Bin Laden is dead, but does it really matter?

After twenty-odd hours of blaring announcements, everybody in the TV-watching parts of the world must now know that Osama bin Laden was recently killed by U.S. forces in a "compound deep inside of Pakistan". So, the al-Qaeda leader is dead at the hands of covert U.S. intervention in the mountains of Central Asia. If that sounds a little bit familiar, it's because his political career began thirty years ago with covert U.S. intervention in the mountains of Central Asia. In retrospect, the documentation of the U.S. alliance with fundamentalist Mujahideen "freedom fighters" in Rambo: First Blood Part 3, might make that one of the most regretted pieces of Hollywood propaganda.

In his televised address, Obama spoke for a full nine minutes without making a single joke about murdering people with predator drones, as he did at the White House correspondent's dinner one year ago. More somberly, he assured viewers that the wars will continue, despite the death of their mascot. Ten years into the death and destruction, it's sad but reasonable to guess that the people in the war-torn countries of central Asia may be among the last to hear the news; last November, a poll showed that nearly a decade into the bombardment and occupation of their country, most Afghans didn't even know about the September 11th terrorist attacks which were the pretext for the ongoing war.

There's a bigger political point to make about the decline of the ideology that bin Laden represented: an insurgency based on terrorist acts by small bands of religious fanatics. But the death blow to that model was not the bullet shot through Obama's eye. It was - it is - the waves of of mass protest and revolution sweeping the Muslim-majority countries of North Arica and the Middle East. Obama's nostalgia for the frenzy of post-9/11 patriotic nationalism is somewhat hollow these days as workers from Egypt to Wisconsin are uniting on a deeper basis of solidarity and democracy...

Some perspective on Obama's closing remarks

But that's a longer topic for another day. If we've learned anything during the ten years of "War on Terrorism" and Glenn Beck, it's that sound bytes and pie charts will prevail. So without further ado, here's a quick response to Obama's closing remarks with some pie-charts and bar-graphs putting the patriotic cliches in perspective.

We are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.

That is the story of our history...

...whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people...

...or the struggle for equality for all our citizens...

...our commitment to stand up for our values abroad...

...and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place...

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