Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How Obama's claims about killing Bin Laden cheapens Sept 11.

May 2 is the one year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden having been killed by Navy Seals. And predictably Barrack Obama and his re-election campaign, now in full swing, are using the anniversary to milk the event and try and take as much credit as possible for his own political purposes.

 Having lived in New York on Sept 11,2001 and having seen and experienced the aftermath in the weeks and months that followed, having seen first hand a city so stunned by what happened that for at least four months, probably into February of 2002, no matter where I went in Manhattan I did not hear the sound of one car blowing it's horn at another and could not walk past a single firehouse or police station that didn't have its entrance draped in black bunting, Obama's speech last year in announcing Bin Laden's killing by Navy Seals left a bad taste for his lack of understanding of the true imapact of the September 11 attacks. His current political exploitation of it on the anniversary of Bin Laden's killing makes it worse. And has reminded me of why.

I may be in the minority but when Obama announced Bin Laden's killing by claiming  "justice has been done", it made me recoil. And it made me angry. It showed a real hollowness, the sensibility of someone who never really grasped September 11 and so resorted to political cliches that had no relation to reality.

Killing Bin Laden was not justice. It wasn't even remotely close to justice.  Killing a thousand Bin Ladens would not have equaled the loss of the life of even one person  killed on September 11. A thousand Bin Ladens, much less one, would not be justice for the life of even one of the 343 firefighters and police officers who were killed that day trying to rescue people. To put that number in perspective, the number of firefighters and police officers alone who were killed in New York on September 11 were more than twice the number of people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Trying to equate killing Bin Laden with "justice" for September 11 was empty political rhetoric, political opportunism, and Obama trying to take credit for something for which no credit was deserved.And it showed by Obama's complete lack of understanding of what Bin Laden's killing really was.  Bin Laden's killing wasn't justice. But it may have been the next best thing. Which is vengeance.

Had Obama called it vengeance, which is what it was, it probably would have felt a bit more satisfying . And would have put Bin Laden's killing in its true perspective. Calling it justice was an insult to everyone in New York who experienced that day and every American affected by it.

Obama's re-election campaign is now trying to use the anniversary of Bin Laden's killing again for political purposes. They are trying to paint Obama as a president of courage for giving the mission to kill Bin Laden the green light.

There was nothing courageous about sitting in the White House and ordering brave men to risk their lives to carry out the vengeance against Bin Laden that was necessary and that any citizen, much less president, at any time anywhere would have done. In fact if Obama hadn't given the go ahead when the opportunity to kill Bin Laden presented itself,  it probably would have destroyed him politically. And he knew it.

There's been  no justice either regarding George W. Bush and Sept.11 and Obama's misuse of the term is another reminder of that too. Bush had been repeatedly warned in August of 2001 by both Richard Clarke and George Tenant of CIA,   that intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter indicated the U.S. was about to hit with a major terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda, an attack that in the words of one CIA memo, was going to be "spectacular". The intercepts also showed the attack was " imminent" and Bush was told on August 4, 2001 in a Presidential Daily Briefing that the Al-Qaeda attack against the United States was going to involve the hijacking of US airliners. Bush and Rice did nothing. Not even an order to the FAA to issue a directive to airlines and airports to be aware of a possible attempt at hijacking by middle eastern men. They did nothing not because of some preposterous conspiracy to let it happen,  but because Republican ideology dismissed terrorism as a real threat as Richard Clarke testified during the 911 Commission hearings. And so the warnings were ignored. September 11 was the result.

Justice has not been done with regards to September 11. Vengeance against Bin Laden,yes  which might have to suffice, but not justice.  And calling it justice for political purposes, then or now,  cheapens the events of September 11, the people who lived through it, and the people who didn't. So if Obama's claim that "justice has been done" leaves you feeling slightly hollow , if it doesnt make you feel as giddy as you think you're supposed to feel,  at least now you know why.


Anonymous said...

Marc, I'm so sorry about what you, all New Yorkers, and their friends and relatives had to go through that day - all are victims. Ignore Obama - he has no ability to feel compassion.

A Chicagoan who is embarrassed Obama calls my area home.

Anonymous said...

"Justice" is not having a military squad kill somebody and dump his body in the ocean. Even the top nazis were tried in court. Like Saddam and Kaddafi, this was an assassination.