Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Chanted Evening

Sunday night we (those of us who were up) learned Osama bin Laden had been killed by Navy Seals.* The only reason I was up was that at ten or so a friend emailed me to say that Obama was going to make a statement to the nation on an undisclosed topic. So I waited. We were assuming he was going to announce that Qaddafi was dead.

Right about mortality. Wrong about which murderous crazy guy.

This is big news. It's especially big news for the wife of Gary Weddle, a Washington state middle-school teacher who decided in the aftermath of 9-11 he would not shave again until bin Laden was killed. I can't imagine her relief at no longer....well, let's just not go there.

Among the other people who think this is big news is Dick Cheney and his homies at Fox News, who are playing this up as a vindication of "Bush-era enhanced interrogation techniques" and Guantanamo. Because even though our Kenyan overlord has been in office for over two years, he couldn't have had anything to do with this. Fox News is unequivocal ("Bush-Era Interrogations Provided Key Details on bin Laden's Location"). But numerous reports are appearing that indicate bin Laden's elimination was the result of old-fashioned, painstaking intelligence work.

But even assuming the pro-torture crowd was right, it's absurd to also assume the intelligence obtained via torture couldn't have been gotten any other way. History suggests otherwise. In 2007, the men whose job in World War II was to get information from Nazi prisoners talked about their work. How did they get their intelligence? They cultivated relationships with their prisoners. They played chess. They had dinner together. As one of them recalled, "We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture."

Of course, facts won't really change the minds of the Fox News crowd and their audience. They'll just go back home, close the curtains, and enjoy their Jack Bauer porn.

And if the Fox News audience has been living in one reality. It seems many teenagers have been living in another. Twitter was hopping today with young people trying to find out, "Who is Osama bin Laden? And why should I care?"

*Specifically Navy Seal "Team 6." Which officially doesn't exist. And yet they're all over the Internet. Go figure.


Annmarie said...

Best. Blog Post Title. Ever.

Kevin said...


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