN, the New York Times, Raw Story, et al — just promoted the upcoming announcement, but without the reason why, and with such a late hour on a Sunday night, whatever the subject, it had to be fairly important.
Finally, the NYT popped just a small headline across the top of its online homepage: ‘Osama bin Laden Dead — White House says.’
Jeeez — I muttered to myself — if that’s the big announcement, what a let-down…
(Illustration found here).
Boy, was I wrong!
From the NYT this morning:
The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the Ground Zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, â€œU.S.A., U.S.A.!â€
In New York City, crowds sang â€œThe Star-Spangled Banner.â€ Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night.
See a photo slide-show on cheering, chanting crowds from across the US at at CNN — happy, happy faces, a lot of American flags, and so forth.
One would think, from all the hysterical reaction, that some great, momentous event had taken place instead of the killing of an outlaw on the run for nearly a decade and beyond.
Osama was indeed a killer asshole and the world is better off with him buried in the deep-blue sea, but the major problem wasn’t him, wasn’t the attack on the World Trade Center, but more than a generation’s worth of dumb-ass US foreign policy in the Middle East, and the twisted, horror of George W. Bush’s response to 9/11.
Some people might say I’m the asshole, and I hate America.
No, buddy, I’m sorry, but I like and enjoy the truth, which most of the US doesn’t really give a shit — a prime example is Paul Ryan’s explanation for all the turmoil of town-hall meetings he and other GOPers are having with the Republican budget bullshit — it’s all “misinformation.”
And there’s a lot of misinformation about how the US conducts itself abroad, too.
In a review of the late Chalmers Johnson’s last book, Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope, a collection of his postâ€“9/11 essays, Anthony Gregory looks at the horror of bad information.
Johnson, of ‘Blowback‘ fame, takes on the arrogance of the US:
There is no more striking example of modern interventionist folly than the radical Islamists in Afghanistan who were financed and supported by the U.S. government late in the Cold War, only to turn around and attack Americans on 9/11.
And whereas many still defend the earlier interventions as a means to combat the belligerent Soviet Union, Johnson sets the record straight: â€œIt should by now be generally accepted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979 was deliberately provoked by the United States.â€
â€œDuring the 1960s, the United States leased the island [of Diego Garcia] from Great Britain, which, on behalf of its new tenant, forcibly expelled the entire indigenous population, relocating the islanders some 1,200 miles away in Mauritius and the Seychelles.â€ Diego Garcia has since been used as a secret CIA prison and a transit point for detainees in the war on terrorism. The United States is building bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, claiming it is all to defend against Iran, but everyone knows Russia is the target.
The discussion of how defense-industry interests control members of Congress is very sharp. The frightening spectacle of the managing of Total Information Awareness â€” the dystopian surveillance state â€” by a government-corporate partnership is handled well. One canâ€™t help but cheer when Johnson describes U.S. military spending as â€œnot only morally obscene [but] fiscally unsustainable.â€
Osama might be dead, but the on-going policy of the US is very-much alive.
And Obama has in one quick snap become the war president who got bin Laden.
Sad at the happy.
And if you really want some joy-dampening information, read the Rolling Stone piece on ‘America’s Nuclear Nightmare,’ and it will put Osama bin Laden and the great-big Global War on Terror in the proper context — the cheering crowds ought to reconsider.