What does the assassination of Osama Bin Laden have in common with Guantanamo Bay?
They’re both intended to send a message that the United States has sunk deeper into savagery and abandoned any commitment to conventional norms of behavior. That’s the message, and we hear it “loud and clear”.
We don’t need our Harvard-educated president to crow about his latest gangland “hit” to know that America has turned into a moral swamp. That’s obvious in every area of policy, foreign and domestic. It’s just that certain incidents draw more attention than others, like when a drone incinerates a home full of women and children in the Pakistani outback or when F-16s reduce a city of 300,000 (Falluja) to rubble leaving behind a legacy of birth defects, cancer and grinding poverty. These are the real “headline grabbers”, like shrugging off the sovereign rights of an ally, invading their airspace, and deploying special ops to conduct a Rambo-style massacre in a civilian section of town.
Booyah. You go America! U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A.
Everyone knows the rules don’t apply to America. How could they not know? In Libya, the US is supporting a gaggle of fundamentalist crackpots invoking the thinnest rationale of all time, that the leader of the nation (Gaddafi) does not have the right to put down an armed rebellion against the state. What kind of nonsense is that?
But it doesn’t matter, because the US creates the rules on-the-fly; just makes it up as they go along. So, when Bin Laden gets whacked in the latest bloody incident of military gangsterism, no one utters a peep of protest, because everyone knows that the US owns the world and the rest of us are just guests.
So, now that Bin Laden is dead can we withdraw the troops from Afghanistan and allow the Afghans decide their own future? Can we make our apologies to the families of the 1 million Iraqis who were killed in the invasion-occupation of Iraq and move on? Can we stop poking our nose in the internal affairs of every state, on every continent, in every corner of the planet?
Of course not. It’s our planet, isn’t it?
The world deserves a breather from the United States, just a pause in the action. It’s not that everyone hates us; they don’t. They don’t even think about us. They have their own problems to deal with. But the US has become a first class nuisance, like a wasp at the company picnic, constantly buzzing around the potato salad just when people want to sit down to eat. That’s America, one big honking wasp making everyone’s life miserable.
The rest of the world doesn’t share our “enlightened” views about justice. They’re still stuck in the past believing in archaic ideas about due process, habeas corpus, and civil liberties. They don’t see the virtue of kidnapping, beating, and waterboarding. They don’t cheer when people are butchered and dumped at sea. They don’t build Stalinesque gulags and torture chambers to show how forbearing and merciful they are. They’re leaders don’t go through the ritual chest-thumping exercise on national TV when someone’s been assassinated. They don’t understand what a wonderful country the US is. All they just want a little breather from all the violence. Is that too much to ask?
So, here’s a solution that will make everyone happy. Why doesn’t the US plan a short trip, like a 5 or 6 year sabbatical, and give everyone a break. Because–like I said–people don’t hate the US; they’re just weary. You’ve worn us out, America. You’re like the mother-in-law with the booming voice who comes for the weekend and stays for a month. You’ve worn out your welcome. So, just go. It’ll be better for everyone.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org