Goldstein is Dead, Long Live Oceania
(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. - President Barack Obama, May 1, 2011
I can just hear it all now.
Republicans, who freebase war like crack addicts, will express skepticism at bin Laden’s death because, well, a black man can’t succeed where his white Republican predecessor did his damnedest to fail for eight years.
Democrats, equally bought and sold by the military-industrial complex, will rally around the president as if he was the one who’d personally shot Osama bin Laden in the left eye and turn this into a mantra as to why we should re-elect their man. But we must stay the course in Afghanistan because the fight is not yet over, comrades.
Conservative bloggers will sneer that it took Obama all this time to kill OBL without once mentioning that Bush could’ve taken him out many years ago when French snipers had bin Laden in their sights not once but twice and that Bush told them to back off or that we hustled dozens of members of the bin Laden family out the US two days after 9/11 despite the FAA’s moratorium and not allowing the FBI to interview a single one of them.
Teabaggers, who are even more woefully deficient in international affairs than they are on domestic issues, will simply mutter or say nothing.
Islamic radicals, terrorists and wouldbe terrorists will jockey for position in the alleged power vacuum and renew the fight against imperialist American forces and their sympathizers in an attempt to turn bin Laden into a martyr.
Rank and file Americans who still feel it their duty to accept as gospel everything the government tells them will have OBL Day in Times Square, sailors kissing nurses and chanting “Fuck yeah, USA!” at Ground Zero.
And liberals, progressives and other free-thinkers will express skepticism that not only was bin Laden’s body conveniently buried at sea and that not one photograph exists of his bullet-riddled corpse, but that this brazenly disingenuous administration that has done nothing but lie to us and flipflop practically from Day One is essentially telling us, once again, to Trust us.
My personal thoughts on the subject? I do not know if al Qaida’s leader is dead nor do I care because it simply doesn’t matter. It goes without saying that the world is a better place without Osama bin Laden but that would be to also suggest that the world would be an even better place without a United States that creates monsters the rest of the world has to slay. Osama bin Laden, as stated here earlier, is the ultimate blowback, a perennially unlearned object lesson delineating what happens when we rashly choose, train and finance allies based not on common, noble interests but simply on having common enemies.
As a figurehead and proxy that took on the Soviets in Afghanistan, bin Laden and his mujahedin served their purpose. It was still and always will be Charlie Wilson’s War but even those of who’d seen the Tom Hanks movie still give the Afghan freedom fighters and the rich scion of a Saudi construction empire who’d led them credit for kicking out the hated Communists. As it was, it’s a miracle we didn’t try to make bin Laden another TE Lawrence, Lawrence of Afghanistan, firing Stinger missiles at our common enemy so we couldn’t be officially accused of reckless adventurism abroad.
And now we’re supposed to be relieved and overjoyed at our President grimly telling us last night that Osama bin Laden, the scourge of American imperialist and corporate interests, is dead. We’re supposed to do our duty and assume that, just because the American government and our president tell us something, it must be so. And we’re not supposed to be mindful of the irony that bin Laden, once our excuse for covert involvement in Afghanistan, is still and will continue to be our excuse for our overt involvement in Afghanistan.
Just remember how truthful and sincere Colin Powell sounded during his presentation as to why we should go to war with Iraq before the UN Security Council in February 2003. Just remember how very truthful and sincere Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz and all those other very serious and powerful people seemed when they gravely intoned veiled and not-so-veiled threats about smoking guns and mushroom clouds as they stole our civil liberties from us by the handful.
They’re civil liberties that still have not been given back to us nor should we persist in believing that disingenuousness and fear-mongering are purely Republican traits. The only difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration is that the latter finally got around to making bin Laden irrelevant, ergo expendable.
Goldstein’s usefulness to Big Brother was most invaluable as a symbol, a fabrication designed to stir up not only Oceanic patriotism but to stoke fear in the proletariat and party members by more than tickling our innate and inherent anti-Semitic fears and prejudices. Orwell’s naïveté was in assuming that Big Brother and the government of Oceania would never need another symbol like Goldstein.
But the United States has proven very adept at creating not only enemies but symbols who are killed and rekilled and yet live to fight another day. The most common chestnut is, of course, Hitler, whose death was also supposed to be taken on faith despite there having been absolutely no photographic or forensic evidence whatsoever to quantify his death and giving rise to decades of outlandish conspiracy theories and hopes through Nazi and neo-Nazi circles that Der Fuhrer still lived in one way or another.
The biggest mistake the Obama administration ever made in this matter was in not taking pictures and shooting videos that would’ve conclusively proved that bin Laden is dead. The rationale for this is clear and betrays more cowardice on the part of the Obama administration, the same cowardice that led Obama to turn tail and not release the torture photos and videos: It would incur the wrath of al Qaida, a terrorist network we’re hardly closer to closing down than we were when they supposedly brought down the twin towers nearly a decade ago.
And, as stated, it doesn’t matter if bin Laden is dead or not. There will be other bin Ladens, other Goldsteins, other Hitlers we can manufacture to rally the masses around the next guy who’s momentarily put in charge by the military-industrial complex, the petroleum cartels and the Bilderberg Group. Hell, in 1988 Noriega practically ran on the same ticket as HW Bush.
Because whatever political party’s in charge, there will be other blowbacks, other figureheads, other symbols that we can use to one advantage or another for one purpose or another in a neverending dance of death and destruction in which bad guys are the good guys then are unmasked as bad guys and only the victims, the poor and powerless, remain the same
And whether or not you want to believe that Osama bin Laden’s dead, don’t be too overjoyed or rather, be overjoyed. Eat, drink and be merry and enjoy the euphoria while it lasts. Because if you think this means we’ll be getting our troops out of Afghanistan anytime soon, think again. Afghanistan is the new Vietnam, the new South Korea, a slog of a war having nothing to do with al Qaida, one that has long since lost that new war smell and has been tucked away in the backs of our minds as a dim hum.
Because out of all the factions listed above, the only one whose opinions matter, the ones that will continue shaping policies is the faction that says, “But we must stay the course in Afghanistan because the fight is not yet over, comrades.”