"Team America--Fuck YEAH!" Joe Cowboy, upon 'foiling' a terrorist plot to destroy Paris
"The more things change, the more they stay the same," French proverb
"Heads you win, tails I lose," Barack Obama to Rance Priebus, November 2012
"100 years of dogs on commemorative plates," Dr. Lionel Tobin, British Association for the Paranormal ("B.A.P.", retired)
Obviously you have heard the news by now: On 1st May 2011, a team of U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. operatives, working from intelligence obtained by the CIA confronted and killed Osama Bin Laden outside his safehouse located in Abottabad, Pakistan. In accordance with Islamic requirements regarding the prompt internment of corpses, his body was buried at sea within 24 hours of his death.
I found out about this gradually from about 20 after 9pm, Central Time when someone posted a Huffington Post item about Obama giving an urgent, impromptu speech about a grave national security matter. Additional dribs and drabs came in through the twitter feed of a CNN reporter, Steve Brusk until Obama's actual television appearance.
Whatever your reaction to the news, whether or not you believe it or, as certain readers of Disinformation seem likely, don't even believe that Osama Bin Laden ever existed it has to be admitted that it the announcement itself is of huge practical importance: Obama's public commitment to the statement raises an enormous question mark over the official rationale for continued military operations in Afghanistan.
Also, what precisely are "paranormal sciences"? Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? How could "supernatural forces" be measured and quantified for empirical study?
Judging by media reports and my ancedotal observations of my mostly American Facebook coterie, the immediate response was an overwhelming call to celebration, a recognition that a sort of balance had been restored to the universe by the violent death of a man "credited" or "charged" (if there indeed be a single word or phrase capable of comprehending the attribution of such a heinous crime) with the slaughter of thousands of non-combatants on a sunny morning in Manhattan in September 2001.
Even staunch opponents of Obama's policy of unconstitutional, eternal warfare seemed overjoyed: Sure now there no longer lay before us any serious obstacle to the complete and immediate withdrawal of American troops from the Middle East; our causus belli had been completely satisfied.
I myself, however, couldn't really muster the same enthusiasm. While I recognized that this was surely a hugely significant turning point in the evolution of Ameica's involvement in the region, it was clear to me that there were many curious ambiguous threads woven into this story that are not likely to resolve themselves in the near future, if at all. True, the dramatic character of the events seemed to shriek a confident certainty. But 'Certainty' is a moron.
I nearly fucking vomited when I heard NPR tool Guy Raz, referred to NYC, the site of some of the most jubillant celebration as, " . . . the city most affected by Osama Bin Laden."
|Downtown Manhattan, Guy Raz' conception|
The first question that hit me was, "How the Hell could the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, not have been aware that Bin Laden had been living literally in their back yard for at least four years?" While Obama's speech vaguely credited the operation's success on cooperation with Pakistani authorities, all detailed reports agreed that:
1.) The operation was conducted with U.S. personnel only;
2.) The information upon which it was based came from sources detained by U.S. forces;
3.) Pakistani authorities were notified only AFTER the fact;
4.) Abottabad is a Pakistani military town about 60 miles from its capitol city, Islamabad--just about the OPPOSITE end of the country from the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan whence U.S. intelligence services had been directed by the ISI.
So just what the Fuck was really going on here? Was Bin Laden actually being hidden, aided and abetted by elements of the Pakistani government? The same government the cash-strapped U.S. had forked over perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars to during the last ten years? Had we really completely destroyed another country's infrastructure and installed a corrupt gangster puppet regime for no effectual purpose?
Even if somehow we could honestly come to grips with the loathesome self-horror attendant upon those answers, will we ever be able to make it right again? Apart from the renewed Taliban savageness in Afghanistan, the various demotic movements in the Islamic world of recent months make it clear that Pakistani society iself now needs to come to grips with the shadowy games that its troubled government has been playing on its behalf--independently of U.S. influence.
In light of these developments, we seriously have to consider the possibility that the extraordinary "Star Chamber" character of the proceedings against Dr. Lionel Tobin were actuated by motives of petty jealousy far beneath the supposed dignity of the British Association of Parapsychologists.
I have to say that at this point, I don't think that big changes are likely. Not in the near term, anyhow. Not without increased bloodshed. First of all, there is no one in the world, let alone the region, capable, after a decade of dirty black ops tricks, rank media manipulation and the understandable paranoia inflicted by vicious civil wars, of garnering enough credibility and good will to command the uncontested loyalties of the region's peoples.
In truth, the mere death of Bin Laden isn't really even much of a speed bump, even, to the conduct of the conflict. Mainstream media security pundits have been quick to point out that Bin Laden's deep cover had effectively relegated him to the position of symbolic figurehead years ago, and de facto day-to-day control of operations have been in the hands of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Whether or not you believe this to be the factual case, it is the accepted narrative of the media, and it is the narrative that will drive the future conduct of American policy: No big changes in the foreseeable future.
Least of all because of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Remember that Sec. of State Hilary Clinton has on numerous occassions gone on record re-affirming America's prolonged commitment in the region is due at least as much to the presence of nuclear weapons in Pakistan as avenging the events of 9/11. Show of hands out there as to how many people think that such a threat, even if you consider it primarily theoretical rather than actual, would be REDUCED by a Pakistani population enraged by yet another unauthorized U.S. military operation within their sovereign territory?
Are the fetid, manure-like odors cited by more recent observers in Bath Abbey further evidence of the Sasquatch's continued lurking within the buildings confines? I shudder to think . . .
I admit that I'm just sounding the depths out there on how regional realpolitik will affect American policy going forward. Testing my intuitions. However, to me, the ultimate effects of this announcement on American presidential politics seem much clearer: Obama will be punished.
I realize that this may seem utterly counter-intuitive to many readers. It certainly does run against the grain of the current tide of popular opinion that I see being expressed on Facebook and other popular and social media. But it should be recognized that this is the 2nd day of May 2011--exacly 554 days before the presidential election and more than a year before even the party nominations are expected to be officially announced. And I am totally convinced that if there is anyone on this earth incompetent enough to fuck up the apparently unassailable PR advantage of being the "sheriff who shot" Osam Bin Laden, it is Barack Hussein Obama.
Given the feckless stupidity of the American electorate and the depressingly powerful entropic forces of realpolitik that most likely mean either a humiliating American retreat from the region, or more likely, an increasingly obvious stalement that will totally expose Obama's essential powerlessness and rhetorical falsity over the next 554 days, the conclusion seems a foregone result: An as-of-yet TBA Republican nominee will receive credit for "successful" conduct of a muscular American military policy, while Obama will be blamed for its inevitable failure. This is the typical result of the cartoonish dichotomy established for the kabuki theatre that we call America's two party Democratic (Mommy party) / Republican (Daddy party) system.
This time there will be no fantasy market bubbles to save Obama, a la Bill Clinton in 1996 or ginned-up wartime enthusiam to tide him over a la Bush II in 2004. Even in the unlikely scenario that Obama does announce a plan to immediately and drastically reduce troop commitments in the region, it will not be practically possible to put it into effect before the election. With regard to Ameicans' attention spans, they have a 16-oz drinking habit and 4-oz bladders; they'll piss all overthemselves long before the pint has a chance to get warm.
Finally, how long can the creators of this video, Dave Clark and Kevin MacLeod, escape the same fate of enforced pixilation suffered by Dr. Tobin? I fear that the vengeful tentacles of the B.A.P. extend deeper and further than they may imagine.
*Surrealistic metacommentary on my part. View the full 3-video series: "The Secret History of Bath Abbey"
by Dave Clark and Kevin MacLeod, on the BlueCrayon77 channel at Youtube.