Zero Dark Thirty: Osama’s Bin Laughing
As we approach Oscar Sunday, one of the biggest discussions has been whether the 5 Academy Award nominated film, ‘ Zero Dark Thirty’, about the pursuit and killing of Osama Bin Laden, condones torture as an effective and justifiable means of criminal justice. What hasn’t been discussed is whether, dead or alive, guilty or not guilty, Osama Bin Laden achieved his goal of crippling America. The fact that the American government and most of its citizens feel that torturing suspects, unaccountable spying and electronic surveillance on its own citizens, remote control drone assassinations, domestic drone use( Yes, Virginia, they’re here!),and the creation of a bloated, wasteful, ineffective and unaccountable security state ( as well as near-Depression level poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, long-term unemployment, and lack of health insurance for tens of millions) is an acceptable trade-off for ‘safety‘ from ‘terrorism‘ is sad. Yes, there are other causes to the Great mini-Depression we are living in, but the link between the September 11th, 2001 attacks and economic collapse are rarely brought up. Those attacks so psychologically-scarred Americans that they were and still are willing to accept governmental actions and policies, and living conditions that they would have never stood for before. After 9/11, George W. Bush told us to “Go shopping!”, to ostensibly show the terrorists that they can’t change us, our values, and the American way of life. So, like obedient children, we did as Poppa Bush told us and whipped out our credit cards or HELOCs and went out on debt-financed spending sprees, buying dream homes, cars, foreign-made iPhones, iPads, and gigantic flat-screen TVs for every room in our gigantic houses. As well as two “We’ll show them ragheads what happens when they fuck with us! ” wars and a couple of huge tax cuts to top it off. All on borrowed money. And borrowed time.
So, when everything crapped out economically in 2008 we shouldn’t have been surprised, because as any grade-schooler could see, the math didn’t add up. It is true that a lot of the policies and decisions that have brought us to this point started well before 9/11/2001, but Bin Laden and his buddies put the final card on the top of the house that day. If we had leadership after the attacks that saw those events as an opportunity to create long-term economic and social security, energy independence, and a more peaceful nation and world, rather than as an excuse to get even, get more power, and get more money for the already wealthy, then we probably wouldn’t be in such a sorry state. So, whether ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ wins a bunch of Oscars on award night or not, the biggest winner of the night, and the last decade may just be laughing at the bottom of the ocean.
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