Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wailing Walls: Bela Lugosi's Dead, Part III

Note: After the death of Osama Bin Laden, we, the good people of Et tu, Mr. Destructo? turn for insight to General Rehavam "Gandhi" Ze'evi, former Israeli Minister of Tourism. Having faked his assassination in the Mt. Scopus Hyatt Hotel, the General has been in deep cover, in Judea and Samaria, posing as an American goy pursuing graduate studies in the Middle East. He last joined us for Bela Lugosi's Dead, Part II: The Real Story Sucks: Bin Laden, the ISI and a Dawood Sandstorm.

Killing the Bastard Bin Laden, Stage IV of the American Fever Dream

"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."
— Revelation 18:2

"An America that uses its military power less promiscuously, more intelligently and in a targeted and focused manner might once again gain the world’s respect and fear, if not affection."
— Fareed Zakaria, Time, May 20, 2011

The boozy cheering of the blood-mad spectator echoes across a lacuna in the brittle American soul. Never forget the slaughter of 9/11 and never forget that the brick and mortar of this nation was slapped atop a continent-wide Indian burial ground. The American Revolution was an assertion of human worth that has been studied and admired by everyone from Simon Bolivar to Ho Chi Minh. And since that clinching moment at Yorktown, America has paved the low road over any peoples in its way and assumed it would pay no price.

The world should embrace America the way cattle egrets dote on elephants, and America should elevate the world in the same way, a symbiotic beneficence between the gentle giant and the greater multitude of the flock. Instead, usually, we shirk, creep away from the trajectory of our best instincts and better potential, a fiend loping off into the weeds to kill something. We'd rather be a pack of hyenas than anything as noble as an elephant. Those cannibals will eat almost anything when hungry — bones, metal pots, their shit and their children. They should be hunted to extinction, yet they roam free and plentiful on the African continent; elephants and buffalo and other noble animals are always the endangered creatures.

Of course we would misname a strutting punk like Bin Laden "Geronimo"; when you hunt in the high grass, you don't care if you've bagged a gazelle or garbage. They're all something to be torn apart. There is no moral symmetry in which Osama and Geronimo can be compared; a reedy child-murdering sybarite like Bin Laden doesn't deserve to be so much as incinerated in the same sentence as an actual freedom-fighter like Geronimo. The only thing they share is a status as enemy of America, to be disposed of like every other villain. In the eerie silence of falling footsteps pursuing their quarry into a back bedroom, safety off to eject Osama's intellect onto a greasy daybed, the SEALs ran kill-confirmation through their heads, lest they be the lucky triggerman: "GERONIMO... ENEMY KIA."

Those three garbled little words constitute an express elevator to the bowels of the American soul, to the same killing rage that metastasized in the heart of every pioneer. We can hear the deafening roar of our forefathers in that hidden, potent store of true bloody-murder grit, adrenaline from beyond the grave, a hypernationalist virus that grips like tetanus and holds on harder: "FASTER. KILL, KILL, KILL. EXTERMINATE THE BRUTES."

The Bin Laden execution is not a great achievement, and this is not an ending. If this is the sort of "big thing" Obama assured us an impoverished, storm-struck America could produce, then we should turn our tactical nuclear weapons upon ourselves while we have some measure of self-control. We have accepted — celebrated — Bin Laden's logic that swords will be met with steel. We will scan the horizon for non-existent jetliners; we will flatter every provincial shitkicker into "international man of mystery" status; we will kill a dozen innocent, nameless nobodies for every mouth-breathing half-guilty jihadist wannabe. We will welcome the murder machine as merely the most efficient new form of dialysis, a better, faster means of processing our congenital blood lust, a hatred small-fry freelancers like Bin Laden will mirror until the sea overtakes us all.

The narrative of the Bin Laden killing is a clumsy PR job that conceals some ugly, obdurate truths — not insane Bircher/Birther/Bachmann/Opportunistic-GOP pablum that Bin Laden is alive, but knotty threads weaving through the entire rigging of America. It contains a frightening portent of policy to come, as well as a high-profile elucidation of the way the War on Terror has been prosecuted for the past few years. The dressing up of rock-pounding, tribal revenge killing in surgical scrubs and judges' robes is despicable. More pernicious is how this hit's success, and the subsequent revelry of the American elite, signals that we are so drowned in blood that we will never see daylight again. This killing bolsters the American reliance on international assassination, a moral and practical millstone that drags us to our deaths.

The consequences will be more profound than the Bush Doctrine; the Obama Doctrine is the low-calorie alternative, a sanitized, "small footprint" campaign of global warfare. Inimically, Obama's style, which pays lip service to international organizations and diplomacy, will have a wider reach than the clunky Bush war machine, able to prick at any country deemed the target for destruction that morning. And the Obama Doctrine will be realized with even less opposition from the left, with even less visibility. The Libyan War has already slid off the evening news, even as it escalates to alarming heights, levels of Western engagement Obama naturally promised would never be reached.

American media, the only countervailing force in any position to cool the sacrificial firedance, abdicated their responsibility to punch holes in the assurances of powerful men. The media's near-uniform jubilation over something as tawdry as extrajudicial assassination is as disgusting a concession to the government as its WMD reportage: both ledes tightened the militarist straitjacket around America, assuring us it was a comfortable fit. The efficacy of state-sponsored assassination, eternal subterfuge in Fortress Pakistan, endless subterranean vendettas that wind their way, inexorably, inevitably, towards blood splatter straining across chipped, painted walls — these are the fish the media throws back, as they flog the hell out of Osama's water-bloated corpse, lest Brian Williams or Maureen Dowd flirt with something as "un-American" as ambivalence.

As we plug our ears against the echoing potshots of the Arab SummerSlam, we fail to grasp the connection between Bin Laden's death and our botched humanism. Bin Laden extracted a high price from America, slaughtered our innocents, enamored us in war, clogged our tanks with sand. We repaid him with new steel jacketing for his brain stem but also with an ironclad reinforcement of "our man in Riyadh." We paid with the unspoken assumption that our ethos is both the way of the gun and the men who've mastered it for us: White House plumbers and troubleshooters like Ali Abdullah Saleh and Omar Suleiman one day — a glum general to-be-announced the next. We will stick with our neo-colonial system of patronage and subcontract the everyday repression of the people living above our oil to the cruelest egg-sucking dictator to name his price. Yes, Obama will offer tea, sympathies and his billfold to the Arab protesters. And once the klieg lights go down, and Anderson Cooper stands instead on an American Gulf Coast in hurricane-tempting body armor, the business of torture and murder will carry on as normal.

Any glut of joy in America is a rare commodity. How pitiful that it will not come from as sublime and just a motion as demolishing the Mubarak architecture of U.S.-Mideast policy, the system that produced a sewage spout like Bin Laden. How mercenary that we will not cast our lots where our hearts would follow: the protestors of Deraa and Tahrir and Sana'a University. No, our contentment lies with the leisure of distant repression, our only energy expended in crushing brimming rage and disappointment and extremism, killing Bin Laden over and over and over again, in all his names, guises and countries.

We truly, madly, deeply prefer the hatred of the world to its love. We extract what we want from that colonized stretch of Earth, and tears in the eyes of Arabs do not rate for us, do not push us to recognize and atone for our complicity in their suffering. We have chosen a better way, that of gouging whatever mutated side effects inevitably metastasize from our cancerous exploitation of the region. This is what we know, and as the torpedo with the longest range, it's what we are comfortable with. What Bin Laden left shall outlive him, in its fringe, churlish fashion, an inflamed boil that can only be lanced by the knights of the Arab Spring — the ones we glance away from, the moment the safety catch comes off a soldier's "Made in the USA" M-16.

We killed the bastard, condemned him to a death that yes, the pigfucker deserved, in the Biblical style of eye for eye. And we have done nothing to make sure his grotesque message dies. We have, in our failure to change the way America shakes down the Middle East, ensured the Al Qaeda insanity's survival. We condemned all the little people of the Middle East, who stormed across the Nile and into Tahrir Square, to walk back home, hands in pockets, across the Bridge of Sighs.

When we failed in our opportunity to recast the die, when "hope" meant doubling down on international corruption instead of aligning ourselves with dignity, when we reverted to provincial American workaday brutality, instead of abandoning it as the headwater of every wicked and evil plot the rest of the world loathes us for executing — when we did that, we not only failed to kill Al Qaeda once and for all, we created the next Bin Laden, and the one after that and the one after that. And, judging by the reaction of America to the original's dispatch, we can't wait to meet him.

"Jubiliation [at Ground Zero]– Andrea Osbourne, above left, and Jessica Davis, both 18-year-old students at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, were in elementary school on 9/11. ‘We came to support all the people who lost their lives, says Davis."
— Photo essay, "Revelry and Requiem," Time, May 20, 2011. Both girls have USA written in lipstick on each cheek.

In Heart of Darkness, Conrad slyly framed Marlow's voyage down the Congo and into hell as the retelling of a broken man, slumped on the deck of a Thames pleasure cruiser. The twinning of the two rivers, flowing through "modernity" and "darkness" alike, belies Conrad's sophisticated rendering of human savagery as a universal phenomenon, monopolized by no particular continent. Were he still scribbling today, or if Sofia Coppola remakes Apocalypse Now, they’d have to set the action on the Potomac. For the USA, victory is a pack of raving GWU frat boy celebrants, stoked and overjoyed that Raghead Numero Uno ordered the Moe Green Special.

The televised celebration in the hours after Obama's speech were a disgusting abdication of the barest rigors of "objective" journalism that all those blow-dried mediocrities crow endlessly about, a waterheaded war dance that will sully the idea of news as educational for the next million years. Bin Laden's brain splattering was a grasping feel-good moment for a country long in the tooth, as cringing and phony a spectacle of mirth as senile old Kirk Douglas's incredibly discomfiting Oscar ramble. Brian Williams breathlessly appealed to viewers to send in their footage of spontaneous Kill Keggers. Mr. Destructo's legal department is currently working with the FCC to determine whether, under the Fairness Doctrine, NBC Nightly News can be forced to air an equal amount of counterpoint footage, say, of ragamuffin Pakistani flagburnings or dancing Gazan geeks celebrating 9/11.

Only the sepsis of post-9/11 Washington could play host to a hypernationalist virus like the cocktail splayed across Pennsylvania Avenue the night of the murder. I don't know that D.C. was this ugly and crass even in the dark days of Bush; at least then, it wasn't the putative "left" that was the prime mover and shaker behind every kind of Iraqi throat ripping. Not one of the flag-sucking crypto-fascists who turned this murder into Bonaroo can honestly argue they thought about Osama as a priority. Even Bush didn’t care about him. The only Americans who thought of Bin Laden in 2011 were those spooks trying to kill him and those Bin Laden had killed, psychically if not physically. The loved ones of Cantor Fitzgerald, Windows on the World, and the W. 48th St Firehouse may or may not find cold comfort in the sudden, bloody interruption of Osama's Pakistani pastoral, but the blood has been bled and the dead are dead, and that is that. Closure is a feeling you get in elevators and submarines, not in graveyards.

But they are the exception. As with all neoconservative thought, these wildcat celebrations in front of the White House and at Ground Zero were not about the rest of the world, or 9/11's victims or even Bin Laden. They were about domestic American esteem, a bad jingoistic scene for people to feel proud and stupid and violent. "We got Bin Laden!" Who is "we," exactly? And is this something to be celebrated with less dignity than a Lakers championship?—which, if you know anything about the NBA, is a shame-fest of front-running yahoos, moneyed interests and shallow celebrity assholes.

A bunch of GWU scum copulating on Pennsylvania Avenue like it was a futon is at least forgivable as the stupidity of youth, while the celebrants in New York, in many cases, lost loved ones on 9/11. I don't question the reactions of any 9/11 relatives or survivors, though I will note they seemed far more unimpressed by the Bin Laden killing than most. And besides, these are little people who have no suction in this society. It's the big fish who deserve to be deported to the Sudan, to be used as hewers of wood and carriers of water for the deprived refugees of Darfur. Obviously, almost all elected officials and all unelected military-industrial apparatichiks belong somewhere in this chain gang. But the unanimity of the media praise for the headjob — that was the unkindest cut.

The May 16 issue of Newsweek is the worst non-fiction writing I have ever read. You probably think I am exaggerating, that surely there's something worse out there. In the center of black holes, there exists a vortex in which all matter is destroyed. The May 16 issue of Newsweek is that vortex, reverse engineered in a Potomac bunker to sicken entrants and eat into their brainflesh like viral encephalitis. Every surviving issue should be pulped and recycled for something worthier of publication, like Bangladeshi child pornography.

The depths of the media's crass bloodthirst are not merely unknowable but possibly limitless. During the U.S. Civil War, Confederate propagandists were occasionally kidnapped from the border states by Union raiding parties. I consider it hardly drastic that the practice be revived, with the aim of interdicting, capturing — and, in extreme cases where the fugitives resist or are unable to be safely spirited away — "surgically assassinating" the Newsweek staff, to borrow editor Tina Brown's tidy, sanitary description of what a Navy SEAL bullet did to Osama's brains.

Tina Brown, kingpin of "The Masthead of Evil," tells us that "to mark this historic occasion, we have advanced the publication of NEWSWEEK by several days." Thank. God. (It's not as if Newsweek already sucks or is already complicit in whitewashing terrorism from white Americans.) One only hopes a picture book is not far behind, like Time's turgid weltering to the moronic War in Iraq that was committed to in Twenty-One Days To Baghdad. Perhaps a commemorative coin is in order. On one side could be a stunning likeness of Osama Bin Laden with his brains leaking from his nostrils and his beard on fire, and on the other side could be an advertisement for Dr. Thunder, the Wal-Mart knockoff of Dr. Pepper and official sponsor of what a bomb sounds like when an F-16 drops it on a school.

Newsweek prides itself on its eminently reasonable objectivity, as embodied in articles like "Pride of a Nation," "The Burden of Victory," "The Path of Evil," and "The Value of Boldness." Only a middling 70% of these titles could've been pulled from Pravda around the time of that empire's Afghan excursion. It's a real rogue's gallery of journalistic criminals: Andrew Sullivan, learned scholar in the exciting mid-1990s medical debate over why "negros are stupider than White Men"; Tina Brown and Salman Rushdie, respectively, the token slag and wog in the racist, sexist Blitcon cabal; Bernard-Henri Lévy, a poseur cheeseball hairdresser who was fooled by a fake philosophy textbook, was busted writing completely fictional accounts of the Georgian War and wrote a whole book perversely turning Daniel Pearl into an imaginary friend; Bruce Riedel, a scholar who has been incorrectly arguing since 9/11 what this raid definitively proved (we have little to fear from the forcibly retired Al Qaeda dolts of Pakistan), and Paul Wolfowitz, a despicable and bona fide war criminal too cheap to buy socks, too classy not to promote underlings he enjoys fucking, and too stupid to not set himself on fire on the National Mall, having given all his worldly possessions away to Iraqi refugees in a mad, final dash for absolution. Of these people, Riedel is absolutely the only worthwhile person to ask about Bin Laden. I also have a feeling Henri-Levy is definitely the only go-to guy for tips on pubic coiffing and bleaching.

That Newsweek issue strings together obscenity after obscenity in one cheap, filthy package, the journalistic equivalent of anal beads, reeking ever more strongly of shit. It is factually wrong whenever it discusses the history of Al Qaeda, disarmingly stupid in discussing the movement's future prospects, chillingly lighthearted in celebrating murder (as long as America's the killer, otherwise the Hard Copy DUNH DUNH practically sounds off the page), and craven in idealizing America's foreign threshing machine. TO WIT:

"Pride of a Nation," by DC think-tank crime lord Les Gelb.
Money Shot: "It's been so long since something so clearly good has happened. Once again, people have a sense of being part of one country. It's like Ronald Reagan's 'morning in America' message, which won Americans over with its simple optimism."
Crime: Scorns any dissension from the idea that this cheap whacking was anything but a "triumph on several counts."

Gelb seems annoyed that he must qualify that the killing "is almost unanimously regarded as just" and "almost universally popular." It's that same stinging dissidence that always derails the gravy train, as when those asshole Iraq War opponents turned out to be right. By his own admittance, Gelb is a trollop for conventional wisdom: "My initial support for the war [in Iraq] was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility." In other words, Les Gelb takes the money and runs, lest he stick around long enough to see the mortars come flying back. This is the hustling creep now chiding us that murder is the mark of a true leader, that good Americans "don’t want [Obama] to mince words and make compromises again." Obama, the "strong and decisive leader," who exorcised us of "the stigma of a country that can't shoot straight." And people say Stalinism is dead. God forbid we stop shooting.

According to Beltway millionaire Gelb, "a majority of Americans are just confused, and are not so nearly as ridiculous in their thinking as right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats." Of course a capitalist roader fossil like Gelb would subscribe to the South Park viewpoint; both "extremes" are ridiculous! It's the only way anyone would be stupid enough to believe that "even Tea Partiers praise the President for pulling the trigger," that "Obama has virtually the whole nation behind him," and that the killing of Bin Laden has united the nation [and] gives [Obama] the power to get hard things done."

People have already forgotten about the distant shooting of a retired, masturbating millionaire, what with unemployment being at mildly apocalyptic levels. John Boehner is riding the orange crush as high as ever. And Les: tea partiers are not praising Obama for killing Bin Laden. The last time the Tea Party would've found a black mans shooting praiseworthy was in 1968.

As with all Newsweek articles, Gelb also quotes liberally and anonymously from Obama insiders; Gelb had the cojones on this one to quote one of these deep background hustlers arguing that "it’s a whole new world." Well then. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sentence: Allowed to retain cushy position as chair of Council on Foreign Relations, but by court diktat, must work out of offices at Barry Farm housing projects, Southeast Washington, D.C.

"The Burden of Victory" by Obamaesque erudite black professor/mystery novelist Stephen L. Carter.
Money Shot: "America is celebrating. We turn out not to be in decline after all: we are still the superpower the rest of the world envies and fears."
Crime: Phony, hand-wringing contrition over the moral "gray areas" of the hit which, once established, are cast aside in favor of bellicose viciousness.

Newsweek needed one concession to the idea that murder "raises uncomfortable moral questions." So Carter, a Yale law professor who should know better, muddies the puddle a bit, each objection spooned by a counter-argument mitigating the heartburn. While Carter argues — correctly — "that the mission all along, despite White House assertions to the contrary, was to kill Bin Laden," that is okay, because Carter is "not arguing against a policy of assassination." Carter merely proffers that "we should call what we are doing by its proper name." Powerful stuff. You can practically hear Luther pounding the nails into the church doors, affixing his "95 Theses That Maybe You Guys Could Have A Look At And Tell Me What You Think, Thanks A Lot I Really Appreciate It!"

The semantic issue of assassination is Carter's only "moral question." The rest of the piece is a full-throated defense of America at its most self-destructive. Carter inaccurately argues that Bin Laden's bagman, Arshad Khan, AKA Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, was identified by waterboarding the devil out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Carter has the gall to argue that "the only slip in what was an otherwise exemplary performance... was the president's failure to credit his predecessor, who established the controversial mechanism that likely led to Bin Laden's door." To recap: even the CIA pushed back on the claim that torture opened Pandora's box. And to claim that Obama's sole mistake in this whole mess was to not thank George W. Bush for committing war crimes — that'd be like thanking Hurricane Katrina for scrubbing up the French Quarter's gutters.

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law Stephen L. Carter closes the piece by literally endorsing war crimes. Let's quote it in full:
Attacking A to make him give up B might seem ethically questionable, but in battle such a tactic is not uncommon. During the Iraq War, American forces shelled Baghdad to deter the Republican Guard from retreating into the city. The tactic worked, but civilians died. History teaches that it is not possible to fight a war without making tragic decisions along the way.
Were I a now-homeless Iraqi scraping together the sausage casing I once called my wife and kids, I'm sure I'd recognize the profound and bittersweet complexities of war, the sorrow that binds — indeed, equalizes — my own victimhood as "deadened war refugee" with the experience of the Beltway pusher who signed my death warrant and can now barely consume his early morning Denver omelet without a pang of broken-egged regret. Mistakes were made; sometimes, they have to be made systematically again and again, relentlessly, according to a delineated and optimized government program. It's a tragic decision, but then, I’m sure Prof. Carter would feel the same way stranded in West Beirut.

Sentence: Prof. Carter will be a fantastic addition to the law faculty of Baghdad University.

"Glossary," A weekly column apparently written by The Worst Person In America.
Money Shot: "Double-tap, v. – to shoot twice. Describes Bin Laden’s demise (once in the face, once in the chest)."
Crime: Application of X-Box physics to the death of the American Dream.
Sentence: Double-tap.

"Commander-in-Chief" by paid hacks Andrew Romano and Daniel Klaidman.
Money Shot: "Asked whether the president has struggled with the moral implications of remote controlled death, a senior intelligence official tells NEWSWEEK, 'Not at all. He has no qualms.'"
Crime: The authors view the above statement as a positive quality, of an Obama admirably "itching to pull the trigger all along."

The lede is as predictable as it is subhuman in its originality: a comparison of Obama to that wimp Jimmy Carter. Maureen Dowd still won the day in running this argument, in an op-ed so condescending and atavistic, it would've made Chamberlain look wise and Nixon persecuted. Dowd crowed: "But now the president has shown that he can lead straight-on and that, unlike Jimmy Carter, he knows how to order up that all-important backup helicopter. He has said that those who call him a wimp are mistaken, that there is often muscular purpose beneath his diffident surface."

Carter, that fucking sad-sack peanut-farming pussy, who moronically never proved what a man he was by shooting anyone in the head, launching war against Libya or re-upping our commitment to two long-lost wars. What a sack of shit. The only thing he ever did was go on the television and predict the next 30 years of American energy and manufacturing history, tell everyone to hunker down and do some goddamn work, then watch as an entire nation jabbed its fingers in its ears and ran screaming LA LA LA LA LA LA! into the buy-now pay-never bosom of Ronald Reagan. A real man like Obama should order the Navy SEALs to go shoot him in the head, blow him away right in his rocking chair in Plains, GA.

Romano and Klaidman try their darndest to emphasize what a "stunning success" the assassination was, quoting unquestioning counterterror czar John Brennan's assertion that this was "one of the... gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory." In keeping with Newsweek's famous bipartisan tenor of mediocrity and malice, the authors praise Obama the "hardheaded realist" for abandoning that stump speech piffle about ending the War on Terror. Now, thankfully, Obama knows he "had to show he was willing to use force, prudently but confidently... [that he] understood the need to project strength, and he embraced it."

Forget the "softer talk of values and economic empowerment"; real men kill things, and make bellicose speeches that would frighten children, "shot through with steel." Mercifully, he came to his senses from his Hyde Park "drum circle in Peace Park" days, as he expands the role of Special Forces in "'denied areas' like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and [shows] a willingness to use 'kinetic force' even when safer options are available." He is no "weak, naïve, bumbling humanitarian." He is a strong, violent, purposeful anti-humanitarian.

Sentence: Jimmy Carter gets to "double-tap" both reporters, but benignly doesn't. He then forces them to build a functional home for poor people — their hands erupting in feculent blisters after their first honest hour's work in their coddled and beshitted lives. This isn't the 60 minutes they thought they'd signed up for.

"The Path of Evil," timeline compiled by GWU junior/Newsweek spring intern Lavrenti Beria.
Money Shot: "It was the sort of attack that had become all too familiar in the violence-plagued region."
Crime: Lazy, stupid sustenance of the Al Qaeda myth.

Of course Newsweek would botch even a straightforward timeline of Al Qaeda activities, with a paragraph so tendentious it could've been excerpted from the Unabomber's manifesto:
The last act of Al Qaeda terror before Bin Laden died occurred last month in a café in Marrakech, Morocco, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens more.... Al Qaeda frequently slaughters civilians gathered in public areas such as markets and restaurants. It is unclear whether Bin Laden's terrorist operatives were responsible for the bombing, but some scholars have speculated that the attack may have been a cry for attention on the part of Al Qaeda, which has been recently overshadowed in the news by political upheavals in the Middle East. If this is the case, it was the last known Qaeda attack carried out before Bin Laden is killed.
Let's play "mutarjim," or translator, for this dripping slide of Word AIDS.
The last bombing we attributed to a bunch of syphilitic retirees sipping Pepsi in a Pakistani retirement home occurred in Morocco. We believe the killers of these fourteen people live halfway across the world and operate as part of a decimated terror outfit that never really existed. We say that this bizarre collection of half-men exert Voodoo powers over an entire region, such that they can bend forks in Algiers and levitate sunglasses in Rabat, all from Abbottabad. We have no idea who did this bombing. But if we were making shit up, we might speculate without evidence that Osama Bin Laden bombed that café for attention. Yes. If that were true, it would’ve been one of the last things he did.
Sentence: Next journalistic posting is to cover the strange, black magick of Middle Eastern coffee shops, telekinetically exploded by Al Qaeda warlocks in the blink of an eye. It is a hardship posting.

"Sorrow and Joy," various artists.
Money Shot: "As someone familiar with Abbottabad..." — Bernard-Henri Lévy
Crime: Assembled public intellectuals well-known enough to make the Oprah Book Club to justify America’s self-destruction.
Elie Wiesel: "Normally I would respond to such scenes [the celebration of Bin Laden’s death] with deep apprehension. The execution of a human being — any human being — should never be an event to celebrated. Death — anyone's — must be taken seriously, thoughtfully. This time is different."

Andrew Sullivan: "And so we say to our heroes: you did not die in vain."

Bernard-Henri Lévy: "Let us hope that this time the Obama administration will learn the strikingly obvious lesson about this supposed ally."
Sentence: All three will be locked in a room and told that the first man to concuss the other two writers into unconsciousness will get the Newsweek editor's gig. Lévy will definitely win.

"The Value of Boldness," by war criminal Paul Wolfowitz.
Money Shot: Who cares?
Crimes: Against humanity.
Sentence: Hanged by the neck until dead.

"The Coolest Guys In The World" by ten year-old cub reporter Tony Dokoupil.
Money Shot: Named article about Navy SEALs "The Coolest Guys In The World."
Crime: Adult reporter for one of America's premier news publications wrote an article about the snake-eating psychos of the SEALs and named the article "The Coolest Guys In The World."
Sentence: Pantsed by the coolest guys in the world. Told he is a "big fag" and lashed to the elementary school flagpole by the coolest guys in the world. One of the coolest guys in the world takes the bologna sandwich out of Tony Dokoupil's Jack Sparrow lunchbox and shoves it down his underoos.

I could go on, but I don't want to. Newsweek is typical of the coverage; if you looked toward MSNBC or CNN or Time or The New York Times it would only be a matter of shading.

Noted egghead Adlai Stevenson said that people get the government they deserve. He's right. We also get the press we deserve. If they're not going to stop the internationalized Vietnam consuming us, it will have to be a grassroots effort. I'm not optimistic. I'd like to think tenacious, decent elfin radicals like Dennis Kucinich held sway over the American "left," but they don’t.

The kingmakers are indistinct from pixie-fucking, whitebread, tragically hip pond scum like Death Cab For Cutie lead singer Ben Gibbard. Gibbard is hip to the constraints Obama has to operate under, in a way us squares just don't get:
I feel that he's had to become a politician. There's always a lot of talk during any election of people saying what they're going to do. Once they get into office, they realize they're going to actually have to play ball with the other side. Obama has had his back against the wall the entire time. You have to concede one thing in order to get another thing. Some of the concessions are not things that I would have necessarily conceded, but at the same time, I'm still very proud of the work that he has done. I will, of course, support him again.
I will — OF COURSE — support him again. No matter whether he nukes Tripoli or buries Kabul in a thick grime of radioactive brownie mix. Just remember, when the scorer comes: Newsweek, Ben Gibbard and their fellow bourgeoisie bottom-feeders killed America. No one stopped the glorification of violence that doomed it.

"The method of collective punishment so far has proved effective."
— IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, 1955.

In September 2009, Somali-based Al Qaeda-type Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, along with al-Shabaab militant leader Hussein Ali Fidow, was shredded into bacon bits by Special Forces' small-arms fire. U.S. commandos shot several bodyguards before dragging Nabhan's corpse out of his pulverized Mitsubishi Pajero, a fleshy souvenir with which they absconded, apparently for DNA identification. In hindsight, it was the blueprint for the Bin Laden hit — an operation in a foreign country bereft of American occupation, accomplished up close and personal, with the carcass carted away to the black helicopter. It speaks to an American addiction, shoved into the closet for a few brief decades before creeping back to the post-9/11 dinner table: assassination.

The Pentagon's top torture apologist/spokesman, patronizing Chiclet-toothed ex-morning newsman Geoff Morrell, naturally had "no comment" on the accusation that American forces had entered a foreign country to pop people and sew up some ear necklaces. These are night moves, done far from our shores, part and parcel of what has become a global assassination ring operating on every continent in the world, with less oversight than a McDonald's assistant manager working the late shift.

The nightstick logic of a limitless war of assassination is easy to grasp. First, it eliminates people deemed hostile to the United States, without any pesky pinko bunk like a trial. Secondly, it sows fear and dissension among the ranks of the Al Qaeda "hierarchy" we believe exists, creating panic and reducing their effectiveness. Third, it shows we can hit anywhere, without the exposure a nation-building morass like the Iraq War provides to America's enemies. This logic applies to virtually any target Leon Panetta could slap on a Powerpoint slide for his Oval Office meetings; whether it's a head of state like Gaddafi, an American citizen like Anwar al-Awlaki or Adam Gadahn, or a faceless Quran-humping ghoul to be slow-roasted in Dogdick, Somalia, in a murder never to be heard of or cared about back home.

William Blake was one of those Romantic types who could "see the world in a grain of sand." If any soil samples were scooped up on any of these overseas field trips, one shining message would project bright and bold under the microscope: assassination is pointless, its rationale inhuman dreck, the iota of victory overloaded by a healthy dividend of loathing, destruction and blowback. We cannot kill every person who wishes us ill, and yet the Obama Administration, even moreso than that of the pretzel-snarfing Caligula that preceded him, has endeavored to do exactly that. The violation of a country's sovereignty and killing of citizens on its soil would certainly seem to constitute a casus belli — an interpretation that would add Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, the Philippines, Indonesia and possibly Iran to the list of countries with which we are at war.

It's hard to get a justification for this wanton globetrotting shooting spree out of the White House, since they simply never talk about it. The scum — John Brennan, Tom Donilon, Jay Carney, Leon Panetta, Tyrannosaurus Dem ad infinitum — mugged for the cameras for days, perfecting their mock sobriety over the pulverizing of a fifty-four year-old dilettante with the physical presence of Jessica Tandy. They've waxed lyrical about Justice and Closure with all the persuasion of a country drunk at harvest time, boorishly pressing his thumb on the scale. Of course there was never any debate in the Obama White House about capturing him — where have you been the past two years? This junta is addicted to assassination, the Phoenix Program and Operación Cóndor taken global, and they will not be taking any questions about it, thank you very much.

But if they won't talk, the true masters of this system of poison control will. America is just copying this style of play from the global champion of assassination: Israel. And boy, has it done wonders for them. Since they started whacking their enemies in some fairly complex and cinematic rub-outs, they've had nothing but peace dividends, like when they killed Hamas spiritual godfather Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. And of course, after Yassin was dead, they had to hit his successor, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi. And naturally one of Rantissi's successors in the Gaza Hamas triumvirate, Said Siam. Simple — eliminated the problem right there. Though those are just the political guys. Naturally, they first had to take out operations guys, like Yehya Ayyash. It goes without saying that that edifying hit obviously also required the death of the next operations and weapons chief, Adnan al-Ghoul. And of course al-Ghoul's successor, weapons buyer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. But still, that's decimation. Though of course, that's just Hamas. Islamic Jihad was certainly dealt a blow with the death of their founder, Fathi al-Shikaki, the same way Fatah had been greviously wounded by the loss of that bastard Raed Karmi, a move that naturally followed the killing of previous Fatah military martinet Khalil al-Wazir a couple decades prior. Apart from that, assassination has been a pretty easy recipe for peace. Though of course they also had to remember the Marxist terrorists, like Abu Ali Mustafa. And of course Hezbollah's heavy hitters, like Imad Mugniyeh.

It's an effective, efficient weapon in the right hands. Peace in our time.

And now, Osama Bin Laden. Well, Sheila, take a bow. You did it. Bin Laden is dead, and there is immense pressure in America to offer no ambivalence about it — a true silent majority. The amoral heartworms who qualify as the "liberal" intelligentsia in this country stumbled over their laptop cords to out-bush Bush on this. Lawrence O'Donnell, an ex-Hollywood bigwig with the measured, stentorian tenor of a man stupid people think sounds profound, waxed "coolly and righteously angered" over the Bush administration's failure to kill this paper tiger, take his women, and pillage his porn 'n' Pepsi stash. Maybe if the killing of Bin Laden were some aberrant exception from standard operating procedure, perhaps such a wanton betrayal of American legal commitments might be tolerable. But it is old hat, a blood drive as celebrated as it is commonplace.

If history is any judge, this killing's celebration will have all the preening obliviousness of a castrated peacock in mating season, strutting and shaking and bereft of any balls. It doesn't take political courage to kill someone; it takes political courage to reject the senseless thirst for a machismo image, an ultimately fatal abcess in the American soul. Newsweek and Maureen Dowd were obsessed with the "anti-Jimmy Carter" image fostered by the hit. Jimmy Carter, that pussy who never launched any wars in the Middle East and who successfully negotiated the release of the hostages without killing them all in a doomed rescue mission. It takes political courage to disengage American support from the Middle Eastern dictators who brutalize and radicalize their denizens, a gang of flea-ridden Mafiosi who every American dupe, from Kristol to McCain to Obama to Friedman, feel are worth the price.

Osama Bin Laden was not born in a vacuum, nor did he die in one. Obama has no vision, no conception of the opportunity he was handed on a mother-of-pearl platter, to completely remake the neo-colonial framework the U.S. has maintained over the Middle East since the end of World War II. We prefer to drone-strike any blisters that crack open, completely apathetic to whether the chancres are a symptom of any greater sickness.

This illogical logic will only be strengthened by the Bin Laden killing. The functionaries of the American government are entirely comfortable with killing anyone, anywhere with at least one working hand and a legible, well-thumbed Quran, and are totally ignorant of the idea that American patronage of Middle Eastern oil kleptocracies might be a root cause driving terror. But a foreign policy based on dignity would drive up oil prices, so let the killing continue.

Barack Obama is a man of steel, moral granite on a constantly eroding hellscape. Though he devotes his mornings to connivance in Middle East mass murder, he spends afternoons fine-tuning mellifluous speeches — in the Oval Office, in Foggy Bottom, in the AIPAC green room — belying any American complicity in the firing range of the Arab Spring. I ask you, which is more important?

As moral clarion Fareed Zakaria told us, Obama's May 19 Middle East policy speech "tried to present a way in which he saw America's interests and values as squarely aligned with this Arab revolution." It's of little importance that Obama, a man of little imagination and less courage, does not actually believe this to be true, that he will bolster the crumbling buttresses of our Arab "gulag archipelago" with all the cement and rebar the United States can muster. Despite his elegant talk, Obama clomps through the Middle East with the grace of Egyptian State Security. The soaring lyricism of his profoundly spiritual affinity for men like Ali Abdullah Saleh and King Hamad al-Khalifa can barely be heard over the sound of jackboots pounding skulls into pavement.

Before we even broach the media payola of that wretched speech, recall the context in which Obama woke up and sniffed the wilting flowers of the Arab Spring. The biggest decision this blessed peacemaker made in the past few weeks was to zap Tripoli with a flock of ferocious block-bashing hellbirds, par for the course in a "humanitarian intervention" with an increasing human cost. Obama has repeatedly tried to assassinate that greasy raincoat-grubbing perv Gaddafi, in contravention of President Ford's longstanding Executive Order 11905: "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."

Ambivalent language, to be sure. Indeed, the night Obama killed at that cozy Correspondents' Dinner, rubbing elbows with the watchdog press and beltway-leftist dick remora Seth Meyers, he was killing even harder in Tripoli, a regular Borscht Bomb-belter, dropping a few tons of funny on Saif al-Arab Gaddafi's home. The punchline?—though Muammar was visiting, the bomb only managed to kill his twenty-nine year-old son and his three grandkids, all around the Obama girls' ages. But they call themselves the Aristocrats!

In other circles of Middle Eastern hell, Obama takes the Spinks-Ali drubbing. Obama sucked up hard to AIPAC, even as that silver-tongued gelding Netanyahu rabbit punched him into a wheelchair. Netanyahu — a man regularly humiliated by his foreign minister, unable to appoint even his closest advisors to sweetheart diplomatic postings without getting spat on — is overshadowed even by the maid-smacking kinetics of his horrible better half. Yet this is the comb-overed, disrespected eunuch who repays Obama's flattery, foreign aid and diplomatic cover with a friendly end-run to Speaker Boehner's House.

It is remarkable how ancillary Obama is for the times he lives in. "May you live in interesting times," goes the ancient Chinese curse. Interesting times indeed — re-up our private commitment to the satanic oppressive castes of Sana'a, Manama and Riyadh in the wake of a genuine Arab Awakening, and of course, murder Osama Bin Laden, Grand Wizard of the Abottabad Qaeda Klavern, rearguard butcher, coal-hearted intelligencer and languid zealot.

Obama is committed to breaking the cycle of terror that has wrought so much havoc upon the Middle East. As the Nobel laureate elucidated his philosophy of peace before the liberal-minded humanitarians of AIPAC's annual convention, "[America] will stand up to groups like Hezbollah who exercise political assassination, and seek to impose their will through rockets and car bombs." Well put. We do not do car bombs (anymore). We would certainly never engage in activities as wicked as political assassination and indiscriminate aerial bombing. Leather-fisted martial solutions have no place in the arsenal of peacemaker. Such blunders can only increase the measure of pain in the world, cannot freshen the political stagnation of the Arab world, will only further radicalize and beggar the battered souls captive to the most vicious dogs to gain some measure of coercion on this island Earth.

This hellhound is so two-faced that he can kiss both his daughters good night at the same time. Hell, I can't think of a better way to describe U.S. policy in the Mideast than as the three-pronged poker up the ass of air raids, humiliation and hitmen. I'll laugh forever at the sober commitment to not display the snaps of Osama, brains meathooked from his occipital cavity by a Navy man's sureshot: yeah, that would have really made the whole affair a bit too gruesome. Good benchmark to stop at. Best to stick to more humane considerations, as when on MSNBC beltway skell Lawrence O'Donnell grilled Michael Isikoff about why we didn't snatch Osama's women and children along with the stiff — the Viking Doctrine, I guess, as espoused by the enlightened "move forward" liberal vanguard.

Obama will get away with the inexcusable hypocrisy that elevates some Arab protesters to Steve Biko status and condemns others to blandishments, buckshot and prison — a bifurcation that, coincidentally I'm sure, perfectly mirrors the divide between pro and anti-American regimes. He is not a man to glorify violence. That would be barbaric, the rhetorical respite of terrorists and autocrats. This is the lingua franca of bone-crushing rogue regimes like Syria, Iran and Libya, not of a "long-standing partner" of the U.S. like Bahrain. Obama set that odious kleptocracy in Damascus straight, with the fresh sanctions and demands:
The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests; release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests; allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara'a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition.
Bully. Excellent. I'm sure he spoke the same kind of courageous truth to power amongst our pro-American proxies: "We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law... the only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue."

The double standard for pro-American and anti-American regimes will end in tears. The next Bin Laden will come from a "pro-American" country, and you can quote me on that. The slaying of a Batman villain like Bin Laden is just this year's finale. Not to worry, there will be more like him, an inexhaustible supply of would-be emirs, like every stand-up comedian waiting patiently for his Everybody Loves Raymond.


By Judith Miller

"At anchor 40 miles off the coast of Guam, today President Barack Obama headlined a star-studded, high-society day-long 'floatillion' held on the decks of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, a bacchanalian white-tie event that culminated in the high-octane, Hollywood-style launching of Osama Bin Laden's corpse miles underwater into the depths of the Mariana Trench."

Riding high and savoring his mock erudition over the real execution of the coward Osama Bin Laden, Obama has argued that Osama's untimely cranial stress fracture offers us the opportunity to return to the unity America cultivated after 9/11. This certifiably insane claim is true, though not in the way Barry intended.

Americans were unified in fear of anthrax crop-dusters and showers of molten jet fuel. In the ocean-floor canyon of rationality and human worth that was post-9/11 America, most of us drowned. Only a few benthic leviathans can thrive under such extreme conditions, a frigid, high-pressurized saltbox which no light has ever breached. Only the ugliest, most prehistoric stinging worms untouched by evolution can prosper, pursue happiness, blindly sucking sulfide in darkness. In the dark ages, in a kingdom of fear, under one thousand times the pressure of the full weight of water, only lampreys slither forth with confidence.

How appropriate that waterboarding was the means by which America and Al Qaeda united on one wavelength of moral degradation. They didn't know any better; it was instinctual. Waterboarding is merely the clumsy means by which the worst people in the world share their preternatural desire to dwell in savage watery darkness together.

Bin Laden should not have been dumped in the warm shallow waters off the "land of the two holy places." Obama should have been honest: we can't deliver justice, but we can kill whomever fucks with this nation of used car salesmen. Absolutely anyone. And we will, all laws and moral restraints be damned. That's the kind of honesty Americans deserve, and the only morally consistent framing for the celebration of his death.

And if it is to be celebrated, then there must be no half-measures. Vulgarity is no vice in the celebration of extremism. The only hypocritical avenue would be for Obama to peddle more of his salmon-colored roe about "justice" and morality in the name of a murder mission Pablo Escobar could have orchestrated.

The burial should have been televised, on every network. The Fifth Fleet should've parked in the South Pacific, the ships full of people, like Oprah and John McEnroe and Warren Beatty. After a benediction by the Reverend Billy Graham, looking remarkably spry for a man who died in 1998, the festivities would begin.

Sheikh Osama Bin Laden's spindly arms and legs should have been ejected piece by piece from a t-shirt gun off the coast of Guam, returned to his spiritual homeland, the hydrothermal black hell of the Mariana Trench. With his extremities dispatched, it would be down to that jahiliya heretic Kareem Abdul Jabbar to hookshoot his head into the briny deep. Atop a massive neon oil platform specially constructed for the event by the Army Corps of Engineers, Kareem would have swooped to a hoop constructed over the well's gaping spigot, the blood-caked dynamite dunked into the hole, to be sucked deep, deep down as a noxious, oily hairball into the coldest reaches modern technology can reconnoiter.

Exorcising Bin Laden will not, however, be enough. In a token symbol of atonement for the War on Terror, Bin Laden's torso should have been lashed to the full heft of an "Angler" himself, a still-living, fully-conscious Dick Cheney, by now a slumping gum wrapper of a man all too aware of his rapidly advancing fate. Tasered only hours before, surprised by a JSOC snatch squad as he entered the McLean ASPCA for his weekly puppy stomp, Cheney would be rolled out onto the plank clad in the protective garb of a Wyoming fly-fisherman, a good-humored nod to the inescapable fact that the Vice President would soon drown, leadened by the fricasseed trunk of Public Enemy #1.

Like a poaching hyena finding himself surrounded by a pride of vengeful lions, he would find only the bloody carrion of his onetime adversary to comfort him in his final moments, Osama and Dick plunging together towards unknown happiness. With his battery-powered pacemaker, Cheney would enjoy his new career as an electric eel, stalking the seabed with his partner in crime, a vicious bonefish who prays five times a day, attached at the hip like the flotsam and jetsam they are.