Paul Craig Roberts
May 10, 2011
The White House’s “death of bin Laden” story has come apart at the seams. Will it make any difference that before 48 hours had passed the story had changed so much that it no longer bore any resemblance to President Obama’s Sunday evening broadcast and has lost all credibility?
So far it has made no difference to the once-fabled news organization, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which on March 9, eight days later, is still repeating the propaganda that the SEALs killed bin Laden in his Pakistani compound, where bin Laden lived next door to the Pakistani Military Academy surrounded by the Pakistani army.
Not even the president of Pakistan finds the story implausible. The BBC reports that the president is launching a full-scale investigation of how bin Laden managed to live for years in an army garrison town without being noticed.
For most Americans the story began and ended with four words: “we got bin Laden.” The celebrations, the sweet taste of revenge, of triumph and victory over “the most dangerous man on the planet” are akin to the thrill experienced by sports fans when their football team defeats the unspeakable rival or their baseball team wins the World Series. No fan wants to hear the next day that it is not so, that it is all a mistake. If these Americans years from now come across a story that the killing of bin Laden was an orchestrated news event to boost other agendas, they will dismiss the report as the ravings of a pinko-liberal-commie.
Everyone knows we killed bin Laden. How could it be otherwise? We–the indispensable people, the virtuous nation, the world’s only superpower, the white hats–were destined to prevail. No other outcome was possible.
No one will notice that those who fabricated the story forgot to show the kidney dialysis machine that, somehow, kept bin Laden alive for a decade. No doctors were on the premises.
No one will remember that Fox News reported in December, 2001, that Osama bin Laden had passed away from his illnesses.
If bin Laden beat all odds and managed to live another decade to await, unarmed and undefended, the arrival of the Navy SEALS last week, how it is possible that the “terror mastermind,” who defeated not merely the CIA and FBI, but all 16 US intelligence agencies along with those of America’s European allies and Israel, the National Security Council, the Pentagon, NORAD, Air Traffic Control, airport security four times on the same morning, etc. etc., never enjoyed another success, not even a little, very minor one? What was the “terror mastermind” doing for a decade after 9/11?
The “death of bin Laden” serves too many agendas that cover the political spectrum for the obvious falsity of the story to be recognized by very many. Patriots are euphoric that America won over bin Laden. Progressives have seized on the story to excoriate the United States for extra-judicial murder that brutalizes us all. Some on the left-wing bought into the 9/11 story because of the emotional satisfaction they received from oppressed Arabs striking back at their imperialist oppressors. These left-wingers are delighted that it took the incompetent Americans an entire decade to find bin Laden, who was hiding in plain view. The American incompetence in finding bin Laden simply, in their minds, proves the incompetence of the US government, which failed to protect Americans against the 9/11 attack.
Those who ordered, and those who wrote, totally incompetent legal memos that torture was permissible under US and international law, thereby setting up George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for the possibility of prosecution, are riding the euphoria of bin Laden’s death by declaring that it was torture that led the American assassins to bin Laden. All of a sudden, torture, which had fallen back into the disrepute in which it had been for centuries, is again in the clear. Anything that leads to the elimination of bin Laden is
a valid instrument.
Those, who want to increase the pressure on Pakistan to shut up about Americans murdering Pakistani citizens in Pakistan from the air and from troops on the ground, have gained a new club with which to beat the Pakistani government into submission: “you hid bin Laden from us.”
Those who want to continue to fatten the profits of the military/security complex and the powers of Homeland Security, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, use bin Laden’s second, or ninth, death as proof that America is being successful in its war on terror and that the war must continue on such a successful path until all enemies are slain.
Most ominous of all was the statement by the CIA director that bin Laden’s death would lead to new attacks on America and new 9/11s from al Qaeda seeking revenge. This warning, issued within a few hours of President Obama’s Sunday evening address, telegraphed the inevitable “al Qaeda” Internet posting that America would suffer a new 9/11s for killing their leader.
If the Taliban knew in December 2001 that bin Laden was dead, does anyone think that al Qaeda didn’t know it? Indeed, no member of the public has any way of knowing if al Qaeda is anything more than a bogyman organization created by the CIA which issues “al Qaeda” announcements. The evidence that al Qaeda’s announcements are issued by the CIA is very strong. The various videos of bin Laden for the last nine years have been shown by experts to be fakes. Why would bin Laden issue a fake video? Why did bin Laden cease issuing videos and only issue audios? A person running a world-wide terrorist organization should be able to produce videos. He would also be surrounded by better protectors than a couple of women. Where was al Qaeda, which according to former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, consists of “the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth.” Had these most dangerous men alive abandoned their leader?
The CIA director’s warning of future terrorist attacks, followed by a suspect “al Qaeda” threat of the same, suggests that if the American public continues to lose its enthusiasm for the governments open-ended wars, which are conducted at the expense of the US budget deficit, the dollar’s exchange value, inflation, Social Security, Medicare, income support programs, jobs, recovery, and so forth, “al Qaeda” will again outwit all 16 US intelligence agencies, those of our allies, NORAD, airport security, Air Traffic Control, etc. etc., and inflict the world’s only superpower with another humiliating defeat that will invigorate American support for “the war on terror.”
I believe that “al Qaeda” could blow up the White House or Congress or both and that the majority of Americans would fall for the story, just as the Germans, a better educated and more intelligent population, fell for the Reichstag Fire–as did a number of historians.
The reason I say this is that Americans have succumbed to propaganda that has conditioned them to believe that they are under attack by practically omnipotent adversaries. Proof of this is broadcast every day. For example, on March 9, I heard over National Public Radio in Atlanta that Emory University, a private university of some distinction, treated its 3,500 graduating class to a commencement address by Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security.
This is the agency that has goons feeling the genitals of young children and adults and which has announced that it intends to expand this practice from air travelers to shopping malls, bus and train stations. That a serious university invited such a low-lifer, who clearly has no respect for American civil liberty and is devoid of any sort of sense of what is appropriate, to address a graduating class of southern elite is a clear indication that the Ministry of Truth has prevailed. Americans are living in George Orwell’s 1984.
For those who haven’t read Orwell’s classic prediction of our time, Big Brother, the government, could tell the “citizens” any lie and it was accepted unquestioningly. As a perceptive reader pointed out to me, we Americans, with our “free press,” are at this point today: “What is really alarming is the increasingly arrogant sloppiness of these lies, as though the government has become so profoundly confident of its ability to deceive people that they make virtually no effort to even appear credible.”
A people as gullible as Americans have no future.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.