Friday, May 27, 2011


My computer conracted a virus that has proven to be particularly troublesome, so my blog is "under the weather" while I sort this out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


On May 2, less than 24 hours after his death, Osama bin Laden's body was placed on a flat board and eased into the North Arabian Sea. Before being slid overboard the USS Carl Vinson, his body was washed and wrapped in white sheets in a 40-minute long traditional ceremony, while a Muslim officer read prayers for his soul.

While the U.S. military did not try to humiliate bin Laden in death, I struggle with the fact that the choice of how to dispose of his corpse was made by us.

After all, we vilified the Vietnamese government for the better part of two decades because we claimed they did not return all of our fallen to us. Heck, Hollywood made an institution out of it (Uncommon Valor, Rambo, more Missing In Action movies than Planet Of The Apes). If the Vietnamese were bound to return our dead to us, how is it that we did not have the same obligation to return Bin Laden to his family?

Oh, I forgot. The rules do not apply to us.

But we're supposed to better than that.

What's done is done, and I guess if anyone wants to, they could dive for Bin Laden's remains. Quite frankly, if we were going to have our way with the corpse, I might have buried him under a huge spittoon on the new site at Ground Zero. That way, New Yorker's could spit on his grave every day.

But we're supposed to better than that.

There's been a debate on whether or not to release photographic evidence of Bin Laden's demise. It does not seem like a big deal, right? After all, Al Qaeda sends us videos of beheadings. We're only doing what they're doing.

But we're supposed to be better than that.

The President decided Wednesday not to release graphic photographs of Bin Laden's corpse, concluding that making the images of Bin Laden public could incite violence against Americans. President Obama was direct in an interview with CBS, according to a transcript released by the network.

“It is very important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence — as a propaganda tool.”

“That’s not who we are,” Mr. Obama added. “We don’t need to spike the football.”

Or said differently, we're supposed to better than that.

I know there are many skeptics who do not believe that Bin Laden is dead. The decision on whether or not to release these pictures should not have anything to do with them. If Bin Laden were alive, we'd have already seen a video to that effect, and this decision should be based on what is right.

Not quieting the skeptics, and certainly not rubbing the Arab world's nose in this accomplishment.

We're supposed to be better than that.

Or as President Obama said, "That's not who we are."

Mr. President, I've been quick to point out where I disagree with your policies on this blog. I have taken jabs, made jokes (okay, insults) and questioned your policies and motives.

On this matter, you are right. I have no wisecrack, no criticism.

Not only do I agree with your position, but I commend you for taking the high ground.

And maybe for a moment, all of America can be united not only in remembrance of those who have fallen, but that for once, we're acting like we're better than our enemies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


You would have thought the Washington Redskins had just won the Super Bowl.

A bunch of (mostly young) men and women, standing in the street outside the White House on Sunday night, some with faces painted, chanting "we're number one!" in celebration of the demise of Osama Bin Laden.

Or, as Fox News spells it, Usama Bin Laden.

You say Usama, I say Osama…let's call the whole thing off.

Interesting but worthless tidbit alert! Fox seems to be the only news source that uses this particular spelling, but it is also the spelling preferred by United States intelligence agencies. The FBI’s “Most Wanted List,” now updated to reflect bin Laden’s death, has the name spelled “Usama.” The CIA’s website also spells bin Laden’s name with a “U.”

But I digress. On Sunday night, our warrior king made the announcement that Osama/Usama had been killed. What a shock-his poll number climbed! What a coincidence that just when he needed a boost, we managed to find the man who had befuddled us for almost a DECADE!

Sadly, the D.C. throng did not seem to have any time to reflect on the 2,976 who died in the attacks on that dark day in September, 2001, nor the 5,885 Amercians who have died fighting these wars. And who knows how many innocent civillians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

All to kill one man.

This was supposed to be about justice, and closure for the families of the 9/11 victims. It looked like an excuse to get drunk.

I am not sorry Osama/Usama is dead, although I would have rather seen him stand trial. I just thought the celebration seemed inappropriate, especially since the crowd looked to be pretty much made up of people who had absolutely nothing to do with bringing Osama/Usama (Rama Lama Ding Dong Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am) to justice.

The celebrations at West Point and on miliatry bases seemed more appropriate to me. First of all, these are people who have put their lives at risk, and second of all, they were singing the national anthem or "God Bless America."

I'm sorry, but chanting "We're number one" and painting your face seems a little bit disrespectful to those who have fallen.

And are we really number one? Our last few presidents have been very willing to cede control of our armed forces to the UN, so isn't it really the United Nations who are number one?

Is there anything left that America is "number one" at?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wasted no time getting the rhetoric out. She was talking all badass.

"Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have even greater resonance: You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us."

It took almost ten years for us to exact our pound of flesh for 9/11, and there is still enough meat in the conspiracy theory claims to raise serious doubts about whether some highly placed American government employees should have been included in the revenge-taking.

Does Mrs. Clinton really believe the threat of revenge in ten years is a deterrent to someone who is willing to risk their own life today to perpetrate an act of mayhem?

Finally, it seems like the subject of "enhanced interrogation techniques" like waterboarding has come up again.

Does anyone else long for the days when waterboarding was a recreation on the Jersey shore for people too uncoordinated to surf?

In this case, according to Wikipedia, waterboarding is a form of torture (their choice of word) in which water is poured over the face of an immobilized captive, causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning.

But now we want to call it an "enhanced interrogation technique."

As if that makes it all right.

I thought the whole point of our various interventions into the affairs of other nations was to bring them our 'more civilized' way of life.

"They hate us for our freedom," right?

I get that there may be things a law enforcement official does in a crisis that may seem similar to what Kiefer Sutherland does on a typical episode of "24." I'd rather not know about it, and if that means they find the nuclear bomb and Los Angeles doesn't blow up, maybe too many questions should not be asked.

But I am not saying that the end justifies the means. And WE are supposed to have the moral high ground.

A civilized country MUST have a policy of being against torture.

We cannot claim the moral high ground from below moral sea level.

Or, to circle back to my first rant, when I mentioned my disgust with the face-painted chanters, a co-worker commented that our celebrations were no different than the Islamic chants when the twin towers fell all those years ago.

To which I replied:

"Yes, but we're supposed to be better than that."