One of the reasons for my recalling the last post which had been sitting in my drafts folder all this time, is the big news that is sure to be dominating the news in the US… the termination of one big O by another big O. And while I think this news brings closure to many, even if we did not personally lose any loved ones on that fateful day the twin towers went down, and even applaud the acheivement, I am once again less than impressed with the American reaction.

So am I being a knee-jerk self-hating American in my reaction? A terrorism or Islamic apologist? Critical for the sake of being critical? None of the above. For my own sake, I’ll try to clarify why I’m reacting negatively to what is essentially a positive outcome. It has to do with what I consider the complete loss of perspective inherent in these successes and the need for self-criticism and housekeeping rather than the unbridled self-righteousness that I’ve been seeing in the aftermath.

My reaction goes back to what I consider the American tunnel-vision regarding itself and its position in the world. So yes, Osama needed capturing or killing. 9/11 was an act of utter horror and I certainly do not buy into the various conspiracy theories afloat about it being masterminded from the inside in order to raise anti-Muslim sentiments in the world. (That is absurd, and the idea very self-referential. That is, only someone who would actually consider such an extremely deranged act could even think that someone else would use such a tactic. Fundamentalists, extremists and those of similar ilk).

That said though, I would have hoped that the Americans would realize and admit their grave errors in dealing with this problem over the past decade. Instead of course the mood is egregiously self-congratulatory. That editorial in New York Times by .. who was it now.. oh yes, Maureen Dowd… about the need for revenge? Please!!  The guy is dead! Beyond our reach. Nothing we do can hurt him anymore. Get over it. Besides, he is just one man. Even worse than her column though, much worse, was the implied justification for torture. Excuse me? Precisely what information did we get about Osama via torture?

Meanwhile mistakes, costly to human lives, are being ignored or glossed over. My main point of contention for instance, the Iraq War. How in the name of anything logical does Osama’s capture justify our invasion of Iraq, wreaking terror in the region in name of the war or terror?  No wait .. that was the initial excuse.. then it shifted to WOMD and then to bringing democracy! to the region. Arrrghgh. Elsewhere of course, we continued to support the regime in Pakistan (forget about the right to democracy of the people there or their WOMD because heck we finance that and besides, without it India would be a larger threat to our identity as the arbitrators of democracy in the world!!!!) and only worked on covert operations there, even though  there was so much more evidence for Al Qaeda and religious extremism in that part of the world. But why go after the the Oklahoma bomber close to home when you can destroy Washington State on some flimsy excuse. (That comparison is just to give a sense of the geographic absurdity of the Iraq War).

Somebody (many bodies actually) were comparing this to the death of Saddam. Something I find offensive. At least Osama was a clean kill.  I was no fan of Saddam’s, but the second-hand way in which his execution was engineered and then attributed to the will of the locals still makes me cringe and leaves me feeling unbearably dirty in a I-need-to-wash-my-hands sort of way .

I am aware that this rant is disjointed and rambling – I am reminded of Donna Leon’s description of her protagonist’s wife as a woman of leftist but chaotic politics –  but I hope my main point is somewhat clear. War is always horrific. And even in incidents with decisive outcomes like bin-Laden’s death, there are no winners. Everyone loses something.