Sunday, May 01, 2011
Can we declare victory and bring the troops home now?
I'm too ignorant to speak of the long-term consequences of his death (if it really happened) on the Global War on Terror. But I do think that smart terrorists who really wanted to cripple the United States would not have so much invested in one leader. What I wanted to draw attention to was the parts of Obama's speech that put forth various nationalist myths, especially that one line about unity and indivisibility. In another part he talked about community -- as if the living arrangements for many of us really embody that. These are the lies we are told and that we tell ourselves to make us feel better, even though we sometimes recognize that all is not right with our country and our way of life. And then there was the conclusion -- citing the killing of Osama Bin Laden as an example of American can do-ism, which is not due to wealth or power, but to our being American. What the hell does that really mean?
Inflated American pride? Some form of American exceptionalism? What exactly makes us American? Belief in the proposition nation -- but this isn't enough if it is going to give any substance to Obama's claims about our abilities. What sort of character do Americans really have?
No, we were able to get Osama (if we really did so) because we could violate another country's sovereignty at will and borrow money from others to finance our war-making. Let's be clear about that. If we didn't have our power and status, we wouldn't be able to do any of this, and who could describe the use of that power and status as being just, whether in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Iraq? Only someone adhering to the Washington Rules, like President Obama.
A reaction to the news at Fabius Maximus.