FanDuel - WFBC

May 03, 2011

RB Mendenhall offers questionable bin Laden tweets: Rashard Mendenhall has created a stir with comments made on his official Twitter page regarding Osama bin Ladenís death.

posted by BornIcon to football at 01:38 PM - 126 comments

Mendenhall probably should have stayed quiet, but I can't disagree with Chris Douglas-Roberts' assertion that people partying in the streets look a lot like the street celebrations in the Middle East that we criticize over here. Certainly got them both some nice reactions from the knuckle draggers over at WEEI.com.

posted by yerfatma at 01:46 PM on May 03

The 9/11 denial is annoying, but the others quoted in the story aren't all that controversial to me. In fact, less so than his stupid tweet equating NFL and slavery.

I guess anything to distract people from his epic fail in the last Super Bowl.

posted by scully at 01:49 PM on May 03

I would've loved to be among the celebratory throngs in DC or New York City Sunday night. Bin Laden was a mass murderer. After 9 years, 7 months, and 22 days of wanting justice for the 9/11 dead, I thought some catharsis was warranted.

Does Mendenhall follow current events at all, or does he just like saying things to fire up a hostile response? His comment about Bin Laden, "It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak," is idiotic. We've heard Bin Laden speak many times on the tapes he released, Rashard. And he was advocating terrorism against the U.S. and its allies and threatening future attacks.

He won't be doing that any more. Hip hip hooray!

posted by rcade at 02:10 PM on May 03

people partying in the streets look a lot like the street celebrations in the Middle East that we criticize over here.

My feeling exactly. While I'm glad the guy was finally found (after nearly 10 years, much of which were evidently spent in that same place he was captured), I think the celebrating is ridiculous. All the death and devastation of 9/11/01, followed my tens of thousands dying in military operations, etc. since that day? Nothing worth celebrating, especially when you consider there will obviously be someone stepping in to fill bin Laden's shoes, and that person will have to do something extreme to establish themselves.

Some of Mendenhall's statements are a bit misguided, such as his comment about the planes hitting the skyscrapers. But I have a feeling a lot of people agree in large part with other statements he made. It's just a topic that will elicit a great deal of emotion from people for various reasons.

posted by dyams at 02:17 PM on May 03

There's no future Bin Laden who was waiting to fill his shoes until his death or capture. That's not how terrorism works. It's decentralized. The future Bin Ladens are out there plotting with or without him.

posted by rcade at 02:39 PM on May 03

Celebrating the death of a terrorist leader and celebrating the deaths of 3,000 innocent people are completely different kettles of fish.

posted by TheQatarian at 02:47 PM on May 03

The future Bin Ladens are out there plotting with or without him.

Right, which is why I don't quite get it. He'd long since been sidelined. I don't have any problem with people being happy he's dead; I'm just suspicious of idiot kids dancing around with beer claiming this is closure for the terrible events of when they were in third grade.

Oh yeah: and the fact every MLB team saw fit to use this as a reason to celebrate America Fuck Yeah! Day. I tried to flip between the Bruins and Sox last night and at one point both games were paused for compulsory patriotism displays.

To be clearer still: my concern is that we're treating this as a cause for celebration and closure when the truth is nothing will change and, to some extent, the injury Bin Laden did us all still exists. We've traded our rights for a false sense of security and become a more insular and less welcoming nation, which is not the country I love (IMHO).

posted by yerfatma at 02:52 PM on May 03

I find it perfectly acceptable to celebrate this. The man declared war on our country and killed thousands of our civilians. His demise most assuredly brings us closer to bringing more of our servicemen and women home. It's not that easy to just step in and make yourself the next Bin Laden.

Of course, unlike Rashard, I do have an ignorant bone in my body. My left humerus is a total jackass.

posted by tselson at 02:55 PM on May 03

I'm just suspicious of idiot kids dancing around with beer claiming this is closure for the terrible events of when they were in third grade.

Those college kids live in a world remade by the 9/11 attacks. Many in their generation are fighting wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Are you suggesting they don't want to close the book on this as much as those of us who were adults in 2001? They're probably jealous of those of us who spent our youth not worrying about getting dragged off to a foreign hellhole.

I can understand the fear of jingoism and "fuck yeah!" Americanism. But I think the spontaneous celebration was far bigger than that. Bin Laden's 10 years escaping justice took a heavy toll on us.

posted by rcade at 03:03 PM on May 03

Those college kids live in a world remade by the 9/11 attacks.

I don't have kids, so I don't know, but how is the world really different from a 20 year-old versus someone ten years older or so? We're not talking about the Red Scare or doing A-Bomb drills in classrooms. If there are kids who are consciously not doing things they would normally do because of fear of terrorism, those kids need to gain some perspective. I find it hard to believe the majority of kids who ran out into the street to party did so after deep reflection on their unburdened souls.

Many in their generation are fighting wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But not them.

Are you suggesting they don't want to close the book on this as much as those of us who were adults in 2001?

No idea. I don't see a book to close. Life moves on. To treat this as a turning point is beyond Pollyana-ish. I don't see much of a negative here, but the only sizable plus I see coming out of this is the potential end to aid to Pakistan.

posted by yerfatma at 03:18 PM on May 03

Those college kids live in a world remade by the 9/11 attacks. Many in their generation are fighting wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Are you suggesting they don't want to close the book on this as much as those of us who were adults in 2001? They're probably jealous of those of us who spent our youth not worrying about getting dragged off to a foreign hellhole.

Looking at the kids celebrating, hearing the frat chants, I disagree. Some? Sure. But I'm betting most were simply looking for a reason to party, not worried they were being shipped off to iraq, though it makes a good story.

posted by justgary at 03:32 PM on May 03

Jut another Flash-Mob...

posted by NEPABob at 04:42 PM on May 03

"Right, which is why I don't quite get it. He'd long since been sidelined. I don't have any problem with people being happy he's dead; I'm just suspicious of idiot kids dancing around with beer claiming this is closure for the terrible events of when they were in third grade.

Oh yeah: and the fact every MLB team saw fit to use this as a reason to celebrate America Fuck Yeah! Day. I tried to flip between the Bruins and Sox last night and at one point both games were paused for compulsory patriotism displays.

To be clearer still: my concern is that we're treating this as a cause for celebration and closure when the truth is nothing will change and, to some extent, the injury Bin Laden did us all still exists. We've traded our rights for a false sense of security and become a more insular and less welcoming nation, which is not the country I love (IMHO)."

First I do not think he had been sidelined, and the intelligence removed from the site will probably verify that, and yes this is a great day for America and a cause for celebration. Why? Because we did what we set out to do and that is to kill this SOB. We also recovered a wealth of intelligence which I can guarantee is causing every leader within that organization to move and hide again. We have also sent a message that no matter how long it takes, what government is aiding and abetting your escape, eventually we have the power and determination to find you and kill you.

Will this change anything, maybe not immediately but I have not heard one expert on the subject that did not feel this was a humongous blow both from a moral standpoint, intelligence and a strategic standpoint in the war on terrorism. Do we have a false sense of security? Maybe, but then again so did Osama Bin Laden while he was being protected by the Pakistani military and living for years alongside their military in this compound.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your viewpoint, our country saw fit to honor Islamic burial tradition when in fact we should have used his body to fish for sharks, or buried him with a pig since his co-terrorists see fit to decapitate, mutilate and burn the bodies of Americans.

We are at war with an enemy that feels no need to protect the feelings of, and is not worried about offending Americans, I am not sure why we should worry about theirs. We absolutely as a country should not fear their threats of reprisal as they have made clear our destruction is their ultimate goal and nothing we do or do not do is going to deter them short of their complete annihilation. I am beginning to like Obama better every day and this helps me to see he may be on the side of America after all. He may have just got himself reelected.

This is a turning point just as the death of Hitler was. To imply a tyrannical leaders demise is not a victory worth celebrating is unfair. While I personally find it distasteful to be drinking and dancing in the streets, if that is what makes others feel good, who can blame them. Today there are a lot more Al Quaeda operatives who are a little more nervous. Praise Allah!

posted by Atheist at 04:53 PM on May 03

I see the link on another site saying "NFL player causes stir from tweet about Ben Laden" and think "please don't be a Steeler, please don't be a Steeler". Crap.

posted by bdaddy at 05:00 PM on May 03

Celebrating the death of a terrorist leader and celebrating the deaths of 3,000 innocent people are completely different kettles of fish.

yes.

I'm just suspicious of idiot kids dancing around with beer claiming this is closure for the terrible events of when they were in third grade.

I'd agree with that to some extent. It depends on the kids and the circumstances. For those kids who lost a parent or relative in 9/11, it could be a real catharsis for them.

But many, if not most of the people celebrating at WTC were not college kids. They were people who lost loved ones, friends and colleagues and had their lives changed by 9/11. Had I been back in NYC, I might have gone myself.

The war against islamic extremists is far from over. But Bin Laden was a wealthy charismatic leader. He inspired his followers and he inspired people to follow him (unlike his #2 Zawahiri). Without him, there probably would never have been an Al Quaeda.

In the war against Al Quaeda and islamic extremists, his death is meaningful.

posted by cjets at 05:01 PM on May 03

First I do not think he had been sidelined

Bin Laden was a wealthy charismatic leader. He inspired his followers and he inspired people to follow him

'In polling by the Pew Research Center just before he was killed, a third of Palestinian respondents said they had confidence that the al-Qaeda leader was "doing the right thing in world affairs". That compares with over 70% when the question was first asked in 2003.'

I can guarantee is causing every leader within that organization to move and hide again

'In the past ten years, even as "core al-Qaeda" in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan has been ground down by special forces and drone attacks to no more than a couple of hundred active members, its network has spread, new operational leaders have been recruited and trained, resilient cells formed and new bases established.'

We absolutely as a country should not fear their threats of reprisal

Then how come I can't take a water bottle on a plane?
/derail

posted by yerfatma at 05:17 PM on May 03

Wow, lots of great points made by everyone. I totally agree.

posted by dviking at 05:32 PM on May 03

Well maybe I don't mean we shouldn't fear them but I mean we shouldn't allow fear of pissing them off make us stop trying to annihilate them. Yes we should take precautions and mitigate the risks as much as possible. They have been trying to kill us, so how is killing their brain trust and spiritual leader going to make them kill us more?

yerfatma - what exactly is your point? We should not have killed him? Or we should not be happy we killed him? Or we should give up and pretend the situation isn't happening and scrap all forms of security in order to lead our free lives without being searched to get on an airplane?

You may say that our security measures are only providing a false sense of security, and I might agree to some extent, but remember on 9/11 the terrorists did not have to hide anythingwhen they boarded the planes. It was fine to carry a box cutter, onto an airplane. Today try to hijack a plane with a knife or box cutter. While in 2001 people thought that they would probably be ransomed or wait for a negotiated release as was typical of actions during a hijack, since then, every adult on a plane knows what is at stake and I find it harder to believe we are not somewhat safer by virtue of what we know what these guys are capable of. Cockpit doors are locked, people will fight back, and airport security makes it a lot harder to get anything on a plane that can be harmful. Does this mean they won't find some other method, of course not. Every step we take does make it more difficult and therefore help to make us safer.

These terrorists believe we are weak and will loose our resolve. Anything we do to prove them wrong will only serve to make us safer and stronger. This was a great step in doing so.

posted by Atheist at 05:40 PM on May 03

Terrorism is a symbolic act. Bin Laden was unquestionably the terrorist whose capture or death had the most symbolic value, which he cultivated with every one of his tape releases. We can debate about when we've closed the book on 9/11, but I think it's clear that book would never close as long as Bin Laden was free.

I don't think college kids were immune to the dread, fear, anger and other feelings we experienced in 2001 just because they were pre-teens. Nor do I think they were the only people celebrating in the streets Sunday night. The celebrations meant more to the people in them than simply an excuse to party. People don't take to the streets spontaneously by the thousands all over the country in response to anything.

I'm not going to question how anyone else reacted. For me, my sentiments were along the lines of the hundreds of midshipmen at the Naval Academy, whose commandant came out and gave an impromptu speech as they massed outside his house:

Bringing Bin Laden to justice was a great day for this country.

posted by rcade at 08:57 PM on May 03

The "America, fuck yeah" crowds now remind me of the whole "I support the troops" reaction as the Iraq war ramped up. I just can't shake the sense that, for every person whose sentiments are genuine, authentic and connected with reality, there are a dozen (probably a hundred) whose sentiments are inflated, manufactured and disconnected from reality. It reminds me of what you see when a teenager dies and every kid in their high school shows up for the funeral and mugs for the cameras, making statements about what a great guy the deceased was and how distraught they are, even though they barely knew who he was when he was alive. The only genuine emotion they're feeling is love of drama and the spotlight. Like Elmer Gantry, they are playing to the crowd, for their own gratification, in a way that serves the dead not at all.

So maybe you're the one, instead of the dozen or the hundred. I'm not asking for your credentials. I'm not asking for your story of how your brother died in the WTC or your uncle was on one of the planes. But no matter how genuine your individual story is, you're not likely to shake my feeling that so many of "America's" emotions in the past ten years have been mass-manufactured, and are about as authentic as Wonder Bread and twice as fluffy. I just can't be impressed by a $1.25 "I support the troops" bumper sticker, and I'm not convinced by this current wave of chest-beating triumphalism either.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:37 PM on May 03

I just can't shake the sense that, for every person whose sentiments are genuine, authentic and connected with reality, there are a dozen (probably a hundred) whose sentiments are inflated, manufactured and disconnected from reality.

So only one out of a hundred Americans has patriotic sentiments that are genuine and appropriate? It's pretty amazing that a country with 99 percent phonies took Europe back from the Nazis, landed on the moon, achieved civil rights for blacks, created the Internet, abolished the designated hitter and elected as president the black son of a Kenyan. Just think of how much we could've accomplished if we weren't all jingoistic fakes.

posted by rcade at 09:51 PM on May 03

It's pretty amazing that a country with 99 percent phonies took Europe back from the Nazis, landed on the moon, achieved civil rights for blacks, created the Internet, ...... Just think of how much we could've accomplished if we weren't all jingoistic fakes.

Easy there cowboy.

The U.S.A. was but one of many countries that fought together to take Europe back from the Nazis.

Other countries have also landed craft on the moon (unmanned, mind you).

A little while before those civil rights for blacks, there was something called slavery, right ?

Al Gore had a good week, I'm sure he invented other stuff that day too.

posted by tommytrump at 10:06 PM on May 03

Don't get emotional rcade, the only true emotion you are capable of right now is your love of drama and of the spotlight.

posted by tselson at 10:09 PM on May 03

So only one out of a hundred Americans has patriotic sentiments that are genuine and appropriate?

Yeah, probably. I doubt more than one out of a hundred Americans really thinks beyond sentimentality, about much of anything. Look at all the people who talk about "closure". How many of them have even thought about what that means? Most people are shallow thinkers, and shallow and genuine just don't go together.

It's pretty amazing that a country with 99 percent phonies took Europe back from the Nazis, landed on the moon, achieved civil rights for blacks, created the Internet, abolished the designated hitter and elected as president the black son of a Kenyan.

Come on, rcade. How much of that were you alive for and contributing to? WWII happened long before I was a gleam in my father's eye. The moon landing happened when I was a little kid, and I had fuck-all to do with it. Blacks achieved their own civil rights, again mostly through efforts that happened before I was born or when I was too young to have anything to do with it. I did haul some of the bricks to build the Internet, and I did vote in the last election, but I'm damned if I'm going to pat myself on the back over it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:14 PM on May 03

Come on, rcade. How much of that were you alive for and contributing to?

You didn't say that you were only talking about Americans today. Is that your premise -- that we became jingoistic fakes in the recent past?

Blacks achieved their own civil rights ...

Is this some of the thoughtfulness you think the other 99 percent is lacking? Because it's an incredibly blockheaded assessment of the civil rights era.

posted by rcade at 10:19 PM on May 03

On second thought, I take it back.

I only agree with everything that was posted before I said I agree with everything...some of the last stuff is garbage.

only1% geniune??? Surely there are more veterans, family of veteran's, families/friends of those killed on 9/11 (count me in that group), people that are truly proud of their country and can develop a deep thought on occasion (count me in that group IMHO) than 1%. Are there some that merely showed up at the rallies because they thought there was free beer? Sure, but they weren't the majority.

posted by dviking at 10:38 PM on May 03

you're not likely to shake my feeling that so many of "America's" emotions in the past ten years have been mass-manufactured, and are about as authentic as Wonder Bread and twice as fluffy.

Think back to the days immediately after 9/11. Those feelings of both dread and patriotism, of great loss but a desire to fight back, both in terms of rebuilding and vanquishing our enemies, were authentic.

That those feelings were exploited by the government, media, the entertainment industry and anyone else who could profit from them, that is something I would agree with.

But that doesn't invalidate the very real feelings of patriotism and an enormous sense of loss as a result of the attacks.

posted by cjets at 10:44 PM on May 03

Easy there cowboy.

Why? The role of the Allies in World War II is not a reason for the U.S. to take less pride in what we accomplished. Landing a man on the moon was an astounding achievement yet to be replicated. And the stain of slavery does not give us less to celebrate about the civil rights era. It's a reason to cherish it more.

Celebrating the good about this country is not always an attempt to whitewash the bad. I don't believe in American exceptionalism. But I don't feel the need to tone down my appreciation for our accomplishments either. One I left off the list was the greatest Constitution ever devised. Before LBB points it out, I know that it was written before my time. But having a constitutional republic and keeping it are two different achievements.

posted by rcade at 11:05 PM on May 03

The role of the Allies in World War II is not a reason for the U.S. to take less pride in what we accomplished. Landing a man on the moon was an astounding achievement yet to be replicated. And the stain of slavery does not give us less to celebrate about the civil rights era. It's a reason to cherish it more.

By we, I will presume you mean the entire Allied Forces.

No argument on the moon landing, the U.S. has done some amazing things with technology. Of course, the scientists and engineers working for NASA were not all Americans, so that's more of a human accomplishment, not American.

The civil rights era was wonderful indeed. It's a shame that great constitution your country has didn't prevent slavery from occuring in the first place. I'd have thought that all men created equal section would have been enough to stop that concept dead in its tracks.

posted by tommytrump at 11:28 PM on May 03

By we, I will presume you mean the entire Allied Forces.

No, I mean our part in the accomplishment. Go back to the task that lay before this country on the morning of Dec. 8, 1941. Explain to me how Europe is liberated without the United States.

Of course, the scientists and engineers working for NASA were not all Americans, so that's more of a human accomplishment, not American.

So NASA is a U.S. government agency funded by U.S. tax dollars, and the moon landing was a U.S. objective articulated as a major goal of a U.S. president, but the actual landing should not be recognized as an American achievement because we did not exclude foreigners from working there? That's a hell of a standard. If the pig is imported is it still Canadian bacon?

The civil rights era was wonderful indeed. It's a shame that great constitution your country has didn't prevent slavery from occuring in the first place. I'd have thought that all men created equal section would have been enough to stop that concept dead in its tracks.

It's more than a shame. It's a grave injustice that should never be forgotten.

The imperfection of our union is made explicit in the Preamble of the Constitution. "In order to form a more perfect union." I think the Constitution is properly judged by what has come to be under its guidance, not what the U.S. was like when its ink was still wet. As President Obama said in his Rev. Wright speech, the Constitution "was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

"Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution -- a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time."

Obama said in that speech he had "unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people." Get a load of the jingoistic rube! Why doesn't he accept that we suck?

I was not aware that Canada came into existence perfectly formed and never struggled to live up to its own ideals. Mad props to you.

posted by rcade at 12:26 AM on May 04

I was in 6th grade on September 11th, 2001. I didn't find out about the attacks until that afternoon when I got home. Even at that age it was sobering news, its impact was certainly not lost on me. Neither was the outpouring of patriotism that occurred in the weeks/months afterwards.

That said, I didn't run outside to celebrate in the streets when I found out Bin Laden was killed. I see this as a symbolic victory, little more. It certainly won't lessen the time it takes me to get through security at the airport.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:27 AM on May 04

I agree with rcade. There is no right or wrong way to respond to something like this. We all deal with tragedy in our own way. Some people are still raw about 9/11. Some people have lived in a constant state of fear since 9/11. Mendenhall manages to be both ignorant (we've only heard one side?) and a judgmental asshole. Additionally, reflexive anti-patriotism is no better than reflexive patriotism; they both contain the same amount of thought.

I think the death of bin Laden is a huge blow to al Qaeda. By all accounts, his money and leadership ability was the basis for its creation. At a time when many middle eastern countries are going through an upheaval, he will have no part in the creation of the governments that form. That's a big win anyway you look at it.

posted by bperk at 02:08 AM on May 04

Seconding YYM. I was also in 6th grade on September 11, 2001, and have pretty vivid memories of that day. Don't stereotype our generation and accuse us of merely wanting an excuse to party. We remember, and it was a pretty significant event in the childhood of every current college student who grew up in the United States.

posted by boredom_08 at 02:23 AM on May 04

I was not aware that Canada came into existence perfectly formed and never struggled to live up to its own ideals. Mad props to you

Except, of course, that slavery was practiced in Canada as well. Sure, they abolished it some 30 years sooner than we did, but they had it. Odd, as they really didn't have the agricultural plantations that lent themselves to the slave trade. And, no, not all of them came from the US, many were shipped directly to Canada.

posted by dviking at 02:33 AM on May 04

Celebrate, don't celebrate, whatever your preference, but think about it for more than ten minutes and you'll realise that as a man in hiding he could do very little, but by making him a martyr to his cause, the US has at a single stroke probably radicalised more fundamentalists than Bin Laden could have hoped to have influenced in a lifetime. All the public whooping, cheering and chanting is only reinforcing that effect. Whether it's right or wrong is besides the point; it's not bright.

posted by JJ at 05:46 AM on May 04

Bin Laden was not hiding in a remote cave. He was 35 miles from Islamabad and was found because he was using couriers. Unless he was sending out for Premiership scores, I think it's likely he was still actively engaged in terrorism.

But now he's not. Hoora-, er, golf clap.

posted by rcade at 07:53 AM on May 04

Someday I hope some of you read the book, Leave No Man Behind. Then you will realize how extraordinary this mission was to carry out. Seal VI, which doesn't even exist, carried out a perfect mission despite a helicopter going down, targeting their objective and exiting without causalities. Extraordinary!! Further more, President Obama overruled people in his Security Staff who wanted to bomb the compound. Our President wanted identification not a crater. Whatever you read into the killing of bin Laden, you should take a step back and congratulate the President of the United States for being bold, brave and trusting in the armed forces of the USA! They are heroes. Navy Seals and Delta Force, best in the world

posted by gfinsf at 08:47 AM on May 04

a man in hiding he could do very little

umm...what?!? He was in a $1 million mansion with a treasure trove of intel on planned future attacks.

but think about it for more than ten minutes

I suggest you follow your own advice

posted by bdaddy at 09:06 AM on May 04

No, I mean our part in the accomplishment. Go back to the task that lay before this country on the morning of Dec. 8, 1941. Explain to me how Europe is liberated without the United States.

Now we're getting somewhere. The U.S.A. had a part (a significant one) in liberating Europe. It would have been far more difficult without U.S.A. involvment, and taken a lot longer, but it would have happened. Of course, a lot of countries had been fighting that war since September 1939, not December 1941.

So NASA is a U.S. government agency funded by U.S. tax dollars, and the moon landing was a U.S. objective articulated as a major goal of a U.S. president, but the actual landing should not be recognized as an American achievement because we did not exclude foreigners from working there? That's a hell of a standard. If the pig is imported is it still Canadian bacon?

What I was trying to express was that it is not solely a U.S.A. achievement.

Is there lipstick on the pig ?


I was not aware that Canada came into existence perfectly formed and never struggled to live up to its own ideals. Mad props to you.

I never claimed that Canada came into existence perfectly formed, that the country has not had its struggles.

I'm just surprised more than anything by your (from my perspective) over the top jingoism and proverbial flag waving.

I can understand that U.S.A. citizens would regard the death of bin Laden as a positive. I think most Canadians look at the situation similarly. The U.S.A. was not the only country that lost people that day, many nations did. Canada lost 24 citizens.

However, what came to my mind as I watched the news Sunday night, and Monday, seeing the public celebrations, dancing, chanting and so on, was that it was so similar to gatherings we have all witnessed from other countries when attacks have been launched against the United States of America. It makes one no better than the other.

I am not bashing the U.S.A Though I am a proud Canadian, I admire the people of the United States of America a great deal. They are a proud people, the most generous in the word, some of whom have done amazing things. There is no other country in the world I would rather have as my nation's neighbour.

Countries, and peoples around the world have looked to the United States of America for leadership for the past 100 or so years. From my perspective, the actions I witnessed this past weekend in U.S. streets do not become a world leader.

posted by tommytrump at 10:02 AM on May 04

the US has at a single stroke probably radicalised more fundamentalists than Bin Laden could have hoped to have influenced in a lifetime.

Huh? In his lifetime? That's just ignorant. You might want to read The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright.

Whatever his capabilities at his death (and they appear to be substantial based on the treasure trove of info the Seals collected), Bin Laden was the most influential terrorist of his generation. He helped drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the 80's before turning his Jihad against the U.S. in 1997. The attacks that happened under his command include the embassy bombings in Kenya, the bombing of the USS Cole and, of course, 9/11.

posted by cjets at 10:10 AM on May 04

From my perspective, the actions I witnessed this past weekend in U.S. streets do not become a world leader.

I'm okay with that. I don't think I have to be guided in my personal actions by perceptions of people who are hostile to us anyway. It's not like our celebrating is turning American-loving people into terrorists. Many actions by our government might do that (e.g., drones, support of Israel), but I don't think our reaction to this news will.

posted by bperk at 10:17 AM on May 04

Of course, a lot of countries had been fighting that war since September 1939, not December 1941.

By a lot of countries, I assume you mean Great Britain, which stood alone against the Nazi menace alone from June 1940 to May 1941 (In May of 41, Germany attacked the Soviet Union). There was no other european country fighting (unless you consider getting routed in four weeks by the Nazis fighting).

posted by cjets at 10:22 AM on May 04

His million dollar mansion? Or his quarter of a million dollar compound from which he couldn't even make a phone call or send an email? Don't just take what you're fed and swallow it whole. I grew up in Northern Ireland. I know a little bit about what terrorism looks like and how it works. All I'm saying is that a ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead celebration, while it may be a natural reaction, is in no way appropriate. Martyrs radicalise masses much more quickly than mortals. Ideas galvanise people into action a lot more quickly than mere men.

Obama knows all of that. He was sober and calm in his announcement and has followed it up with statements about how much more there is to do and how much of a threat Al Qu'ida still poses. The footage I saw from the US had people chanting and cheering like the game was over and victory was secured, when all that's happened is that the US have scored a point.

posted by JJ at 10:26 AM on May 04

I'm just surprised more than anything by your (from my perspective) over the top jingoism and proverbial flag waving.

I'm surprised by the number of people, here and elsewhere, who interpret a spontaneous expression of exultant happiness and patriotic pride as something bad. It's been an eye opener.

You've refuted my list of things the U.S. can take pride in while leaving alone LBB's characterization of Americans as 99% fakes. It's OK to be massively cynical about this country but to be massively proud -- even for a moment -- can't pass without challenge.

I'm not going to be put on the defensive about expressing national pride over this news. Comparing our response to that of people in the Arab world celebrating terror attacks is ridiculous. Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and we had clear, irrefutable evidence he was telling the truth. Bringing him to justice, whether he ended up captured or dead, was a victory for the entire world against terrorism.

posted by rcade at 10:35 AM on May 04

Blimey, cjets, that news will come as a relief to the families of all the French, Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Czech, Danish, Norwegian, and Luxembourgish troops who were killed during the German occupation of their countries, not to mention the Finns who were killed by the Soviets in 1939. Or the Chinese who were killed by the Japanese. When do they get their relatives back? How exactly do you define blitzkrieg? Did the Germans just say "bang, bang" and everyone fell over and gave them the keys to their countries? Britain may have been alone in withstanding the Nazi menace (as long as you don't include any of the Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, Indians or South Africans who were helping), but they certainly weren't the only nation opposed to it or losing lives to it.

posted by JJ at 10:38 AM on May 04

Comparing our response to that of people in the Arab world celebrating terror attacks is ridiculous.

Why? I'm not being facetious, I'm genuinely intrigued to know why there's a difference.

posted by JJ at 10:40 AM on May 04

The footage I saw from the US had people chanting and cheering like the game was over and victory was secured, when all that's happened is that the US have scored a point.

And that's exactly what it was, at best: A point in favor of the U.S. Terrorism has been going on forever, and the death of Bin Laden will not change that. Terrorists know what our response to their acts will be, and how that will result in us devoting trillions of dollars towards retaliation, tens of thousands of additional lives lost, crippling our own economy more and more while fighting a segment of humanity who have beliefs and values so tremendously opposite of what is prevalent in the U.S. that to think we are any safer now than we were on September 10, 2001, is ridiculous. Truthfully, what has actually changed with regards to securing the U.S. mainland from future attacks such as 9/11? We're still reactive, not proactive, and terrorists know where we are vulnerable. Americans, unfortunately, won't realize this until the next heinous attack stuns us.

Again, I'm glad Bin Laden is dead, but dancing, partying, etc. seems very hollow a response at this point.

posted by dyams at 10:42 AM on May 04

Martyrs radicalise masses much more quickly than mortals. Ideas galvanise people into action a lot more quickly than mere men.

Six of one, half dozen of the other. If Bin Laden was captured alive, it would inspire terrorists to commit new atrocities hoping to secure his release.

Though we should be mindful of how our actions are received, I think the notion that terrorists are radicalized by specific events is too pat. Stories like the one about the failed teen bomber in Pakistan show that terrorists exploit naive and feeble-minded people into committing terror acts. They'll continue to do that until we find and stop them. There isn't an outcome in which these terror networks close up shop because they stop hating the U.S.

The footage I saw from the US had people chanting and cheering like the game was over and victory was secured, when all that's happened is that the US have scored a point.

This kind of thinking suggests the "war on terror" will never be over, and we'll forever be circumscribing our freedoms and engaging our military to respond to it.

Bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. His death closes an important chapter on that tragedy and could inspire the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan -- politicians of both parties have suggested as much. A good argument can be made that with his death, the U.S. has more reason to negotiate with the Taliban to secure the peace the way we negotiated with former insurgents in Iraq.

It's also possible that Al Qaeda will be easier to destroy without him.

posted by rcade at 10:52 AM on May 04

I'm okay with that. I don't think I have to be guided in my personal actions by perceptions of people who are hostile to us anyway. It's not like our celebrating is turning American-loving people into terrorists.

That is one of the wonderful things about the United States, you have a lot of personal freedom in your personal actions.

While those celebrations may not convert people from U.S.A. lovers to terrorists, they may cause people who are somewhat removed from the U.S. situation to look and think, "man, they're acting just like their enemies do when they strike at the U.S.A."

posted by tommytrump at 10:55 AM on May 04

Blimey, cjets, that news will come as a relief to the families of all the French, Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Czech, Danish, Norwegian, and Luxembourgish troops who were killed during the German occupation of their countries, not to mention the Finns who were killed by the Soviets in 1939. Or the Chinese who were killed by the Japanese. When do they get their relatives back? How exactly do you define blitzkrieg? Did the Germans just say "bang, bang" and everyone fell over and gave them the keys to their countries? Britain may have been alone in withstanding the Nazi menace (as long as you don't include any of the Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, Indians or South Africans who were helping), but they certainly weren't the only nation opposed to it or losing lives to it.


JJ, thank you. You expressed that pretty much as I would have (much more eloquently, actually).

posted by tommytrump at 10:59 AM on May 04

This kind of thinking suggests the "war on terror" will never be over

You think it will? How can it be? This isn't a Northern Ireland situation where you have one side who wants one thing and another side who wants something slightly different. In that situation, compromise, no matter how distasteful to either side, can eventually be hammered out. But when one side of the equation has as its stated aim the annihilation of the other, how can there ever be a middle ground? How can there even be negotiation? A fundamentalist islamic jihadist's interpretation of jihad means they can, and must, forever wage war on the unbeliever. Something's got to give there.

posted by JJ at 11:06 AM on May 04

Why? I'm not being facetious, I'm genuinely intrigued to know why there's a difference.

I'd have to know more about why you regard them as similar to respond to that. From my perspective, we celebrated the fact that Bin Laden had been brought to justice and would have been just as excited to see him captured as killed. Crowds who have celebrated the intentional mass murder of civilians through acts of terror are depraved and idiotic. Bin Laden killed Muslims too.

Terrorists know what our response to their acts will be, and how that will result in us devoting trillions of dollars towards retaliation, tens of thousands of additional lives lost, crippling our own economy more and more ...

None of those things you claim will happen *has* to happen. The U.S. has a democratically elected government. We can respond to Bin Laden's death by drawing down troops in Afghanistan or doing whatever else it takes to deal with terrorism and move on.

I think this news shows that our response to terror has been smarter under President Obama, and we might be out of Afghanistan already if Bush had not de-emphasized the capture of Bin Laden to pursue a war in Iraq.

posted by rcade at 11:07 AM on May 04

You think it will?

Yes. What's the alternative? Terrorists are not large in number. We should be able to disrupt their networks, capture or kill their leaders and continue to support more self-representative democratic governance in the Middle East. We don't have to accept that we'll always be at war. Surely Al Qaeda and similar groups are not as grave an existential threat as Hitler.

posted by rcade at 11:14 AM on May 04

Crowds who have celebrated the intentional mass murder of civilians through acts of terror are depraved and idiotic.

Very true. Point taken. Although I could maybe argue that the "civilians" were probably regarded (albeit erroneously in many cases) more as "infidels" by the celebrators in the 9/11 case. I'm still perturbed by the similarity of the images, but that's my issue I guess.

The Hitler analogy is a red herring - a very different war fought in a very different era.

posted by JJ at 11:34 AM on May 04

Blimey, cjets, that news will come as a relief to the families of all the French, Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Czech, Danish, Norwegian, and Luxembourgish troops who were killed during the German occupation of their countries, not to mention the Finns who were killed by the Soviets in 1939.

Here's the original statement I responded to:

The U.S.A. had a part (a significant one) in liberating Europe. It would have been far more difficult without U.S.A. involvment, and taken a lot longer, but it would have happened. Of course, a lot of countries had been fighting that war since September 1939, not December 1941.

First of all, Europe would not have been liberated without the U.S. That was Churchill's belief anyway. But maybe you know better than him.

And as far as fighting that war since 1939? Well, you got me on Poland.

Apart from that, Hitler invaded the France and the low countries on May 10th 1940. By June 14th, 1940, Hitler was in Paris and the low countries were his. I don't consider losing a war in 35 days"fighting that war." I consider it losing a war. Tommy's point seemed to be that these other countries were helping. I'm not sure how they helped fight the war when they were conquered in a month.

If the argument you want to make every nation in Europe (and beyond) suffered at the hands of Hitler and Germany, I'd certainly agree. But as far as fighting the war against the Nazis? That was the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

Yes, other nations contributed soldiers and materials, but the bulk of the fighting (and dying) was done by the big three. Go to the beaches at Normandy some time. All of the difficult landings were done by U.S. soldiers (including Rangers who climbed up a sheer rock face, under fire, to take a German position.)

Britain may have been alone in withstanding the Nazi menace (as long as you don't include any of the Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, Indians or South Africans who were helping),

I said Britain stood alone against the Nazi menace from June 1940 to May of 1941. You want to show me a cite or link that shows how Canadians, New Zealanders, etc. helped Britain in that time period?

posted by cjets at 11:58 AM on May 04

I love the fact that we got JJ to say blimey. Now we just need to get him to say cor, guvnah and strewth.

posted by rcade at 12:24 PM on May 04

Categorizing Americans because of a few celebratory reactions is a little unfair. There is a difference, the US set out to accomplish a goal with regard to Bin Laden and that goal took much longer than expected, and was very frustrating to most Americans. The fact that we finally succeeded in capturing and killing him was a great relief for many Americans as well as others around the world.

Is celebrating his death with exuberance in poor taste? IMO to some extent it is, but when I consider what Bin Ladens radical followers do in their celebrations, or when they have found, captured or killed someone they consider to be their enemies, such as decapitation on video, the burning dragging and mutilation of bodies, the public execution or torture, I must say a few exuberant and more importantly, spontaneous expressions of pride, relief and accomplishment are pretty understandable. Certainly nothing that should vilify Americans as a group.

"Did the Germans just say "bang, bang" and everyone fell over and gave them the keys to their countries?"

Certainly the French and Polish pretty much did that, and while Hitler was annexing countries in Europe left and right a lot of Europe stood back and watched. Never try to minimize the culpability European countries had in allowing Hitler to gain so much before the fight against him took hold. I think an important distinction regarding the American role in World War II is that although many countries were involved in defeating the Nazis, most of those countries were directly involved as the Nazis were attacking them and taking over their countries. America on the other hand came to their aid, sent our army across oceans that had insulated us to some extent from the war in Europe, and was an instrumental force in liberating Europe. I also don't recall that after Hitler was defeated with the assistance of the USA, and the war in the South Pacific was still raging, how many French, English, Soviet, Polish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or North African armies rushed to the Pacific to aid us against the Japanese. I am not saying they would not have had they had the resources but frankly they did not.

posted by Atheist at 12:29 PM on May 04

We don't have to accept that we'll always be at war.

I think you do. It's not so easy to dismiss JJ's opinion*: while the source of the conflict, or maybe the stated goals, are different from Northern Ireland, the idea that terrorism is or resembles a war is a poor comparison. To think there can be an event that settles the matter is a dangerous perspective. Whatever they skin it up in, religion, race, etc, I think terrorism will always live when there's inequality in the world, especially now that it's so easy to see it up close in the Internet Age.

You all seem focused on the idea someone thinks this is a bad thing for the US. I don't. I just find the celebrations unbecoming. Blame my Catholic upbringing for not seeing cause for celebration in death (unless the dude shows up 3 days later making a big scene about it). I don't know why we're arguing about WWII, but it's veering so close to "You'd be speaking German right now" territory. Yes, the US was fundamental in winning that war. I don't think anyone argues it. It's a question of perspective: whether you think Hitler's mistake was believing one solid pop on the nose would be enough to keep America isolationist or whether you think it was a grievous underestimation of the strength of US industrial might, it's all the same thing in the box score. But Christ, love your country all you want, just skip the "My daddy could beat up your daddy" bit. Who cares what someone else thinks of your country as long as you're happy?

* Feel free to dismiss mine though: what little I know about the truth of conflict in Northern Ireland beyond the standard Irish-American know-it-all-about-the-auld-country crap is stolen from my sister's book.

posted by yerfatma at 12:32 PM on May 04

yerfatma - you make a very good point. The war on terror is a bad term as there really isn't a clear victory that can be achieved. There is no territory to conquer, no government to overthrow, no army to battle against, and no leadership to surrender and concede defeat. So of course killing the most important single leader may be somewhat of an isolated victory, it is just one battle in an ongoing effort to diminish the strength of organized terrorism. It is a substantial blow against terrorism but by no means a conclusive victory which is unachievable. I doubt anybody who is celebrating for the moment believes the war is over, they just a rightfully feeling that this is one very positive in a struggle that has had few.

posted by Atheist at 12:43 PM on May 04

Are you two serious? What do they teach you in school? Or do they show you Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Pacific and Escape to Victory and call it history?

cjets: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, India. A mere scratch of the surface via Wikipedia will reveal that not only did most of them have troops on the ground in Europe in early 1940, but that they also contributed the majority of their pilots to the RAF.

Your claim that Europe would not have been liberated without the US is as unprovable as the original claim that it would have been. It may have been Churchill's statement, but he said a lot of things that don't stand up to modern scrutiny, particularly about the notion of Empire, so frankly, in plenty of respects, I do know better than him in certain respects, as do a great many others.

Also, given your logic, with which you somehow conflate winning with fighting, the US did not fight a war in Vietnam either. Leaving aside your ridiculous claim that 35 days is not long enough to constitute fighting (or seemingly dying), what about the resistance movements in all of the occupied countries? Those people didn't suddenly get brave the day some GIs showed up.

And Atheist, did you miss the fact that Indonesia was the Dutch East Indies when it was invaded by Japan in 1942? Or that Singapore, Burma and Malaya were British? Again, do all the ANZAC troops' families get their grandparents back, given that you apparently claim they weren't fighting and dying with "you" in the Pacific?

posted by JJ at 12:50 PM on May 04

Complete sidetrack:

"strewth" is more Aussie than cockney these days and reminds me of a story I heard last week after the Royal Wedding. My old man received a call from a (Northern Irish) friend of his in Australia. The guy was laughing hysterically:

"I had to call someone who would find this as funny as I do - everyone here seems to think it's normal. The moment - I mean THE MOMENT - the ring went on her finger, the Aussie TV anchor came over the air and said: "Well, that just about wraps that one up. Now, over to the footie..." and the live feed switched to an Aussie Rules game! I love this country! I'm never coming home!"

posted by JJ at 12:58 PM on May 04

We should be able to disrupt their networks, capture or kill their leaders and continue to support more self-representative democratic governance in the Middle East.

All it takes is ridiculous amounts of money this country doesn't have to continue to attempt to make the world a safe place, when all along you're dealing with a "not large in number" group of people, and all it took was a decade to find their leader? You honestly think we will wipe out terrorism? Sounds just like a Bush fanatic, because he was the one dumb enough to believe he could achieve peace in the Middle East.

This U.S.A. way of thinking just floors me. We think everyone will eventually come around to our way (as a country) of thinking, when the biggest problem in dealing with terrorism is the people we are, and will continue to be, exact opposites of us. They think nothing like us, their values are different, etc. That's why we prove to be unsuccessful predicting (or stopping) their attacks, because we just don't think like them. And our media eats this shit up with a spoon and fork, so in that way, the U.S. plays right into terrorists' hands, too.

A good start to not remaining such patsies for terrorists would be to reduce the U.S. dependance on foreign oil, then begin solving a few more of this country's problems before we think we can put a stop to terrorism and unrest in the Middle East.

posted by dyams at 01:14 PM on May 04

Blame my Catholic upbringing for not seeing cause for celebration in death (unless the dude shows up 3 days later making a big scene about it).

Nice!

But Christ, love your country all you want, just skip the "My daddy could beat up your daddy" bit.

That wasn't the intent. I was responding domestically to LBB's misanthropic contention that 99 out of 100 Americans are fakes. Canada got involved and the next thing you know it's world war.

posted by rcade at 01:16 PM on May 04

You honestly think we will wipe out terrorism? Sounds just like a Bush fanatic, because he was the one dumb enough to believe he could achieve peace in the Middle East.

You're lumping together massively expensive wars with less expensive counter-terrorism actions and other things we could (and should) be doing, like your comment about unlatching from the oil teat. I'd love to see the day when the OPEC nations are strategic backwaters because we've become a nation of Ed Begley Jrs.

posted by rcade at 01:19 PM on May 04

That wasn't the intent. I was responding domestically to LBB's misanthropic contention that 99 out of 100 Americans are fakes.

Sorry, I was referring more to "Go to the beaches at Normandy some time. All of the difficult landings were done by U.S. soldiers" as though that were some proof of moral righteousness rather than everyone giving in and just letting Monty have his way this time so he'd shut the fuck up for once.

Also, I think you're mis-reading LBB's statement a bit, though I wouldn't want to speak for her. It's like those people who show up at a funeral sobbing even though they didn't really know the person (my mother called them "professional mourners"). I assume a fair percentage of the people celebrating in the streets didn't really lose anyone. Doesn't make them fakes, just gives them less reason to be shotgunning beers at 11pm on a Sunday. Not that you need one.

posted by yerfatma at 01:23 PM on May 04

It sounds like JJ and yerfatma have it figured out pretty well. I must admit that when I heard the news, I had a feeling of satisfaction, although I did not want to run out into the street and shout. While there is catharsis in celebrating the death of bin Laden, it is not even close to the end of the threat posed by militant Islam. Please note, I do not say Islam as a whole, but I refer only to those who use their interpretation of Islam as an excuse for their acts.

World War 2 gives me 2 analogies to the bin Laden death. Think of the battle for Iwo Jima as the allied forces closed in on Japan. Early in the battle, the Marines fought their way to the top of Mount Suribachi, and in the scene made famous by photographer Joe Rosenthal, raised the flag. More than a few thought this was the end of the battle, but there were many days of bitter fighting before the island was secured.

The other event is perhaps a closer analogy. In April of 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized a mission to "get Yamamoto". The mission was to be carried out by fighter aircraft flown by Army Air Corps pilots from Guadalcanal, and it was based on information from communications intercepts and code breaking. Yamamoto Isoroku was the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet and the strategist behind the Pearl Harbor attack and Japan's naval operations, but his death did not end the Pacific part of World War 2. Over 2 more years, thousands of deaths, and great expenditure of national treasure were needed before the war ended.

Yes, in 1943 we were in a declared war against an identifiable enemy nation, but the current conflict with al Qaeda should be considered a war in all respects. The point is that the removal of a leader does not end the threat. Rather, we are in a war with an idea and a philosophy. The killing of a leader certainly is an attention getter, but the task is to show the inferiority of the al Qaeda philosophy.

posted by Howard_T at 01:24 PM on May 04

This is the biggest problem with no football happening. Players have to much free time on their hands to say stupid stuff.

This is no different then when I go to a concert and the band thinks I give a shit about their political views. Sing and leave me be. People dont follow Mendenhall on twitter to hear his thoughts on the economy or his political views.

He is dumb as a stone. If your boss(Rooney) works for Obama, may be smart to keep your political views quiet.

If this had happened before draft day, he may be gone already.

posted by Debo270 at 01:32 PM on May 04

cjets: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, India. A mere scratch of the surface via Wikipedia will reveal that not only did most of them have troops on the ground in Europe in early 1940, but that they also contributed the majority of their pilots to the RAF.

First of all, your own links disagree with your statement. Australia and New Zealand did not have troops on the ground until 1941 and that was in North Africa and Greece. There were Canadian troops in France who were evacuated to Britain from Dunkirk, but - per your own link - did not see any fighting until mid-1943.

Second, I said that other countries contributed soldiers and material to the war in an earlier post.

But I think we may be talking past each other about Great Britain's role.. In June 1940, once Hitler had established fortress Europe, his primary goal was to force Great Britain to surrender or invade Great Britain. The Luftwaffe went out on nightly raids, first to destroy the RAF, then to terror bomb Great Britain into surrender. They bombed Great Britain for 9 months, at one point for 57 straight days. Estimates of the dead range from 40,000 to 60,000 British citizens killed during the Blitz.

Yes, Australia, New Zealand and Poland contributed about 100 pilots each to the RAF to help Great Britain. But given the nine months that Britain had to ward off a possible invasion and then terror bombing, all while dealing with extreme austerity and rationing, the island nation of Great Britain stood alone against the Nazi menace (notwithstanding battles in North Africa and Egypt that did little to help Grat Britain fight off the Nazi menace at home).

Your claim that Europe would not have been liberated without the US is as unprovable as the original claim that it would have been.

Sure, they could have been liberated by the Soviets, but I'm not sure that's the type of liberation you're thinking of.

The key to Western Europe's liberation was D-Day. There is no way D-day would have even been attempted without massive U.S. involvement.

Also, given your logic, with which you somehow conflate winning with fighting, the US did not fight a war in Vietnam either.

No, I conflate effectiveness with fighting. France and the low countries were completely ineffective in defending their nations against Germany. Worse than ineffective, certain countries (France, Denmark, Belguim) simply gave up. France fired the head of its military on the day German invaded (Something I learned from Band of brothers). It's this ineffectiveness which leads me to discount the part they played in fighting back against Germany.

On edit: "Something I learned from Band of Brothers" was a joke.

posted by cjets at 02:01 PM on May 04

Something I learned from Band of brothers

Me, I would have left that bit out.

posted by yerfatma at 02:07 PM on May 04

"Go to the beaches at Normandy some time. All of the difficult landings were done by U.S. soldiers" as though that were some proof of moral righteousness

It was not meant as proof of moral righteousness. It's just more evidence that during World War II some countries did more than others as well as more evidence that D-Day would have been impossible without U.S. involvement.

I've actually spent most of this post praising Great Britain, not the U.S.

posted by cjets at 02:07 PM on May 04

Something I learned from Band of brothers

I guess I forgot the *Sarcasm* tag.

posted by cjets at 02:08 PM on May 04

The war on terror is a bad term as there really isn't a clear victory that can be achieved. There is no territory to conquer, no government to overthrow, no army to battle against, and no leadership to surrender and concede defeat.

You can't even call this a war. Wars end.

I'm cautiosly optimistic that this symbolic victory will allow us to end this "War on Terror". That won't mean we actually quit actively trying to stop terrorism but maybe it means we can involve ourselves in less wars or spend less money. I'm hoping it's a turning point in the way we view fighting terrorism.

I'm conflicted on the celebrations. I can understand why people are happy, excited even, but a lot of the celebrations seem over the top. It does look like a victory party. I'm not sure how to celebrate a victory I see as mostly symbolic and Pyrrhic at best.

posted by tron7 at 02:08 PM on May 04

Are you on crack, cjets? Seriously?

posted by JJ at 02:15 PM on May 04

Sure, they could have been liberated by the Soviets, but I'm not sure that's the type of liberation you're thinking of.

So Soviet liberation doesn't count and fighting in a war doesn't count as fighting in a war. I would engage on this topic but you're working with definitions of words that are exclusively yours.

posted by tron7 at 02:15 PM on May 04

That was probably more polite than me asking if he's on crack, thanks tron7. I'm staggered.

posted by JJ at 02:21 PM on May 04

What were the Canadians doing in Dunkirk while they awaited evacuation? Sitting on the beach drinking mai tais under parasols and asking what all the noise was aboat? Dunkirk was a fight, or a fight if you insist.

posted by JJ at 02:23 PM on May 04

So Soviet liberation doesn't count and fighting in a war doesn't count as fighting in a war.

No, what I meant was that if the Soviets had liberated western europe, all of Western Europe might have come under Soviet influence, rather than just Eastern Europe.

posted by cjets at 02:28 PM on May 04

So what your saying is that my link proves my point and disproves your ludicrous assertion? Great. I'll leave you to it and you can argue both sides of this on your own from here. Good luck.

posted by JJ at 02:39 PM on May 04

Are you on crack, cjets? Seriously?

You want to refute what I've said, feel free. I'd appreciate it if you left out the ad hominem insults.

posted by cjets at 02:42 PM on May 04

So what your saying is that my link proves my point and disproves your ludicrous assertion?

Speaking of ludicrous assertions, I'm reminded of your earlier one:

the US has at a single stroke probably radicalised more fundamentalists than Bin Laden could have hoped to have influenced in a lifetime.

Nice chatting with you.

posted by cjets at 02:57 PM on May 04

I've already seen this film.

Otto: You know your problem? You don't like winners.
Archie: Winners?
Otto: Yeah. Winners.
Archie: Winners, like North Vietnam?
Otto: Shut up. We didn't lose Vietnam. It was a tie!
Archie: [going into a cowboy-like drawl] I'm tellin' ya baby, they kicked your little ass there. Boy, they whooped yer hide REAL GOOD

posted by yerfatma at 02:58 PM on May 04

rcade:

That wasn't the intent. I was responding domestically to LBB's misanthropic contention that 99 out of 100 Americans are fakes. Canada got involved and the next thing you know it's world war.

What I said was this:

"I doubt more than one out of a hundred Americans really thinks beyond sentimentality, about much of anything. Look at all the people who talk about "closure". How many of them have even thought about what that means? Most people are shallow thinkers, and shallow and genuine just don't go together. "

Now, if you want to call that misanthropy, I can't stop you, but I think you're humpty-dumptying. If someone says something negative about humanity, is it still misanthropy if it's true? I don't know, maybe your experiences since 9/11 have been very different from mine. What I've observed is a growing tendency towards anti-thought in the USA -- an outright hostility towards anyone who says, "Wait, let's think this through, let's examine this more closely." I've seen way too many people become entirely too deft in their use of the "support the troops" bully stick. I've seen people shouted down and demonized for even the slightest deviation from the "America fuck yeah" party line. I have seen this become so prevalent that it's damn near impossible to get people to stop yelling slogans and think. And it doesn't surprise me, because we didn't have a culture that encouraged deep thinking before 9/11.

Note also, rcade, that I didn't say "most Americans are shallow thinkers". My very deliberate choice of words was "most people are shallow thinkers". If that wasn't true, do you really think that the fairy tales of the caliphate reborn could inspire as many Muslims as they do? Do you really believe that the Muslim Brotherhood's simplistic take on depraved western culture could have ever achieved a foothold?

So, you can think of me as misanthropic if you want. I don't think I am. I believe that people have the capability to transcend shallow thinking and sentimentalism. But like any bad habit, you don't get past it by indulging in it -- you just make the habit stronger. Right now we need thought. We need honesty. We need people to not fan the fire of their emotions and inflate a genuine feeling into something big and grand that they can display in public. All of those are things we -- the USA and humanity -- need desperately. It's the only way out of this mess.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:04 PM on May 04

Nicely put.

posted by JJ at 03:07 PM on May 04

most people are shallow thinkers

It is not out of line to say this is a misanthropic statement. You make a good point, and rcade may indeed be throwing out the baby with the bathwater on jingoistic grounds, but it is not constructive to call your interlocutors (as presumable representatives of most people due to their behavior or opinions) shallow, thoughtless, and dishonest because they seem to disagree with you.

You may be right, but you too should be cautious about emotional fire fanning, genuine feeling inflation, and big grand public displays. You may feel like you're being hit with a bully stick, but on the other end, it may feel like you're the one wielding the goad.

Changing gears, several years ago my brother and I were discussing wars and police actions and the point came up that Russia was then fighting a war in Chechnya and calling it a police action, while the USA was conducting a police action in Afghanistan and calling it a war. It's not really germane to Mendenhall's tweets, but after reading this whole conversation, I felt it was worth a mention.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:32 PM on May 04

it is not constructive to call your interlocutors (as presumable representatives of most people due to their behavior or opinions) shallow, thoughtless, and dishonest because they seem to disagree with you.

(emphasis mine)

Well, I guess that just creates a very tidy situation in which no one is allowed to say anything negative about most people, because according to you, that's a direct insult aimed at whoever you're talking to. I can't stop you or rcade from misinterpreting, but it is a misinterpretation on your part, not intent on my part.

You may be right, but you too should be cautious about emotional fire fanning, genuine feeling inflation, and big grand public displays.

Such as what? Again, if you insist on constraining the dialogue such that no one can say anything negative (even, or perhaps especially, if it's true), then I guess you've got yourself a very effective muzzle for any unpopular opinion. I notice that popular negative opinions are getting a free pass here.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:05 PM on May 04

Ah, okay, I clearly misunderstood your point. I'm sorry.

I'm sure I speak for the rest of the participants in this conversation as well when I say it's good to be part of your 1%.

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:13 PM on May 04

If someone says something negative about humanity, is it still misanthropy if it's true?

I don't think the definition of misanthropy requires the misanthrope to be wrong. But if you think I was wrong to call your position misanthropic I'll concede that point.

I regard Sunday's celebration as something that was very much of the moment. I'm hopeful that we'll respond to Bin Laden's death as judiciously as we would have if somber, contemplative reflection ruled the day.

posted by rcade at 04:29 PM on May 04

But as far as fighting the war against the Nazis? That was the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

Yes, other nations contributed soldiers and materials, but the bulk of the fighting (and dying) was done by the big three. Go to the beaches at Normandy some time. All of the difficult landings were done by U.S. soldiers (including Rangers who climbed up a sheer rock face, under fire, to take a German position.)

*cough*

"Despite the failure to capture any of the final D-Day objectives, the assault on Juno Beach is generally considered alongside Utah Beach the most strategically successful of the D-Day landings. Historians suggest a variety of reasons for this success. Mark Zuehlke notes that "the Canadians ended the day ahead of either the US or British divisions despite the facts that they landed last and that only the Americans at Omaha faced more difficulty winning a toehold on the sand", suggesting that the calibre of the training the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had received beforehand explains their success"

posted by grum@work at 04:45 PM on May 04

Mendenhall has clarified his remarks, though sadly he offers no guidance on World War II.

posted by rcade at 04:50 PM on May 04

Mendenwho? We're down the rabbit hole here; I can't remember where we came in...

posted by JJ at 04:57 PM on May 04

Yeah - Juno beach motherfuckers! We were there and kicked unholy ass. Recognize, foo'.

I read this site and am always warmed to know that a large percentage of my American friends feel similarly to me. I too was upset about the celebration. I don't care what nuance you want to apply to the situation, but the images looked like Pakistan on September 12. That moral high ground we felt we occupied seems to be built on some pretty weak material.

I think it's important that if the West is to be a shining beacon of the best future for humanity, we really dropped the ball. We look and sound no better than the "savages" we proclaim to save. We did ourselves a great favour in killing bin Laden, but blew it on the party.

I'm not getting into the WWII debate, because that shit is whack. In large part the US was there not to save everyone because they're hearts are so, so big. They needed to prevent the Soviet expansion. Remember that it was a race to Berlin and there were 300,000 Soviets closing in quick. It was their flag on the Reichstag. The US understood where it's interests lay.

Not to mention that it would have been a helluva job trying to root out Hitler without the benefit of a second front, which killed more Germans than we ever did.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:49 PM on May 04

I don't care what nuance you want to apply to the situation, but the images looked like Pakistan on September 12. That moral high ground we felt we occupied seems to be built on some pretty weak material.

I don't see how you can possibly compare those two celebrations. The attempt to apprehend Osama Bin Laden is nothing like the Sept. 11 attacks. The only thing the two have in common is people cheering on the street. If we start intentionally blowing up civilians and thousands of Americans take to the streets in joy, then you can begin the rending of shirts.

posted by rcade at 06:36 PM on May 04

One man's civilian is another man's infidel. And there's a big difference between saying that the images looked the same (which is what Weedy said, and he's right, they did) and the situation was the same (which is what I wrongly said earlier; it wasn't). I think the point is well made, and needs to be acknowledged, that abandoning the moral highground is dangerous in this situation.

posted by JJ at 07:02 PM on May 04

Did I just dream an rcade comment to respond to or is he self-flagellating with the banhammer?

posted by JJ at 07:04 PM on May 04

I decided I'd rather to get hammered than go another round. The comment is back. Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in.

How a crowd of people celebrating one thing looks like a crowd of people celebrating another thing entirely is a mystery to me. Did the Spanish crowds expressing national pride in their World Cup victory look like Pakistan on September 12? Does a crowd of political partisans at a rally chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" exhibit troubling nationalism? I think people watching Sunday's celebrations saw what they wanted to see.

posted by rcade at 07:20 PM on May 04

I'm certainly not arguing that the celebrations are different. But if I'm a guy sitting in Karachi trying to stand in the middle ground (I'm Pakistani, a proud Muslim, but not someone who hates the west and wants to see more planes flying into buildings) I might be a bit put off by what appears to be a nation, coast to coast, cheering the invasion and shooting of an unarmed man. It looked awful rcade, I don't know how else I can put it. Maybe I ask too much.

My personal reaction was:

"Osama's dead?" *Thinks back to 10+ years of war in two countries, several trillion in debt and millions killed* "Well I guess it was worth it."

Can't wait for the movie. I see Benicio del Toro as Osama, and just as the SEALs break down the door (The Rock, Ryan Reynolds - he's the sassy one, Michael Jai White, Randy Couture, and oh, that guy who plays Thor) on the third floor - "Knock, knock... Freedom."

You know it's coming.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:43 PM on May 04

How a crowd of people celebrating one thing looks like a crowd of people celebrating another thing entirely is a mystery to me.

Again, blame my Catholicism, but what's different? They're both celebrating death. Remember Stalin's line (WWII reference!) that "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a thousand is a statistic"? In each case, they're celebrating the fact the Other Side was given a black eye. I know one is Terrorism and one is Rough Justice (Tennyson reference!), but try to remove your perspective from the equation. Be like Uatu the Watcher. How would he see this? For me, if you're going to put a bullet through someone's eye and you think it's justified, this is the time you get into the end zone and hand the ball to the ref (sports reference!) instead of spiking it and doing a dance. Act like you've been there/ act like you feel bad about it, but they forced your hand.

They needed to prevent the Soviet expansion

Weedy, I don't want to pick on you, because I know it's Canada and you were probably felling logs at age 5 and you get our used text books, but up through '45, The Marshall Plan consisted of finding a beer and a French tart. It wasn't until Berlin that we started thinking the Soviets were a little too neighborly. From a US perspective, one of the things that makes WWII "The Great War" is that our motives were pretty pure. Hell, FDR had to convince much of the country to let us go*.

Inside baseball/ Metafilter story: my father-in-law insists FDR either caused or let Pearl Harbor happen and once expressed that opinion to Metafilter's Mayor Curley who idolizes FDR to the point he named his daughter after Eleanor. Gregory Hines would have been impressed by my tap dancing.

posted by yerfatma at 07:49 PM on May 04

That's true - the Marshall plan remained as originally stated. But an emerging Soviet Union was an ongoing topic (certainly as far as my studies went) in Washington long before WWII (Hell the US didn't even recognize the USSR as a legitimate state until 1933). However, you are correct in that as far as the war goes - the US did not enter it because of the Soviets. My point was poorly made.

And thanks for the books. They done had hardcovers and everything!

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:01 PM on May 04

Did you see that penis I drew?

posted by yerfatma at 08:07 PM on May 04

They're both celebrating death.

Do you think the celebration would not have happened or would have differed in tone if Bin Laden had been captured? People were happy he'd been brought to justice after almost 10 years. A decade of pent-up anger, dread and fear tied up in 9/11 were let loose.

Bin Laden was more than just an "unarmed man," and I hope most people in the Arab world understand why so many of us are so happy the world's rid of him. A minuscule number of the world's 1.1 billion Muslims want jihad. The rest want peace, prosperity and freedom like anyone else.

posted by rcade at 08:08 PM on May 04

Do you think the celebration would not have happened or would have differed in tone if Bin Laden had been captured?

Absolutely. I don't think anyone would have been out in the streets dancing. Can't see it. Just my opinion.

posted by yerfatma at 08:13 PM on May 04

I don't think anyone would have been out in the streets dancing.

Then like LBB, you're cringing because of your extremely low impression of the American people. I think the celebrations would have occurred regardless. The crowd assembled outside the White House looked like a pretty good time, and social media makes spreading that kind of thing lightning quick.

posted by rcade at 08:22 PM on May 04

you're cringing because of your extremely low impression of the American people.

I'm not cringing and I have a low opinion of everyone. That's what being an elitist is all about. Dancing about three years of legal wrangling sounds like as much fun as dancing about architecture.

posted by yerfatma at 08:39 PM on May 04

Simon and Garfunkel reference?

posted by JJ at 03:55 AM on May 05

I'm not cringing and I have a low opinion of everyone. That's what being an elitist is all about.

I thought I was an elitist too. You join one mob and never hear the end of it.

posted by rcade at 07:05 AM on May 05

Simon and Garfunkel reference?

The "dancing about architecture"? I always thought it was Frank Zappa, but apparently the origin is foggy— if I'd known Martin Mull might be the source, I might have gone with something else.

posted by yerfatma at 08:36 AM on May 05

I meant this - not that it's much of a dance inspiring song.

posted by JJ at 09:06 AM on May 05

Then like LBB, you're cringing because of your extremely low impression of the American people.

Don' t you think that horse is dead by now, rcade?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:47 AM on May 05

Since we're still engaged in the discussion, I see no reason not to talk about what you wrote. I'm trying to understand where you and other critics of the celebrations are coming from. Would you prefer I took you less seriously?

posted by rcade at 10:38 AM on May 05

113 posts and I think 6 are actually about the topic. People in Pittsburgh want him cut.

posted by Debo270 at 11:49 AM on May 05

Since we're still engaged in the discussion, I see no reason not to talk about what you wrote.

Correction: you see no reason not to make false and insulting characterizations about what I wrote. Well, I can't stop you, but I will call it what it is. So have at it.

I'm trying to understand where you and other critics of the celebrations are coming from.

Permit me to doubt that. Words like "cringing" don't arise from a desire to understand.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:43 PM on May 05

You can dish it out, but you can't take it, LBB. The word "cringing" means to "recoil in distaste." That's a fair characterization of your original comment. Stop throwing elbows around here if you can't take it when people respond with their own hard-edged tone. I'm tired of you playing the victim.

posted by rcade at 12:53 PM on May 05

Correction: you see no reason not to make false and insulting characterizations about what I wrote.

I'm confused. I don't see anything false or insulting about the characterizations being made.

People in Pittsburgh want him cut.

But Ben can stay?

posted by tron7 at 01:16 PM on May 05

I guess my problem with the celebrations (and WeedyMcSmokey and yerfatma alluded to it referring to the moral high ground) is that it's difficult to resolve fighting the good fight for justice with celebrating a violent murder, even if we can all agree that the recipient of the bullet was a colossal asshole. Celebrate the end of the war, sure, but we may still be a long way off from that.

But that's just the point. This war was kicked off with a stunning violent act of terrorism followed by celebrations (by some supporters) in the streets. Now we have our counter, and say what you will about the situations, the celebrations did not look that different. Now we continue on to the next event and the next. Violence begets more violence. I truly want to believe that we are fighting for peace, but it looks like we are fighting for vengeance, and vengeance is no resolution.

posted by bender at 01:33 PM on May 05

But Ben can stay?

Ben doesn't fumble quite so often.

Kidding; I actually heard quite a few rumblings from Pittsburgh fans around the time Ben was playing the party boy. More than a few were urging the Rooneys to cut him loose. Doesn't seem like the fan base there holds anyone above certain standards.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:40 PM on May 05

But Ben can stay?

Many people wanted Ben out too. Trust me. I know many people who have turned their backs on the team as long as Ben is on the roster and have found a new team.

posted by Debo270 at 01:52 PM on May 05

rcade:

You can dish it out, but you can't take it, LBB. The word "cringing" means to "recoil in distaste."

intr.v. cringed, cringing, cringes
1. To shrink back, as in fear; cower.
2. To behave in a servile way; fawn.
n.
An act or instance of cringing.

Can you show me where I said anything like that directed at you? Show me the "thrown elbows" you're claiming.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:00 PM on May 05

I've already said which meaning of the word I intended, which carried no insult. Ever heard of the phrase cringe-inducing? Your original comment is a perfect example of cringing at something your countrymen are doing.

posted by rcade at 03:24 PM on May 05

Number 3 from your link:
3. Informal
a. to wince in embarrassment or distaste
b. to experience a sudden feeling of embarrassment or distaste

posted by tron7 at 03:30 PM on May 05

In a story analyzing the psychological reasons people took to the streets, the New York Times offers another reason: "The news hit just as many bars were starting to clear out for the night."

I'll drink to that.

posted by rcade at 08:53 PM on May 05

Hit it with a smile! The Mavs are up 2-0!

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:18 AM on May 06

"The news hit just as many bars were starting to clear out for the night."

That's kinda what it seemed like to me, too, looking at a lot of the pictures. You can't really expect a different reaction by people who have been drinking for hours to news like that.

Also, if military personnel want to celebrate in any manner under the sun, I totally get it.

posted by dyams at 09:14 AM on May 06

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