The GOP and their media arm are taking the partisan warfare up to 11. And that will be my last concession to humor, because frankly there isn’t a goddamned thing funny about this.
Napolitano began his Monday show by saying bin Laden was “killed on the illegal whim of the president.” Moments later, he added, “Osama bin Laden is dead. And the president seems to think he has the right to kill whomever he wants so long as the person is perceived as a monster and the public supports it.”
And yet the judge also questioned whether officials are “telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama’s lousy presidency.” Later in the broadcast, Napolitano asked a guest, “Do you believe he’s dead, or do you want some more evidence: a photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?”
Note that he is basing current disbelief on prior disbelief, thus creating a perpetual justification loop for just “asking questions” on any subject he decides to “have honest concerns” about.
FRANKS: I’m afraid that this administration somehow now will declare the peace dividend and really just exploit the issue for political reasons and not really have the insight to do what’s necessary to protect this country in the future because we still have an Iran that is on the cusp of gaining nuclear weapons capability, we still have terrorists all over the world that are steeped in this ideology, we still have the potential of radical Islamists in the Pakistani military appropriating nuclear weapons and passing that along to terrorists.
The free world, particularly the United States, has a right to make sure Osama bin Laden is really dead. Every American has a right to walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it. We are entitled to know for a fact that the witch is dead. No shroud for dignity’s sake, please – bin Laden’s naked, bullet-riddled corpse should be put on display in lower Manhattan for all the world to see. The entire body should be digitally scanned, inside and out – and made available for everyone to take his or her own picture.
I get that the GOP platform is reflexive opposition to literally everything Obama does. I get that the only principle they have besides cutting taxes for the rich and banning abortion is to take any position that provides an angle of attack. And I get that acting out this way is a sign of anxiety and desperation on their part. Still, this shit has reached a point that even I find shocking and disturbing. It is absolutely unreal to see these guys try to figure out ways to paint Obama taking out Osama Fucking bin Laden as evidence that he is a weak president who has no idea how to bring terrorists to what we’re choosing to call “justice.” This level of cynicism is truly astounding, and I’m honestly starting to wonder how much longer this goes on before it becomes impossible to step back from the abyss.
I’m no big fan of Obama, as I believe has been aptly demonstrated in this space, but that isn’t even the point. How I feel about the way bin Laden was killed is not the point either. The point is that we have a large portion of our citizenry and virtually all of a major political party that have become flat-out political nihilists: Birthers asked for Obama’s long form certificate for three years and rejected it within three hours. We’ve been after bin Laden for almost a decade, and allegedly we’ve wanted nothing more than to “get’im,” yet we couldn’t even make it through a 5-minute speech announcing his liquidation without throwing on our Internet Linguistics Analyst caps and determing that the President of the United States is too “arrogant” based on his use of the word “I” while describing how the operation went down.
For nearly a decade now, these people have pretended to want nothing more than to see bin Laden eliminated; when they got their wish they became bored of it within minutes, and proceeded directly to shitting on Obama for doing exactly what they would’ve wanted not an hour prior. It really is more important to these people that bin Laden get killed during a Republican presidency than that he can no longer contribute to the spreading of violence, hatred and pain. The conspiracy madness has become mainstream enough that it is now basically trendy to deny that bin Laden is dead, and my personal read is that while initially smart-seeming, Obama catering to the long form demands has empowered these people to feel as though they have a right to demand anything they think of from the White House.
This is poisonous, and though I generally approach this stuff with sardonic detachment, this latest round is really getting to me. I thought the last decade was pretty shitty, but we’re in a place now that is so overwhelmingly cynical, bitter and divisive that I can hardly even process it. I feel a slow-building rage making its way down my spine, directed at these people and their obsession with attaching their constant, reflexive partisan hatred to every event, large or small, that happens in their lives; at their mindless, bleating repetition of the previous days’ talking points; at their feigned patriotism and postured concern; at their attempts to position themselves as True Patriots and The Only Ones Who Truly Believe In Our Brave Troops, all the while implicitly criticizing those same soldiers and their support crews as incompetent — do they think Obama personally set up the equipment that allegedly failed to provide a proper video feed*? — or outright claiming that the Brave and True Seal Team 6 whose praises they’re singing did not actually do a goddamn thing.
I am genuinely concerned about the next few decades. We’re going to have children who are going to be raised knowing as “Fact” that the President of the United States faked the death of bin Laden — we’ve already seen the results of almost ten years of 9/11 trutherism; between birth certificates and bin Laden fairy tales, there are going to be a hell of a lot more conservatives being raised with this reflexive distrust and hatred as their primary religion. I’m trying to imagine how this all works itself out, and the only answer I can come up with is an old saw that I’m not sure is the case: it’s the economy, stupid. We’re always told that economic anxiety brings out the worst in people, so if there is hope, in my mind it rests upon an economic recovery which it seems is not happening. I don’t even believe that’s the case, to be quite honest — but it’s the only plausible story I can tell myself of how we step back from the breach on this. Photos and videos and other assorted bits of corpse-porn are not going to satisfy people who, if they even accept their validity, would then immediately pivot to excoriating Obama for inflaming Muslims unnecessarily. That much is quite evident from the Republicans’ sudden, newfound respect for international law.
I don’t know where we go from here. For myself, I’m in a bit of trouble with this, and starting to have some very low-grade violent urges about these people; punching, gouging and spitting, that is — nothing too over the top, and not directed at anyone in specific, but still bad news. I need to step away from the Internet for a while, I think. The problem is I’m not sure I can.
*I suspect, with no evidence, that there was in fact a video feed and this is merely a way to head off the inevitable demands that its footage be disseminated to doubters (without using any precious taxpayer money, of course) via Facebook and FaceTime so they can immediately declare it fraudulent; in fact, I hope this is the case. Fuck these people. Burden of proof is on the accuser, you pieces of shit — if you want to discredit the official story, do some fucking legwork instead of sitting on your ass punching buttons on your smartphone and demanding that Obama post the bin Laden files on your fucking Wall. At least the 9/11 trolls and birth certificate freaks did something that could theoretically be labelled ‘investigative research’ — this theory that bin Laden isn’t dead is based entirely on the “gut feelings” of a bunch of ignorant motherfuckers who are at best pretending that watching police procedurals gives them an intimate knowledge of how long it takes a SEAL team on a top-secret mission from the President to do a DNA test, and at worst flatly asserting that bin Laden isn’t dead without feeling the need to justify it in any way.
I’m glad, at least, that the White House has taken a firm line against releasing the photos.