There, it didn’t take long, did it? You might think that any leader who rid the world of a goat-fucking vermin like Osama bin Laden would garner at least a modicum of respect from just about anyone. But you’d be vastly underestimating the infinite capacity of right-wing extremists for hatred, bitter partisanship, self-delusion. and (more to the point for our purposes) distortion and spin.
A Bit of Nostalgia
Ah, for the good old days of the decade past, when Obama’s illustrious predecessor was in office. Granted, he was far more divisive – not to mention that he permanently pissed off a lot of people by how he got into office in the first place. But after 9-11, that was all swept aside, and Americans of all convictions queued up behind him. He achieved an approval rating of 90%, the highest of any president ever – even though about 50% didn’t even consider him a legitimate president. And those in the media fell all over themselves to lick his boots . Dan Rather (soon to be branded as part of the vast librulmedia conspiracy out to destroy him), declared “wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where”.
Never mind that he’d ignored explicit warnings about terrorists plotting to attack high profile buildings with hijacked planes. Never mind that while the nation was under attack, he dallied at photo ops in Florida for at least 25 minutes (not merely 7) without lifting a finger. Never mind that his eventual response was to invade a nation ruled by one of bin Laden’s ENEMIES. Never mind that he expended several years, and trillions of dollars and thousands of military lives and well over 100,000 civilian lives looking for al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq because, as Donald Rumsfeld explained, it had good targets. (Sort of like looking in the bathroom for keys you left in the garage because the light is better in the bathroom.) Never mind that he changed his story at least 30 times about his reasons for invading Iraq. Never mind that his administration lied over 230 times about the undertaking. Never mind that he continued to enjoy cozy relations with Saudi Arabia, a brutal dictatorship that supplied 15 of the 19 hijackers. He was Our Leader, by god, and it was un-Amurrcan to criticize him. The media frequently referred to those who supported his “war on terror” as “pro-troop”, suggesting that those who disapproved were “anti-troop” (as well as anti-American and pro-terrorist, of course).
And when Saddam Hussein was captured, The Leader was awarded a fresh round of accolades. Anyone who dared question Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld policy on any particular at all was guilty of wishing that Saddam was still at large.
History Fails to Repeat
But that was then and this is now. And with the Rodney Dangerfield president in office, no good deed goes unslimed. This latest accomplishment by the president was viewed by those suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome as just another opportunity to engage in the most vicious, fruity, childish attacks imaginable.
In fairness, it wasn’t entirely unanimous. I was shocked to see that one of the most entertaining Obama attack websites, one that normally features only the most vile distortions of absolutely everything the man says or does, actually suffered a relapse and, for one day, sang his praises. Sure, the praise was tempered with the observation that he’d “finally” kept a campaign promise, and the obligatory reference to his supporters as “moonbats”. Even so, it was a miracle of miracles.
But that was, to say the least, the exception rather than the rule among the ideologues. There was no grace period out of respect for the troops or other Americans, much less the president. It was just hate, hate, hate and smear, smear, smear from the word go. You would have thought that Obama was responsible for bin Laden’s birth rather than his death.
What They Said
They said that he didn’t look jubilant enough when he made the announcement – evidently he should have turned cartwheels or something. One prominent leader of the Tea Party even insisted that he looked angry because he really didn’t want bin Laden caught.
They said that he was arrogant for pointing out that he was the one who gave the order to launch the raid. Maybe he should have said “an anonymous darkie who deserves no recognition whatsoever”.
They said that he really had nothing to do with the mission at all, and the military went behind his back to act on its own. (Never mind that the military itself tells a very different story, and that such a thing would in fact be very much against military guidelines.)
They said that it was really George W. Bush who nabbed the bad guy. Which perhaps is only fair, since they’ve been blaming Obama for all the damages Bush wrought. (TWO DAYS after Obama was elected, and two months before he even took office, Rush Limbaugh proclaimed that the nation was in the midst of the “Obama recession”. Several months after he was in office, when the economy began to perk up, Limbaugh called it the “Bush recovery”. You just can’t make up this kind of stuff.) Never mind that Bush said several times that he wasn’t even concerned about bin Laden, and back up his words by never talking about him, and by closing down the operation in charge of tracking him down.
They said that it was Bush’s torture of terror suspects that led to bin Laden. (Follow the bounding ball, kiddies: Bush didn’t torture. But he’d do it again. Waterboarding is no big deal. But it extracts priceless information out of hardened terrorists. Take notes if you can’t keep up.) Whereupon Sen. John McCain, who during the previous administration would have needed a crowbar to pry his nose out of Bush’s anus (and so, naturally, packaged himself as a “maverick”), nonetheless spoke up and said that it was nonsense to think that torture could lead to that kind of intelligence. But hey, what would a former P.O.W. know about torture or interrogation? Not a thing, according to fellow Republicans who were outraged by the possibility that such an otherwise loyal comrade might not be totally consumed with contempt for the current president.
They said that Obama (though he didn’t really do anything) did it just to get re-elected. Never mind that the election was still 18 months away and the American public has shown repeatedly that it has the memory span of a gnat.
They said that bin Laden isn’t really dead. (Where’s the long form death certificate?)
They said that bin Ladn’s really been dead for years, and has been kept on ice all this time. (Wasn’t it nice of the Bush administration and al Qaeda to go along with the scheme in order to give Obama a boost in the polls?)
They said that it was inexcusable to delay for 18 hours before giving the go-ahead for the mission. (18 whole hours! A real man would have first spent years looking for the villain in the wrong country.) And they declared it a “double standard” by the media for not tearing into him over that (which in fact they did) after criticizing Bush for dallying “seven” minutes (which in fact they totally ignored until Michael Moore threw it in their faces – double standard indeed). Never mind that there was only about a 50-50 chance that bin Laden was actually inside the compound. We all know that biting your nails over a precarious surgical strike to nab a terrorist mastermind while trying to avoid civilian casualties is exactly the same as kicking back in a classroom while people plunge to their deaths from burning skyscrapers.
They said that it was hypocritical/ ironic that this raid was ordered by a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I mean, here’s a man who claims to be working toward world peace, and yet he eliminates a cold-blooded mass murderer who’s a major threat to world peace. Go figure.
They said he killed an unarmed man, poor thing. (Even Michael Moore called it an “execution”.)
They said it was kowtowing to Islamic fundamentalist radicals and/or being too secretive to bury the body at sea. It should have been dragged around in the streets by horses first – that’d show ’em that we’re more civilized than they are!
And so on. And on and on and on and on.
Inevitably, as details of this mission surface, there will be questions. And some of the questions might not have the best of all possible answers. It’s war, pal. But these people didn’t wait for the details, the questions or the answers. They just immediately followed their usual tack of believing the worst about Barack H. Obama until proven wrong – and then continuing to believe the worst.
You can’t help but suspect that this is a manifestation of the so-called “black tax” – the social stigma whereby a black man must do twice as much as a white man in order to receive half the credit, or some such. By that reckoning, the president only needs to kill Osama three more times. No, wait – he’s only half black. So maybe once more will do.
Hey, if he faked it once, he can do it again. And were he anyone else but Barack H. Obama, he just might get away with it, given the demonstrated level of public suggestibility.