The Monster is Dead



No doubt you all saw the pictures/videos of the crowds of thousands of people outside the White House and in Times Square– waving American Flags (now there’s a sadly-used and almost used-up piece of cloth); laughing and shouting “USA!” “USA!” –As if the War in Afghanistan is nothing but an international football game and we just took out the quarterback of the opposing team.

I’m guessing most of these “Americans” were young, drunk or high?and probably tourists. Indeed, one woman who was interviewed in Times Square said she was visiting from Minnesota. I doubt she’d be as witless and superficial, at least in public, if she was back home in St. Paul. People often act like fools when they are in a foreign place, don’t know or respect the customs of the place they’re visiting and nobody from home can see them.

I remember when I was Junior in college, one of my Aunts who had some money, took me on a two-week tour of Portugal and Spain. It was generally Dentists, small businessmen and their wives, mostly from the “Heartland”.
Typical behavior… We?d would stop for lunch in some ancient Spanish town (later we?d be taken to see the mediaeval church or local castle).
My bus-mates, the males naturally, thought it would be a cool idea to toss oranges at each other in the Town Square.
You can see it, right? Old Spanish men with lined, leathery faces, sitting at tables in the cafe; old women, dressed in black, almost thread-bare dresses, buying bread in the local bakery? All quietly watching these idiot Americans, overweight and overbearing, throwing oranges at each other and shouting, “He shoots, he scores!”

The recent crowds of TV-addled football-brained tourists in front of the White House and in Times Square reminded me of nothing so much as the crowds of people in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, jumping up and down and cheering when they saw the videos of the Towers coming down on 9-11.
Back then, these crowds were denounced were as bloodthirsty heathens by all “right-thinking Americans”. No matter how ghoulish it seemed at the time, I think there was more justification to the extreme feelings expressed in parts of the Middle East that day than there was to the drunken frat-boy antics displayed after the President?s news on Sunday night; ignorant flag-wavers whipped into a Super-bowl frenzy by media-manufactured patriotism.

A man called my radio show on Monday and said he was ?glad? they killed Bin Laden. Well, that?s something to ponder…
I think a lot of New Yorkers, especially those who escaped the Towers that day, the first responders who survived, AND, of course, people who lost a friend or relative in the attack are the ones who are entitled (if anybody is) to feel exultation or to be happy Bin Laden is dead.

Most New Yorkers were in shock and in a constant state of fear for weeks and months after 9/11. There was that horrible, acrid smell in the air from the Towers; a mixture of burning plastic and paper, steel and concrete, human blood, flesh and bone? And the awful dust and ash that settled on everything for a mile around the crashed Towers…
To this day, there is a subliminal anxiety that we all carry around in this city?especially when we?re in an enclosed space like the subway or in a large office building. Of course, that feeling is back in our consciousness now that we hear about Bin Laden?s killing, and worry about the violent reactions it might provoke.

I lost some important things that day and in the weeks and months that followed… But since these things, no matter how important and life-changing they were for me, were not the actual lives of loved ones, there?s no need to detail them.
Am I glad or happy that the man is dead? No, I am not. My feeling is more a shuddering revival of the fear, shock and sadness of that day.

Can you be actually experience real happiness that another human being is dead? Maybe if you were abused?treated unspeakably by someone close to you; if you were betrayed, hurt (physically or mentally, or both), robbed of everything you held dear; treated like a slave or a beast of burden by someone else or another group of people?Dictators, Invaders, an occupying army? Maybe then.

Bin Laden was executed. Maybe that was Justice. Maybe it was vengeance. Are they the same thing?
He was a mass-murderer who planned the deaths of people–most of them innocent and some not so innocent?in various parts of the world; a man responsible for deaths of thousands of people. It would have been better to capture him, put him on trial (just as they should put the Guantanamo prisoners on trial) but I’m sure he had no intention of being taken alive. And maybe the squad sent to get him had strict orders to murder him, so even if he wanted to surrender, that was never going to happen.

People say “Justice” was done. Kill and be killed. An eye for an eye. But was this execution, viewed live by the crowd at the White House, really Justice?
It looks a lot more like vengeance?getting even, settling a personal score. I could understand that completely if he murdered my wife or my kids, but can a country act personally? Can a country carry out an act of vengeance?
And if it does, where does that leave us all? It leaves us in nightmare carnival of circular and repetitive retribution, till there?s no one left to pull another trigger.

A man, someone I never knew personally; who lived in a house twelve thousand miles away, was shot dead by men who I also never met?And these men were sent there by people with whom I have no personal relationship.
Maybe you’ve seen that photo of our “leaders” in the White House watching Bin Laden shot dead on closed-circuit television. The President and his cabinet and assorted functionaries watching the ultimate reality TV show.
I have no doubt that the operation will be an internationally best-selling video game within a couple of months: Special Ops?White House Death Squad.

But it wasn’t a video game. A man-and three other people-were shot dead by soldiers of our army, under the direction our representatives in Washington. I had nothing to do with it, just I have nothing to do with my government?s hypocrisy, their relentless trashing of the constitution, poisonous, destructive budgets, lies, corruption and empty campaign promises. But still, even though all of these things were planned and are done without my consent, my taxes, taken out of my check, paid for it all.

Am I glad Bin Laden is dead? No. Should he have been killed? Probably.
In the New York Tabloids they keep saying the Monster is dead. Anyone with a sense of humanity and the habit of reflection knows very well that the Monster is not dead. Indeed, the Monster is very much alive. Indeed, this death will only be a cover, under which the Monster will grow even larger. The Monster is our innate greed, lust for power and the exceptional American arrogance that continues to grow Osama Bin Ladens a thousand times faster than we can shoot them down.


*** NOTE: I am switching channels on Sirius. I will still be on Saturday, 5-8pm East, 2-5 West, but no longer on Sirius Left 146. The NEW channel location is: Siriuis XM 127

– Mike Feder (New York City – May 3, 2011)

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