Thursday, May 5, 2011

When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

A team of highly armed soldiers may have shot Osama bin Laden twice in the head and then dumped his body into the ocean, but to suggest that an assassination took place is irresponsible conspiracy mongering. Similarly, dropping a large bomb on Colonel Gaddafi's son's house in a civilian neighborhood of Tripoli at a time when Gaddafi's was thought to be in said house was not an attempt to assassinate the leader of that country (or, I guess, his infant grandchildren). It was, rather, a legitimate military target. Why? Well, who are you going to trust? An administration spokesman in a handsomely-tailored suit, or some weird Arab? To ask the question is to answer it.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about the United States and its surrogates rampaging about the duskier quarters of the world while leaving a long smear of blood in its wake. From a generous viewpoint such behavior has been standard practice for decades. A more dour outlook would trace the violent elimination of enemy leaders (real or perceived) back quite a bit longer, as any American Indian can tell you.

What is so interesting about the most recent spat of high-profile lifetaking is the cloyingly self-righteous rhetoric of "humanitarianism" in which the Obama administration and its impressively pliable sycophants have draped it. It is not remarkable that the United States (through its pet military alliance) murdered Col. Gadaffi's son -- what is remarkable is that the murder was proudly committed in the name of, for reals, "protecting civilians."

Much is being made now of President Obama's decision not to publish pictures his latest high-profile victim's remains. I'll let the man speak for himself on his decision to refrain from dragging Bin Laden's corpse behind his chariot:
You know, that's not who we are. You know, we don't trot out this stuff as trophies. You know, the fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received.
Leave aside for a moment the description of an extrajudicial execution as "justice." Ignore that the man gloats over his successful hit as he demurs to produce anything so vulgar as a trophy.

To put that quote in context, consider this one -- made quite famous by indignant liberals during the Bush years -- from a "senior White House official":
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
While the arrogance displayed in the latter quote is certainly trashier than that in the former, the same calm certainty that reality is at the mercy of well-managed public perception.

If the right kind of man orders the right kind of murder in the right kind of way, and if everyone who matters believes him, it ceases to be murder.

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