May 2, 2011

The Death of Bin Laden

Last night I waited for the president to tell us what the press already had, namely that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Once again, being witness to history leaves me ill at ease. I certainly wouldn't question that a kind of justice was done. Delusional, homicidal maniacs are never a good thing to have around, and all the less so if they are charismatic enough to lead mass movements. Nevertheless, when I hear of the crowds outside the White House mindlessly chanting "U-S-A!" I sense that we have only won the latest round in a deepening blood feud. Our masses are as delusional to think that this victory will make radical Islam cower as their masses were to think that 9/11 would make us cower. My post of last week seems all the more prescient now.

The president, of course, took credit. One should not expect nobility from politicians. He was careful, as Bush was, to try not to cast our actions as a general assault on Islam, which in some abstract legalistic sense it actually isn’t. I have a hard time imagining, however, that we have not created a martyr in the eyes of many. People are not rational about these things.

My local TV station announced that they’d received a flood of emails triumphantly forecasting that oil prices will go down now. Perhaps these people were only predicting that commodity speculators might sell off enough of their oil futures to drop the price of few dollars a barrel. Perhaps – but I doubt it. I think what they believe is that we licked those Arab’s good, and now they’ll open the tap for fear we’ll whack them hard again. God bless the U.S.A. – we have our pride back now! It’s still inconceivable to the average American that the oil party may be rapidly winding down, scared Arabs or no scared Arabs.

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