Ding Dong Bin Ladin’s Dead

Just as there was a short moment of national unity after 9/11 when partisan politics were put on hold while we grieved and took a collective sobering look at our changed reality, President Obama’s announcement this week that Osama Bin Laden was found and killed provided a time out for most of the world to breathe a sigh of relief. As the details unfolded there was some questioning about whether he was given a chance to surrender but most people understood that that was never part of the game plan and most believed, as I did, that killing him was not only morally justifiable but was a much more practical closure to this tragic story.

But I was a bit surprised over how quickly that unanimity passed, the last chorus of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead faded, and the bickering began over the inane question of whether to release the gory photos of his remains. Those photos were seen by quite a few government officials and besides, there’s the DNA evidence to serve as the modern-day equivalent of Bin Laden’s ruby red slippers, removing any doubt as to the identity of the corpse. Only the craziest of conspiracy theorists and perhaps the blindest of Islamic fundamentalist Bin Laden followers would question the reality of his death. [Before going to press Al Quadi acknowledged his death].   President Obama made a series of extremely difficult strategic decisions in handling the raid – both before and after its successful conclusion. Quick disposal of Bin Laden’s body at sea and his refusal to spike the ball and do a touchdown dance denied an opportunity to elevate Bin Laden’s status to martyrdom.

Ironically the question did not split neatly along partisan lines as Republican Richard Lugar defended the president’s actions and Jon Stuart ranted childishly about wanting to see the color photos and 3D Imax film of his demise. Speaking of which, while once a big fan of the Daily Show, I now find that although I still watch, Stuart’s holier than thou, above the fray attitude is really grating on me. It started with his march on Washington, his testy interview on the Rachel Maddow show and his position that pundits on the left (e.g., Keith Oberman) are equally as preposterous as the Tea Baggers and beyond on the right (Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh)… but I digress.

We can’t be so naive as to think that Bin Laden’s death will end the threat of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism and we will live with the consequences of his actions for many years to come. But his demise should cause us to stop and take stock of our current policies in Afghanistan and Iraq and hopefully provide the incentive to wind those efforts down as quickly as possible. Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead. Good riddance.

Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  

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  1. I agree that Rachel Maddow on MSNBC is a consistently good reporter, (Lawrence O’Donnell is as good or perhaps better) but no reporters in any of the media can hold a candle to Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow.org. For years, Amy has been and still is the very best investigative journalist covering all the news with reports directly from the field. Yet most liberal and progressive people I read or speak to always find reasons why they don’t listen to her. (Too left for them? – she puts things in the broad context of the global imperialism of the multinational corporate and financial oligarchy. But that is where objective truth should lead everyone.) You can stream Amy live on line at any time of the day at http://www.democracynow.org. And going back in time to her Archives is a revelation, because you can compare her insightful reporting to what happened afterwards.



  2. Although Rachel Maddow can get “silly” at times, she does her homework. Her analysis is always well researched and spot on. She is a refreshing change from most news commentators that state the positions from both the “right” and “left” and feel they have done their jobs as reporters. I heard Robert Reich state recently that ” the truth is not halfway between right and wrong.” We do ourselves a disservice by over using the terms, “conservative” and “progressive”, as if there are two sets of contradictory but equally valid facts for any given situation. There are no liberal or conservative scientists – science is just science. Bob DeCostanzo

    Editor’s response: Agreed, Rachel Maddow is the most insightful reporter I’ve ever heard. She consistently researches the story and no matter how complex has an ability to dissect it to its essence. One example that comes to mind is her reporting of the Japanese nuclear disaster – while I suspect she is not a proponent of nuclear power, she made sure to debunk (to use one of her favorite expressions) the hysteria and report the facts about the potential consequences as well as how the accident was being handled. Jon Stewart, on the other hand…graduated from the Holier than Thou School of Comedic Journalism and often seeks that ‘safe’ middle ground between right and wrong in the name of truth.


  3. While I agree that Bin Ladin had to go and Obama deserves credit for accomplishing this, I was dismayed to see the flag waving and dancing in the streets that ensued. Most unseemly.Reminded me of my resonse to the U.S. Victoy over the Soviet Union in Olympic hockey in 1960 and 1980. Now that was appropriate. I also felt that Rachel Maddow’s flag waving was way over the top. I’m not sure of how I really feel about. Jon Stewart’ remarks but I find that, with the exception of Chris Matthews, the MSNBC pesonalities are pedantic and overbearing.

    Editor’s response: I agree that the flag-waving gingoistic reaction that erupted shortly after Bin Laden’s death was unfortunate. I don’t agree with your assessment of Rachel Maddow though. I don’t recall her specific comments but think she’s the smartest, most polically astute commentator on television. She has the ability to dissect complex issues and present them with clarity. I guess one man’s pedantic is another man’s progressive political perspective.


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