The comments these past few days have been full of digs at the nuts who doubt the story of the killing of Bin Laden - like it's some kind of a creed that you have to recite if you want to belong. What's that all about?
The best way to understand this final episode of the Osama Bin Laden Show is in terms of Orwell's 1984 - well worth re-reading if you haven't looked at it since high school! It's National Triumph Week. Next will come the naming or elevating a new face of the Enemy, a new bogyeman, a new National Hate Week.
Bin Laden was one of Reagan's "Freedom Fighters", welcome guests in the White House, who took billions of US dollars and the latest anti-aircraft technology to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. His followers then set up the Taliban government - but apparently deeply offended their sponsors by abolishing the Opium trade. Osama was an islamic fundamentalist, a fanatical mass murderer whose followers waged war by burning down schools and clinics and killing doctors, teachers, nurses and women wearing "un-feminine" garb, but he was our monster then. Anyone remember that?
Is one a conspiracy theorist because they still don't buy the story that some rich Saudi fanatics with box cutters could fly two airplanes into two skyscrapers and cause *three* of them to collapse like a house of cards? And where is the proof that Bin Laden was responsible, as they claimed within hours after it happened? Have you noticed that ten years later we still haven't seen it?
Bin Laden was reported to be very sick in late 2001, reported as having renal failure, and we saw photos of a Bin Laden with grey hair and a ravaged face, looking like an old man. And then there was a report, supposedly from Al Qaida, that he had died. Remember that anyone?
Then we had a series of videos and statements with photos featuring a healthier younger-looking Bin Laden with black hair and a different nose. If you're over 30 you must remember that.
Now we have reports of Bin Laden killed in a firefight, no wait, he was unarmed, with his wife killed, no it was his other wife, no his mistress, shot behind the ear, no shot in the head and chest, and his body dumped in the ocean out of respect for Moslem tradition - no wait, it was to prevent his grave becoming a shrine, but we'll show you the photo, no wait, we can't show you the photo yet it will make them angry, no wait it's too grizzly we can't ever show it... And did you notice no one in the media is even asking the question: If Osama was unarmed, why didn't our forces do whatever was necessary to get him out alive for questioning about what really happened on 9/11?
And anyone who says none of this makes sense is ... a conspiracy nut?
I'm sorry folks, but malarky is malarky, even if everyone who is anyone agrees it must be true. Even if it is accepted without question in Radioland, Tellyworld and the pages of our dear old T&G.
One example among many: An AP story in Tuesday’s T&G quoted Brad Sagarin, a psychology professor at Northern Illinois University, as saying the burial at sea “would certainly be a rich sort of kernel for somebody to grasp onto if they were motivated to disbelieve this.”
“Rich kernel to grab onto?” Give me a break! Was Pinocchio’s nose a “rich kernel to grab onto?”
The people planning this operation certainly knew that the burial at sea would raise red flags all over the world - and the only ones that would buy it were - us, their gullible captive Americans. And maybe the Brits. What possible reason could they have had for ditching the body that would trump the need for certainty, unless they were hiding something?
At the very least they could have cleaned up the body and put bandaids over the entry holes and taken some show-able photos!
Tell me the truth: What was your first reaction when you heard Obama had been killed and immediately "buried at sea"? Bet it was the same as mine: "Yeah, right! They must think we're stupid!"
I've been asking regular people that question. Every single one over the age of 30 had that as their first reaction. Some are coming around under the constant pressure from the media and constant digs at the doubters as "conspiracy nuts", "deathers" or "soft-minded liberals", but we all still remember that first reaction.
Even the NPR audience didn't buy it at first. As it chanced, when I first heard the news I Googled it and the NPR site came up. In the comments that followed it, not one commentator believed the story, and every single one cited the burial at sea for that! Yet listening to NPR a few days later they were still nattering on and on about this staged news event with nary a hint that anyone could possibly doubt it really happened!
So if this story, like the rest of the Osama Bin Laden show, is phoney baloney, then the real question is: why did they decide to kill off the show's villain now? Do you think maybe it has something to do with Libya? Or Syria, or Yemen or Iran? Do they need a new bogeyman? Someone more contemporary, like Qadhafi perhaps? Are they trying to establish the rightness of waging war by death squad before they kill him? Or perhaps they just need to pull back from Afghanistan because they're overextended and they need the troops for other adventures?
We need to hold onto our first reaction to this story, the little voice that said “Yeah, right!” That little voice speaks from all of our experiences of government and media from the last 50 years, all the accumulated hurts from being tricked and betrayed by their lies and manipulations. The little voice that warns us not to take what they say at face value, not to get swept up by their great noise machine. We need that part of our mind. We need to cultivate it, listen to it and guard it as a sacred space, the place from which we watch what’s going on and think about it.
The place from which that "Yeah, right!" spoke needs to be our mental citadel, from within which we resist being swept up in the manufactured outrage, insanity and war fever now being unleashed on us.