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Bin Laden won, with our assistance. Our applause shows the scale of his victory.

15 December 2012

Summary:  The real story told by “Zero Dark Thirty” is the historic victory of bin Laden, and the price he paid for it. Americans demonstrate this by their ignorant, enthusiastic applause for darkness of The New America, and their eager acceptance of the lies lovingly told by the film.

Bin Laden's BFF

Bin Laden’s BFF

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About the hit by a heavily armed high-tech special ops team on an unarmed old guy and some women living in a suburban house, gloriously dramatized by “Zero Dark Thirty”:

What endures on the screen are scenes that can make a viewer ashamed to be American, in the context of a movie whose ending scene makes viewers very, very proud to be American.
— “Two Cheers for Zero Dark Thirty’s Torture Scenes“, Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s “Danger Room”, 10 December 2012

Bin Laden and al Qaeda accomplished what might be the most effective single military operation in history, especially on a effect per man basis.  It cost Bin Laden his life, eventually — a price he probably considered a fair exchange for this historic victory.

9-11 changed the course of a great nation, turning America decisively toward the dark side. Massive internal surveillance, militarization of police, endless war, hatred of Islam., torture, lifetime detention without trial, incessant propaganda, and a stream of fake terror plots (created by the government).

We pay for this with larger deficits, loss of global leadership, and corruption of our people (eg, jingoism, bloodlust).  We see celebrate these things, the death of the America-that-once-was, by applauding the film “Zero Dark Thirty”.

Welcome to The New America!   Brought to you by al Qaeda and the US government, with the willing assistance of the US people.

For more about bin Laden see:

  1. ImportantWas 9/11 the most effective single military operation in the history of the world?, 11 June 2008
  2. Bin Laden wins by using the “Tactics of Mistake” against America, 6 February 2011
  3. Important:  About the strategic significance of bin Laden’s execution, and the road not taken, 5 May 2011

Other layers to the film’s significance, showing our true selves

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20121215-obama change death star

This shows what we’ve become.  It’s a tragedy, a sad tale that will be told for hundreds  or thousands of years to come.  What we don’t know is how the tale will end.  We will write that, each of us playing our part.

The critics’  enthusiasm “Zero Dark Thirty” provides yet more evidence that the American people have become domesticated, easily led by propaganda — which we eagerly lap up, as dogs lap up smelly galop on the street.

(a) Don’t Trust ‘Zero Dark Thirty‘”, Peter Maass, The Atlantic, 13 December 2012 — “The acclaimed thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden represents a troubling new frontier of government-embedded filmmaking.”

The fundamental problem is that our government has again gotten away with offering privileged access to carefully selected individuals and getting a flattering story in return. Embeds, officially begun during the invasion of Iraq, are deeply troubling because not every journalist or filmmaker can get these coveted invitations (Seymour Hersh and Matt Taibbi are probably not on the CIA press office’s speed dial), and once you get one, you face the quandary of keeping a critical distance from sympathetic people whom you get to know and who are probably quite convincing.

That’s the reason the embed or special invitation exists; the government does its best to keep journalists, even friendly ones, away from disgruntled officials who have unflattering stories to tell.

(b)  Glenn Greenwald in “Zero Dark Thirty: CIA hagiography, pernicious propaganda“, The Guardian, 14 December 2012:

Indeed, from start to finish, this is the CIA’s film: its perspective, its morality, its side of the story, The Agency as the supreme heroes. (That there is ample evidence to suspect that the film’s CIA heroine is, at least in composite part, based on the same female CIA agent responsible for the kidnapping, drugging and torture of Khalid El-Masri in 2003, an innocent man just awarded compensation this week by the European Court of Human Rights, just symbolizes the odious aspects of uncritically venerating the CIA in this manner).

It is a true sign of the times that Liberal Hollywood has produced the ultimate hagiography of the most secretive arm of America’s National Security State, while liberal film critics lead the parade of praise and line up to bestow it with every imaginable accolade. Like the bin Laden killing itself, this is a film that tells Americans to feel good about themselves, to feel gratitude for the violence done in their name, to perceive the War-on-Terror-era CIA not as lawless criminals but as honorable heroes.

Nothing inspires loyalty and gratitude more than making people feel good about themselves. Few films accomplish that as effectively and powerfully as this one does. That’s why critics of the film inspire anger almost as much as critics of the bin Laden killing itself: what is being maligned is a holy chapter in the Gospel of America’s Goodness.

(c) Bad faith and Zero Dark Thirty“, L’Hote, 10 December 2012– Excerpt:

One of the things I realized very early on in the post-9/11 world was how many people wanted to maintain the pose of sophistication and skepticism that was important to their self-conception while still embracing the militaristic, racist propaganda that was the common language of our country at that time. For a brief time, a kind of showy sincerity predominated; even the most sarcasm-drenched plastered their cars with those mini American flags. But the shelf life was short.

So a new method for protecting our national self-image of righteous violence against the subhuman Muslim throngs was developed: not unironic embrace of embarrassing patriotism or gauche militarism, but rather reflexive denial of left-wing criticisms of the same. Rather than making the affirmative case for America as the shining redeemer, fighting against the heathens who had wronged us, many among the culturally liberal elite instead reverted to a purely negative argument to undermine and ridicule left-wing critique of our military adventures. So the typical move was not to endorse Bush administration foreign policy but to deride as cranks and loons those who proposed an alternative.

For More Information

About our openness to propaganda:

About bloodlust:

  1. Bloodlust – a natural by-product of a long war?, 11 August 2009
  2. No longer a danger, but a reality: bloodlust in our minds, an inevitable side-effect of a long war., 25 October 2011
  3. Bleak news, but vital for us to understand: American Morlocks: Another Civilian Massacre and the Savagery of Our Soldiers, 17 March 2012

About torture:

  1. Something every American should read, 25 March 2009
  2. We close our eyes to torture by our government. The Brits are stronger., 9 April 2009
  3. So many Americans approve of torture; what does this tell us about America?, 30 April 2009
  4. The Reverse Nuremberg Defense – “We were just giving orders“, 20 May 2009
  5. Our government does torture, but it is just like the treatment of young reporters by newspapers, 16 February 2010
  6. The US government at work, doing dark deeds in our name, 13 March 2010
  7. Reading about American torturers is a bummer. Let’s close our eyes and pretend it didn’t happen, and will not happen again., 22 March 2010
  8. An expert speaks to us about torture, May 2010

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. d.j. permalink
    15 December 2012 2:18 pm

    Fabius, thanks.

    Like

  2. 15 December 2012 3:47 pm

    I was in Afghanistan when it happened. When bin Laden was killed. I was the last one to believe it. You can’t kill Emmanuel Goldstein. That’s like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Goldstein can’t make any more Jewish mastermind plots against America if he’s dead. And killing him would turn him into a martyr, sparking an increase in REAL efforts against the United States.

    I couldn’t have been more wrong on that one. Killing Osama was a great strategic success. Not in the real world of course. Everybody still hates us. But in the propaganda war on the home front.

    I don’t think America will be redeemed. A more pertinent question is do we even deserve redemption? Or do we deserve to share the misery we’ve inflicted on the rest of the world for the last 60 years?

    Like

  3. 15 December 2012 3:56 pm

    We’re in the midsts of a paradigm shift. Left vs right/liberal vs conservative are old and busted. Authoritarian vs anti-authoritarian is the new hotness.

    Like

    • Jordan permalink
      16 December 2012 2:42 pm

      That will still go along the same lines of division.

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      17 December 2012 12:17 pm

      The worst aspects of the Left and the worst aspects of the Right are now combined. See Keith Preston’s analysis of what he terms “Totalitarian Humanism”: “The Ideology of Totalitarian Humanism“, 23 September 2010 — excerpt:

      Totalitarian humanism is a derivative of the classical Jacobin ideology that loves an abstract and universal “humanity” so much that its proponents don’t care what has to be done to individual human beings or particular human cultures in order to advance their ideals. Perhaps the best summary of the political outlook of totalitarian humanism was provided by the maverick psychiatrist and critic of the “therapeutic state,” Thomas Szasz

      … Nowadays, the laundry list of “poverty, racism, sexism, illness, and drugs” might be lengthened to include classism, ageism, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, looksism, fatphobia, thinism, beautyism, transphobia, producerism, “appearance discrimination,” speciesism, adultcentrism, pedophobia, chronocentrism, and other creative efforts at dictionary expansion. Likewise, the therapeutic component of totalitarian humanism has expanded so as to include the supposed necessity of state action to save us all from fatty foods, salt, smoking, and soda vending machines in public schools.

      … Like all totalitarian ideologies, totalitarian humanism has its contradictions, hypocrisies, and absurdities. For instance, public acts of [explicit reference deleted] are regarded as virtuous and courageous manifestations of human liberation and personal fulfillment, while smoking in bars or even in strip clubs is a grave menace to public health. Suggestive music videos and violent video games are symptomatic of an oppressively patriarchal and testosterone-fueled society, while surgically altering one’s “gender identity” is just routine day-to-day business, like getting a tattoo.

      As one with something of a taste for the bizarre and eccentric, I might find the PC circus to be little more than a philistine but amusing bit of outrageous entertainment, akin to professional wrestling or the old freak shows of carnivals past, if it weren’t for the fact that these folks are hell-bent on imposing their “ideals” on the rest of us by force of the state. … Totalitarian humanism is an effort to reduce all of us to the level of dependent serfs on a plantation ruled by an army of overly zealous concerned mommies and busy-body social workers backed up by the S.W.A.T. team and paramilitary police.

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      17 December 2012 12:32 pm

      Also see: “Totalitarian Humanism and WASP Acquiescence“, Keith Preston, 05 August 2012 — excerpts:

      My correspondent David Heleniak offers some interesting observations regarding the relationship between Political Correctness and “God is dead” theology:

      “The simplified narrative I’m starting to believe explains TH is that in the 60s, Nietzsche’s death of God caught up to the Episcopalians who made up the American ruling class. They could no longer believe the old mythologies: Adam and Eve, original sin, blood atonement, all that medieval bs. But they couldn’t give up the religion that they grew up in, with the community fellowship, the memories of church hayrides, etc. So they looked in the mirror and said: “What can I feel guilty about, now that I’ve rejected the reality of Adam’s sin, so I can keep being a Christian. Aha. I’m white, male, and Christian. I will feel guilty for being white, male, and Christian.”

      Dave also suggests the modern feminist movement was a reaction against the Sexual Revolution:

      “One idea I’ve been kicking around is that the feminist revolution was a reaction to the sexual revolution, which was a betrayal of the implicit contract that men had struck with women in America. De Tocqueville had observed that husbands and wives in America had reached an agreement whereby men would work outside the home while remaining faithful and in exchange women would adopt a helper role within the home. This broke down in the 1950s when men went along with Hefner’s advice that they become “playboys.” Women rightly saw the cultural fascination with hot stewardesses and movie starlets as a threat. A wife could no longer count on her husband’s fidelity. She now needed to become self-sufficient in case the bastard ran off with the secretary.”

      I would also highly recommend Dave’s book, “Rousseau and the Real Culture War,” which makes a fascinating and highly original set of arguments regarding the relationship between each major period in Western intellectual history-classical Greco-Roman paganism, Christianity, and the Enlightenment-and the modern ideological paradigms of left, right, and libertarian.

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      17 December 2012 12:35 pm

      Rousseau and the Real Culture War
      By David Heleniak, 123 Pages

      In his examination of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Second Discourse, David Heleniak contends that libertarians are the heirs of the Greco-Roman pagans and the “modern pagans” of the Enlightenment, conservatives are the end product of the Christian doctrine of original sin, and the American Left is the consequence of the doctrine as transformed by Rousseau.

      Like

  4. 15 December 2012 5:39 pm

    From all of the research that we diligently followed; Bin Ladan was already ‘dead’–for several years before the USA boradcasted ‘world wide’ that they were “International Criminals with an arrogance unsurpassed in all of Human History.
    That the American people have allowed themselves to become such world class criminals is in reality based upon their very founding when their ‘founders’ wrote: “We hold these truths be be self evident that all men are created equal”–they were not referring to my people the Native Americans, nor the Slaves they owned, nor the Children they poduced with those Slaves; not even the indentured servants they ‘sponsored’ from Europe. The ‘Plutocracy” that ‘founded the USA’ is and has always been in control—-and without such myths and illusions as Bin Laden’s “mock execution” they would invent new ones—-the “market” is the one they made; whatever they ‘deliver’ to the market; the “people will buy”……………..and it continues.
    Unless the USA makes ‘drastic changes’—-soon; they will remain a terrible warning to humanity and THE primary negative example.
    “If the USA were any other criminal nation, the ‘Americans’ would invade the USA to keep the world safe; and they would be justified.”

    Like

  5. Thomas More permalink
    15 December 2012 8:08 pm

    “Everyone is fair game: Spy agency conducts surveillance on all US citizens”

    The Obama administration overruled recommendations from within the US Department of Homeland Security and implemented new guidelines earlier this year that allow the government to gather and analyze intelligence on every single US citizen.
    Since the spring, a little-know intelligence agency outside of Washington, DC has been able to circumvent the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and conduct dragnet surveillance of the entire country, combing massive datasets using advanced algorithms to search and seize personal info on anyone this wish, reports the Wall Street Journal this week.

    There’s no safeguard that says only Americans with criminal records are the ones included, and it’s not just suspected terrorists that are considered in the searches either. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has been provided with entire government databases and given nearly endless access to intelligence on everyone in the country, regardless of whether or not they’ve done anything that would have made them a person of interest. As long as data is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information,” the agency can do as they wish.

    What’s more is the NCTC can retain that information for years, reviewing it whenever they’d like to take a look.

    The update to the agency’s policies, reported by RT at the time and reexamined this week in the Journal, expose any person in the country to invasive and nearly endless government surveillance.

    “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan is reported by the Journal to have said during a Situation Room meeting earlier this year within the walls of the White House. At the time, Callahan was chief privacy officer at DHS as well as one of the only staffers inside the Obama administration concerned with what was about to happen.

    “Corps creates law enforcement battalions,” AP wire service, 23 July 2012:

    The Marine Corps has created its first law enforcement battalions — a lean, specialized force of military police officers that it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.

    The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II, but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas, said Maj. Jan Durham, commander of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton.

    The idea behind the law enforcement battalions is to consolidate the military police and capitalize on their investigative skills and police training, he said. The new additions come as every branch in the military is trying to show its flexibility and resourcefulness amid defense cuts.

    Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps, Durham said.

    “There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”
    — Commander Adama, TV series Battlestar Galactica, 2005.

    We know how this story ends. As society grows ever more miltitarized, the military and civilian systems merge. Police become soldiers, courts become drumhead courts-martials dispensing summary executions, the rule of law disappears, ever increasing numbers of citizens get accused of “suspected subversion” or “hooliganism” and rounded up and hurled into secret prisons in cells without numbers as prisoners without names. Eventually, the killing fields open up and millions of citizens simply disappear, to show up years later as mutilated corpses in ditches or swamps. After a few generations of this, the society collapses of its own dead weight like the former Soviet Union, and a new society emerges from the mass graves and the secret prisons and the panopticon surveillance.

    At this point, the best we can hope for is that the new America that resurfaces in another 70 or 80 years will be better than the current corrupt incompetent armed garrison camp that operates under de facto martial law.

    Like

  6. 15 December 2012 10:40 pm

    whose ending scene makes viewers very, very proud to be American.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but is its ending scene a more or less defenceless old man getting shot in the head by a team of extremely well-armed and trained men with guns?

    The right thing to have done would be to have taken him back to NYC to stand trial. Except that the charges wouldn’t realistically be more than “conspiracy to commit murder” Obama, Bush, Cheney, et al – are not qualified to supervise such a trial.

    I doubt that there is a single thing about that movie that’d make me proud to be an American, aside from the optical systems used for the cameras and projectors. Those are pretty amazing pieces of work.

    Like

  7. 16 December 2012 3:04 am

    Augustus would be proud!

    Like

  8. Duncan Kinder permalink
    16 December 2012 7:13 pm

    ;I haven’t seen the movie, and prob ably won’t. But such a distortion should be an easy target for parody. For about $500, you can get a Nikon 3200, which can film movies. For about $100, you can get editing software from Sony. Lights! Camera! Action!

    Distribute it on YouTube..

    Like

    • 16 December 2012 8:15 pm

      such a distortion should be an easy target for parody

      I envision a “search for Saruman” movie, set in middle earth. As Gandalf, Elrond, and Aragorn set out to find Saruman at any price, they adopt increasingly unsound methods, including negotiating with and pardoning Balrogs and “retired” Nazgul. Eventually, when the movie ends, we discover that Saruman is the only character left who has any recognizable moral compass.

      Like

    • Duncan Kinder permalink
      17 December 2012 5:39 am

      Those seeking another illustration of a broken OODA loop might want to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Crackup“. From Esquire, the issues of February, March, & April 1936.

      In this essay, Fitzgerald describes his own personal disintegration – and the role the movie industry play in that:

      “In this silence there was a vast irresponsibility toward every obligation, a deflation of all my values. A passionate belief in order, a disregard of motives or consequences in favor or guesswork and prophecy, a feeling that craft and industry would have a place in any world — one by one, these and other convictions were swept away.

      I saw that the novel, which at my maturity was the strongest and supplest medium for conveying thought and emotion from one human being to another, was becoming subordinated to a mechanical and communal art that, whether in the hands of Hollywood merchants or Russian idealists, was capable of reflecting only the tritest thought, the most obvious emotion. It was an art in which words were subordinate to images, where personality was worn down to the inevitable low gear of collaboration.

      As long past as 1930, I had a hunch that the talkies would make even the best selling novelist as archaic as silent pictures. People still read, if only Professor Canby’s book of the month — curious children nosed at the slime of Mr. Tiffany Thayer in the drugstore libraries — but there was a rankling indignity, that to me had become almost an obsession, in seeing the power of the written word subordinated to another power, a more glittering, a grosser power.”

      Like

    • 17 December 2012 5:51 am

      Powerful stuff. Thanks for posting.

      Like

    • Duncan Kinder permalink
      17 December 2012 6:48 pm

      Marcus:

      Of course, you have to reveal that Sauron began his career as an Elvish operative.

      The Lord of the Rings has been parodied at lest twice, in the Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings. as well as in The Last Ringbearer, which portrays Mordor as the good guys.

      The intellectual property fascists, of course, would object to any derivative use of Tolkien, but wizards, elves, dwarves, etc., are very much in the public domain. D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths is a standard reference. Another is Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

      The story could be effectively lampooned if it were presented as a rap musical, which would have effective undertones because Norse poetry and modern rap have striking similarities. See, eg: “Verbal Dueling” by Irina A. Dumitrescu, January 2003.

      Like

    • 18 December 2012 2:41 am

      Warning: do not read Bored of the Rings if you plan to ever again enjoy the real thing. It was so powerful that it overlaid my memories of Tolkien. Goodgulf, Fourdoor, etc.

      Like

  9. Duncan Kinder permalink
    17 December 2012 7:08 pm

    As for Fitzgerald’s problem, one answer is Nikki Muller’s “I Went to Princeton, Bitch!”

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    Like

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