Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Two more quick points to make about the killing of Osama bin Laden and the reaction we've seen to it -- and you might say that one comes from the left side of my brain and the other from the right.
Partisanship Over Patriotism
I've really come to the unfortunate conclusion -- and I'm not sure anyone would argue with this anymore -- that there's nothing that could bring the far ends of the political spectrum together in agreement, particularly those on the right. Watching and listening to the reaction of people like Rush Limbaugh (who barely let on just how sickeningly sarcastic he was being in his "congratulation" of President Obama) and Sarah Palin (who didn't mention Obama at all but thanked George W. Bush) to this event, you get the very distinct impression that it would literally take an alien invasion to get the supposedly hyper-patriotic right to discard its partisan pettiness and simply stand behind the leader of the United States as fellow Americans. It's depressing in ways I can't properly describe to believe that were 9/11 to have occurred, say, yesterday, as opposed to ten years ago, many on the right's blind, seething hatred of Barack Obama would countermand any urge to at least temporarily put our differences aside in the name of the greater good. If something really awful happened to this country again, I simply don't think we'd see the kind of unity we saw in the days, weeks and months following September 11th, 2001.
These people believe that, no matter what, they're right and Obama is wrong. That's the irony of all the hypocrisy and all the contradictory statements we've heard from conservatives over the past two years: They're not contradictory at all; there's always been one very steady underlying message, and that's that President Obama is wrong. No matter what -- he's wrong.
Plugging the Leaks
It's astonishing when you think how long U.S. intelligence managed to keep the possible location of Osama bin Laden and the raid that would eventually kill him a secret. Really -- astonishing. And what this does is blow a gaping hole in the argument by the servile sycophants of Wikileaks and Julian Assange that there should be no state secrets whatsoever. Imagine for a moment what would likely have happened were Assange to have somehow gotten word of either the location of Bin Laden's compound or the pending assault on it. Answer: the latter never would have happened and Bin Laden would probably still be on the run right now, just somewhere other than where he was shot dead. I've always been of the opinion that Wikileaks can do some unqualified good, but its very ethos -- its overriding raison d'etre -- involves the exposure of everything. Those who've vehemently defended the site and its founder's ongoing mission seem to also operate under the delusion that if all secrets are exposed, there will be no place to hide and therefore the world will be a safer place. (These same people also tend to believe that any entity that isn't telling you every single thing about it is, by nature of its secrecy, nefarious.) That's a wonderful little pipe dream, but while not everything left in the shadows is evil there are some secrets that can indeed be looked at as weapons: The person who has one puts everyone else at a disadvantage. Unless you can wipe out what everybody's hiding, you're always going to need to be hiding at least a few things yourself, for your own good.
The United States covers up a lot of really awful behavior, it's true. But not all of it is awful; some is absolutely necessary. The raid that killed Osama bin Laden just proved it.