Sunday, May 15, 2011

Judgement Day

My alternative headline is: Hysterical She-males Claw the Air.

Judgement Day seems better. The thing is, both are right for this story about the reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden by American government forces. I had to pick one. I did. I live with it.

My choice of headline here is not a deep moral issue, and no ones life is hanging in the balance over it. That doesn't mean that there couldn't be any large number of people going hysterical over my slagging of women and homosexuals and leftards in general in my slippery use of the term "she-males." There is a current of thought that can articulate a cogent argument that I am any number of evil kinds of man for writing that. There is a whole and deep and widespread area of contemporary thought that would condemn me as a fascist, racist, homophobic reactionary killer of brown people because I use the term "she-males." It's a judgement call on their parts, and because they carve up reality for themselves that very way and demand we follow their religious creeds, they can be "right." No argument on my part will make them change their thinking, and I don't care. I'm not arguing. It's a judgement call.

I met a man once who proudly told me he had just been promoted to Western Regional Sales Manager of a widget company in South Bend, Indiana. He told me a bit about his job and his new responsibilities. Frankly, I was baffled. It seemed so complicated I couldn't begin to grasp what he was on about. He didn't go into the details, just the outline. It seemed like a pretty fine job to me. Exciting and remunerative and stylish. I might know all there is to know about running the U.S. government from top to bottom, how to make America the finest nation on earth, how to usher in world peace, and how to halt injustice, but that fellow's job was way beyond my talents. That would be like nearly everyone's job. I haven't got a clue, and it would take me years to work my way into such things to begin to get good enough to make it to the top on anything I might even be good at. But the world economic order? No problem. Seriously, I can do as well as the head of the IMF as the guy arrested for attempted rape in New York City a few days ago. As Kaiser Wilhelm (I think) once said, "Any fool can do this job." Proof? We have Obama as president. Further proof? See below:

"Dhimmitude in Germany: Judge files complaint against Merkel for being glad that OBL is dead."

Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann wants Angela Merkel to shut up and play the dhimmi, as he does. "Judge Files Complaint against Merkel over Bin Laden Comments," from Spiegel, May 6 2011.

A Hamburg judge has filed a criminal complaint against Chancellor Angela Merkel for "endorsing a crime" after she stated she was "glad" that Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces. Meanwhile a new poll reveals that a majority of Germans do not see the terrorist's death as a reason to celebrate.

Schadenfreude, the enjoyment of others' suffering, may be a famously German concept, but it is apparently not a feeling that many Germans aspire to. The political and public fallout following Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement on Monday that she was "glad" Osama bin Laden had been killed was among the most hotly debated topics in the German media this week.

Politicians, including those within her own center-right coalition, said that no death was cause for celebration, and reproved the remark as un-Christian and vengeful.

But Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann went even further. He alleges that the chancellor's statement was nothing short of illegal, and filed a criminal complaint against Merkel midweek, the daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported Friday.

"I am a law-abiding citizen and as a judge, sworn to justice and law," the 54-year-old told the paper, adding that Merkel's words were "tacky and undignified."

In his two-page document, Uthmann, a judge for 21 years, cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the "rewarding and approving" of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a "homicide," Uthmann claimed. The violation is punishable by up to three years' imprisonment or a fine....

If any German court takes this seriously, Germany can be pronounced dead.

It's a judgement call. It's based on what ones associates agree with in general. It doesn't have to be good or bad, it has only to keep all things from falling apart, which is easy enough to do so long as one does very little: the guy in Indiana is going to keep things going no matter what so long as I don't interfere with his job. Making pronouncements about the killing of bin Laden is pretty cheap, like deciding the headline of this blog post.

So long as one stays within the realm of the normative, whatever that might be, one is pretty much safe from all harm. If one has a basket of ideas shared by all others one knows, then so long as one doesn't include anything too strange, there is no foul. I call leftards who carry the same intellectual goods in the same baskets and who admire each others goodies as Conformity Hippies. They share with each other the things they all have, and that's the depth and breadth of it. Amusingly, they call it "daring" and "revolutionary." There's no judgement beyond which clich├ęs to haul out of the basket.

Sam Jones and Owen Bowcott, "Osama bin Laden's death – killed in a raid or assassinated?", Friday 6 May 2011

Osama bin Laden's death prompted celebrations in the US but elsewhere the response has been more sceptical.

    Osama bin Laden - the architect of 9/11 and for ten years the world's most wanted terrorist – is hailed as a martyr in some parts of the world. Photograph: Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images

    Expert commentators Colonel Tim Collins, former Royal Irish Regiment commander and counterinsurgency expert, AC Grayling, professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Glasgow, and Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral give their views on the killing of Osama bin Laden.

    1 Do you have any concerns over how the operation was handled?

    AG I have concerns over the fact that it seems Osama bin Laden was shot out of hand rather than arrested and put on trial. The US and its Nato allies are meant to stand for due process in law and proper legal procedures. For no doubt very justifiable, pragmatic reasons, it was just an assassination.

    TC No. It's achieved its aims so it was a successful mission.

    MS Difficult to know because the story keeps changing.

    GF It looks more and more like an assassination. So yes, it concerns me. They didn't want to see the rule of law being followed and Bin Laden put on trial.

    2 Was Bin Laden a legitimate target for execution?

    AG He was certainly a legitimate target for arrest and trial and I have no doubt that the pragmatists everywhere will say that if he had been put on trial it would have been a focus for terrorism and martyrdom and arrests. From the practical point of view you can understand the motivation but it's very hard to excuse it.

    TC You have the most dangerous man in the world and the expectation that he is unlikely to want to be taken alive. You've a duty of care towards the people you send. They should be in no doubt — and if in doubt — they should take him on, so I think they did the right thing.

    MS He was definitely a legitimate target for capture.

    GF I don't support the death penalty. I'm against it.

    3 Was it legitimate to send US forces into Pakistan without telling its government?

    AG Given the fact that the Pakistani authorities have been very ambiguous in the war against terror, it's pretty obvious that part of their army and certainly part of their intelligence services have been supporting the Taliban and al-Qaida. It makes it very difficult and if the Americans had told the Pakistanis that they were going to go in, they probably would have alerted Bin Laden and he might have got away. From a practical point of view you can understand what happened, but from the international law point of view, of course they should have consulted the Pakistani authorities.

    TC I'm not sure that [no consultation] happened, despite what the Pakistani and US governments say.

    MS I'm sure the US have carried out other operations in Pakistan before without telling the government and the Pakistan government will allow them because they receive such large US funding.

    GF Let's put that under the umbrella of realpolitik.

    4 If he was unarmed, as has been reported, was it wrong for him to have been killed?

    AG Yes, absolutely. In the idea, if we are going to live by our principles, we should do the tough thing — the harder thing — which is to arrest and put on trial. You don't just shoot down an unarmed person — that's what terrorists do and you don't want to emulate them.

    TC I don't think he was killed for the sake of killing, in the same way that [the IRA's] Danny McCann in Gibraltar was shot. With someone who has taken as many innocent lives as Bin Laden and McCann, why wouldn't they take your life when confronted? Caution must be the watchword and unless he had made absolutely clear he was unarmed and did not wish to resist, then the safe thing to do would be to neutralise a target like that and kill him.

    MS For a lot of people revenge would mean death, no matter how. Bin Laden had become de-humanised; yet he had also become more than human – and the US wanted to get rid of that symbol.

    GF If he posed some threat to the people who were trying to arrest him, then I could understand that. If he did not, then it was wrong to shoot him.

    5 Is it acceptable that other people were killed and wounded in the operation?

    AG Only if they were putting up armed resistance and it was a case of self-defence. But it looks like there were women and children involved as well. This is the use of force in response to completely unbridled atrocities by al-Qaida. It just shows you Thucydides's point, which he made over 2,000 years ago, about how our whole moral outlook and behaviour is corrupted if we fight fire with fire and respond in the way that they respond.

    TC There was a 40-minute gunfight with somebody. I think they'll find they can never win. On one hand, they're coming forward with the facts as they find them out and there's criticism that they keep changing the story: well that's what happens in life. On the other hand, if they were to rock back and refuse to discuss anything whilst they fully investigate everything and then come along six months later and say, "Here's what happened", with a definite debrief from everyone, then people will say there's a cover-up, so they can't win.

    MS It's not legitimate that the deaths of innocents should have been caused.

    GF I don't know the full circumstances. [Maybe] if you are going to arrest someone and people fire back and you are in the middle of a war…

    6 Should greater efforts have been made to take him alive?

    AC Efforts should have been made to take him alive in order for a due process of law to be engaged in.

    TC If the world's been looking for the geezer for nine years and 265 days and they find him, parting his hair to the left isn't an option. What you've got to be able to do is hope that you actually encounter him and be prepared when you encounter him — him being the most dangerous man in the world — to protect yourself. And I think that's the best you can hope for. Why didn't they wing him like they do in the Hollywood movies? Because that's fantasy.

    MS We should have taken him alive and put him on trial. The desire to kill him is being seen as synonymous with the end of a problem. It's not; it's just another death.

    GF It doesn't look like they made any effort to take him alive. They should have.

    7 Would it have been preferable to capture him and put him on trial?

    AG It would have been preferable to do that — not because it would have been easier and not because it would have saved other lives in future — but because in the ideal, if we were to live up to the principles of our civilisation (or the ones we claim, anyway) it would have been the right thing to do. But practicality makes very, very different demands.

    TC I don't think that was a consideration. Had he been captured, I think we would have had a whole series of issues about jurisdiction and where he would have been tried and by whom. It would have been very complicated. Now that he's dead, it's much less complicated. But ultimately, there was intelligence which could have been gleaned from that. The fact of the matter is it's probably neater that he wasn't captured but the right thing probably would have been to capture him.

    MS It would have been difficult to give him a fair trial. I'm not saying he wouldn't have been guilty. But two of the pillars on which the west stands are freedom and justice – this action diminishes that status.

    GF He was a war criminal and should have been put on trial. People are dying in that part of the world to establish the rule of law and human rights. Going in and shooting him undermines the whole of that purpose. A lot of people are using 'justice' as a euphemism for 'revenge'. It's absolutely wrong.

I'm guessing that not one of the people in the piece above could make a living at selling widgets as well as the widget salesman I met. They don't know the lines and they don't care to learn. These people are geniuses. I have to wonder. To me they seem like parodies of people, fools pretending to be what they have no hope of ever really being. If all things are "social constructs," then people can construct any phantasies they like and call it reality. But can they sell widgets in Peoria?

1 comment:

CGW said...

I enthusiastically rejoice in his death, and especially in the manner and execution.

And I want to see the pictures. I'd love to see the helmet-cam video of the kill shot.