The Arab street erupts in atavistic displays when Americans or Israelis are eliminated. The American street is not that different.
Our adversaries hand out sweets when we die; we pass the beer when one of theirs shuffles off his mortal coil. They dance the Debka (an Arabic traditional dance) and ululate at our misery; we bump and grind lasciviously when they lose.
This is who we are – which is why President Barack Obama sounded so phony when he intoned: “That is not who we are. We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies.” The president was alluding to images of Osama bin Laden’s shattered skull. Obama had the fortitude to instruct the elite SEAL Team 6 to shoot Osama on-sight but has, ever since, been feigning daintiness about releasing the images.
According to Al-Jazeera, a Pakistani security officer is rumored to have snapped shots of three others who were killed during the raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout. The pictures have been purchased by Reuters and published. They show surfaces slick with blood. No weapons are evident.
Tellingly, Barack Obama gave a measure of presidential protection, in 2009, to some of the sadistic and slutty servicemen and women toiling in the porn theaters of Iraq. As Reuters divulged, “at least one picture showed an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.”
And who can forget the pornographic pictorials to surface, in 2004, from the Abu Ghraib prison, starring the 800th Military Police Brigade and their Iraqi sex slaves?
The generic G.I. Joe and G.I. ho soon surfaced in Afghanistan, too. For weeks, “The Kill Team,” a group of American infantrymen serving in Afghanistan, had been baying for blood. As Rolling Stone magazine reported, in March of this year, the “Bravo Company” had been brooding over “the ethics of bagging ‘savages’ and had debated the probability of getting caught,” before they went hunting in “an isolated farming village,” in Kandahar Province. Try as the Pentagon did, the handiwork of the men from the “Bravo Company” has survived for posterity.
Decapitation, desecration, mutilation: Click through this gallery of the grotesque to view these made-in-America, stylized murders.
“The images – more than 150 of which had been obtained by Rolling Stone – portray a front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing innocent civilians is seen as a cause for celebration. ‘Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people,’ one of the soldiers told Army investigators. ‘Everyone would say they’re savages.’”
In striving to control and transform alien, Islamic societies, U.S. statecraft goes against its own countrymen’s instincts and interests. As deracinated and divided as our own society indubitably is, it is still united through the force and manufactured consensus of a highly centralized state. Not so the countries with which we meddle. Kin, clan and the Quran are what unite them. The locals, understandably, hate us for untethering them from what sustains them. And boy, do we hate them back. That, too, is only natural.
Take the Pashtun people we patronize in rural Afghanistan. They happen to disdain the central government we strive to strengthen. The same antagonism exists between the authoritarian protectorate we’ve established in Pakistan and its people.
In 2003, the U.S. placed a bounty on the heads of Uday and Qusay, sons of Saddam Hussein. When the inevitable tip came in, the occupying force converged on the villa in which the two lived with their families, and shot the place up. The men resisted. The victors arranged a gothic display of the bodies of the vanquished.
That’s who we are, Mr. President.
A few of us still remember Abeer Qasim Hamza. The Iraqi girl had a mop of hair, a delicate face and big black eyes. She was only 14 when she died at the hands of the American soldiers who lusted after her. After careful planning, the servicemen murdered her parents and 5-year-old sister, and took turns with Abeer. When they were through with her, our military men summarily executed her with a shot to the head.
Rest in peace, Abeer. Her fate and the fate of others like her is a consequence of who we are.
There is reason to believe that many of the students who streamed into the streets of the capital and gathered at Ground Zero in New York to rejoice over the kill may not have known who Osama bin Laden was. The average young American, after all, has never read a book, if he can help it. (Did you know that 47 percent of Detroiters are “functionally illiterate”?)
This, too, is an aspect of who we are.
“Who is Osama bin Laden and why should I care?” “Is Osama bin Laden famous? Am I the only one who doesn’t know who he is?” Such tweets were quite common among American teens, observed the British Daily Mail.
By the estimate of Yahoo! Search Trends, “teens ages 13-17 … made up 66 percent of searches for ‘who is osama bin laden?’”
“The figures give a revealing insight into the lack of current affairs and general knowledge among teenagers,” quipped the Daily Mail’s correspondent.
The twits were indeed atwitter:
Tara: I’m probably retarded for asking this, but who is Osama and why is it good that he died? â€¨Cory: Who is Osama and why is it important we killed him? â€¨Shawn: who is Osama bin Laden? Is he in the band as well?
Reptilian brains like these took their spring-break behavior to the streets when the news about bin Laden’s demise broke. They, too, are who we are.
Why not own our atavism? There will always be a marginalized, underbelly of genius and ingenuity in America. But for the rest, we have morphed into a militant, mindless people.
In 2001, I wrote of putting “precision pac men – special-ops soldiers –” to good use in capturing the man who confessed to 9/11. Instead, America sent lumbering, standing armies after bin Laden.
In its clodhopper’s traipse around the world, our military has caused the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, squandered trillions of our debased dollars, destroyed at least two countries and crippled the American economy. Had the “Pac Men Of The Universe” undertaken and achieved a precision operation after 9/11, it would be worth celebrating. But not now.
Conga lines of jubilant Americans must, by sad necessity, give way to welfare lines. If recent news reports are to be believed, one in seven Americans stands in line for food stamps from the government.
That is now the alpha and omega of American life.