Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden's ultimate victory

David Sirota nails it:

"This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory: He has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history -- the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed."

There's also this from HeathenFace on Reddit:

I will not remember today for Osama's death. I will remember it for the way I felt watching the videos of my countrymen celebrating in the streets of New York and Washington. I don't recognize them, these people waving flags, singing, and pouring their jubilation into the night because we killed someone. And what about all the others that have been killed? During 10 years we spent unbelievable amounts of blood and treasure, enacted unthinkable civil liberties legislation, and turned ourselves into brutes for this.

And there we were out on the streets. Brutes. We have become brutes.

Yes, the world is a better place without Osama bin Laden. But I fear what this has brought out in us. The structural factors that create Osama bin Ladens still exist, and unless we work to change those, we will continue to undermine ourselves by giving our attention to tomorrow's straw man.

I'm not sure which is more tragic, that Osama Bin Laden achieved what he set out to do, or that we didn't notice.


Don Geddis said...

You may lament (as I do too) the change in American attitudes in the last decade.

But you think Bin Laden achieved what he set out to do? What do you think his goal was?

I doubt that "turn America from weak and passive into an aggressive culture that celebrates violence" was a top priority for Bin Laden, no matter how much you and I personally regret that transformation.

It was just an accidental side-effect.

Ron said...

> But you think Bin Laden achieved what he set out to do? What do you think his goal was?

His ultimate goal was to get the U.S. out of the middle east. That's common knowledge. He obviously has not achieved that goal yet. But I think he had a secondary goal of diminishing our political and economic influence around the world as a means to that end, and towards that goal he has made more progress than any individual in our history. And now that he's a martyr and the airwaves are full of images of Americans dancing in the streets I can't imagine how he could have died anything other than deliriously happy at how things turned out.

Tony said...

It's the celebration of the death of a human being that lamentable. No matter who it is, the idea that we'd rejoice that we've now killed someone does not sit well with me. And what message are we trying to send here?

This is not a new thing for the United States of America or the Western world in general either. Thousands of Japanese civilians were killed when the atomic bomb was used. The dancing in the street to celebrate the end of the war in the Pacific was no different.