Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Good things and bad things about the death of bin Laden

Good: It happened. Major bad guy removed from scene. Perhaps terrorism as a political strategy will be somewhat undermined. For a while.

Bad: It was an assassination. This is not the ideal way of dealing with political or criminal problems. See above. A commentator here in New York quickly crowed that we will not have to ‘put up with’ seeing OBL face trial. Trying people for their crimes used to be a good thing.

Good: It undercut the Wacko Brigade dominating half the country.

Bad: It resuscitated 9/11 chauvinism, eg, pale 18-year-olds with American flags gathering at Ground Zero, a sign at Yankee Stadium last night (“AMERICA FEARS NO ONE”), other manifestations of infantile chest-thumping.

Good: It relied on patient intelligence work.

Bad: It immediately reawakened defenders of torture who said that’s how they got the information needed. (In fact, there is evidence that torture of detainees actually delayed the process.)

: It removes one of the big excuses for systematically depriving us of our civil protections earned through 500 years of resistance to despotic state power.

Bad: It won’t restore them.

: The main, if not only, reason for pouring half our national treasury into propping up the corrupt Karzai narco-regime in Afghanistan has been eliminated.

Bad: It will continue anyway.

Good: Birthers and other demented wackos will shut up for a while.

Bad: They’ll soon start wanking about something else.

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