Michael Moore's "Some Final Thoughts on the Death of Osama bin Laden"

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142 Responses to “Michael Moore's "Some Final Thoughts on the Death of Osama bin Laden"”

  1. Drabula says:

    I second Strabo.
    This piece has really stirred up some jingoism. We can all agree to dislike Osama and his ilk but it seems as though the fact that he succeeded in helping knock the USA off it’s rocker causes some folks to get defensive about it and try to obscure the issue.

  2. gorski says:

    why does anyone care what MM’s opinion is on anything, and this topic in particular? – while he may be (some say so) a good story teller / movie maker if you like melodrama and inaccuracy, he does not present intelligent cohesive arguments – he utilizes classic used-car-salesman tactics by presenting leading questions that seem to make sense then ties those loosely related “yes” answers into a conclusion – before you know it you’re brainlessly driving down the street in your pinto believing it’s a classic car – oh, and believing that the us government planned 911…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think the world became a better place… Our immediate want for vengeance after 9/11 lead to over 100,000 thousand civilians dead in Iraq alone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War The amount maimed and and injured is probably higher.

    And I think the complete corruption of our values was when we decided we had the exclusive right to torture people, the same forms of torture that we used to demand war crime charges for. We’ve tarnished our image as a nation, how has that made the world any better?

  4. skeletoncityrepeater says:

    I love Michael Moore. It’s too bad his tendency to rant and rave sometimes puts little holes in his credibility. The general point of this article is just fine. It’s too bad people need to pick at the little flaws in what looks like a quickly written editorial. Why don’t we instead pick at the flaws and inconsistencies in the holy books of the world that make our wars possible?

    • Teller says:

      Because writing a holy book takes a lion soul but writing a Moore piece only takes an ass soul. hahahacoughcough

  5. teapot says:

    News flash to all the gasbags in this thread who think people care/respect their hipsterlicious Moore-bashing:
    Stop being cranky that someone you oppose has infinitely more power and influence than you. I have much more respect for Moore than some random turd on the internet ewaxing lyrical.

  6. Anonymous says:

    My question to Boingers is; would you be okay with it if the US sent a team of SEALs into the UK to kill someone like say Julian Assange?
    Also;
    With all the talk and questions around this Osama incident, not once have I read anyone ask the question, was he shot in the front or the back of the head?
    This answer alone would speak volumes.

  7. rastronomicals says:

    ObL was commonly understood in the West to represent Islam, or at least an extremist branch thereof. ObL understood himself to represent Islam. And he wished to be perceived as representing Islam.

    Michael Moore and half the people commmenting here can play word games all they like, but there is no doubt that ObL represented the religion he professed to practice. He believed he did so, he wanted us to believe he did so, and we did in fact believe he did so.

    To say nothing of the followers he managed to attract, who also bought in.

    Maybe he wasn’t a Muslim, whatever. But he represented them in his mind, in their minds, and in ours. It’s all that matters.

    The painting may not be the pipe, but it’ll do as a representation in the mind’s eye.

    Touched on briefly already, but worth emphasizing, is the irony that both Michael Moore and his archenemy George Bush have found it politically convenient to insist that Al Qaeda declared war on us to “destroy our freedoms.”

    Propaganda from the left is equivalent to propaganda from the right. Al Qaeda declared jihad on us because we obstructed their ultimate goal of restoring the Caliphate.

    End of story.

  8. glaborous immolate says:

    If Al Qaeda members aren’t muslims, why do we worry about being scrupulous about their religious beliefs when they get locked up in Gunatanamo?

  9. Wally Ballou says:

    “Russia was kept conveniently to the side at certain points so Germany couldn’t point a finger at them for the same crimes”

    Winners make the rules. Always have, always will.

  10. archmagetrexasaurus says:

    If a crazy person started running around mass-killing people, and he did so while wearing a Wal-Mart blazer and praising Wal-Mart, we wouldn’t automatically call him a Wal-Mart leader or say that Wal-Mart was the philosophy behind his killings, would we?

    I would.

    I get what’s being said here, but I would totally blame Wal-Mart. Just saying.

  11. ill lich says:

    I think most of what Moore has to say here is reasonable. I know there are people who hate him, and so when they see he said this piece will pick it apart. That’s hardly reasonable.

    I don’t think the “no true Scotsman” fallacy applies here. What Moore really means is “bin Laden does NOT speak for ALL Muslims” and we have inadvertently been giving him more respect than he deserves. Pamela Gellar and others automatically assume all Muslims are terrorists, and by calling bin Laden a “Muslim leader” we have played into that fear as well, fueling hatred on both sides. The Pope may speak for all Catholics, but he does not speak for all Christians. Similarly though bin Laden spoke for a certain sector of Islam, he did not speak for all Muslims, and certainly not a majority of Muslims. But (surprise surprise) a lot of Americans seem to think he spoke for all Muslims.

  12. Kosmoid says:

    “We did exactly what bin Laden said he wanted us to do: Give up our freedoms (like the freedom to be assumed innocent until proven guilty), engage our military in Muslim countries so that we will be hated by Muslims…”

    I thought it’s generally accepted that 9/11 was in retaliation for Americans troops being in Saudi Arabia.

    • mraverage says:

      Kosmoid; Re the reason for 911: It’s probably more complicated than that. Maybe add he was pissed off that the Saudi Government went with the US military instead of the taliban to run the Iraqis out of Kuwait and that he didn’t get any godless American poon when he was in college here, There is also the possibility that he was (or is) a tool for the owners class to scare us into trading our prosperity and freedom for a richer and more powerful military-industrial complex.

      • Enormo says:

        “and that he didn’t get any godless American poon when he was in college here”

        +1 for many reasons

    • trommelkopf says:

      It may well have been at least partly in retaliation for American troops being in Saudi Arabia, but there also seems to have been an underlying wish to bankrupt the US through the events of 9/11 – and OBL knew that he had the potential to achieve that end.

      “…in October 2004 bin Laden said that just as the Arab fighters and Afghan mujaheddin had destroyed Russia economically, al Qaeda was now doing the same to the United States, ‘continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.’ ” ~ from Ezra Klein’s WaPo article (Osama bin Laden didn’t win, but he was ‘enormously successful’) 5/2/11.

      • Wally Ballou says:

        It may well have been at least partly in retaliation for American troops being in Saudi Arabia

        Another injustice which OBL wanted to avenge was the driving of Muslims out of “al-Iberia” in the fifteenth century, an event for which Bush, Blair, and Cheney have yet to properly atone.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, and our right-wingers are still upset about the fall of the Byzantine Empire and Balkan countries to the Muslims. No wait, that’s just rhetoric some of them use to play up the idea of an endless culture war, not an actual motivation.

  13. sn00py says:

    Look, all you guys, the final word is this. The Godfather Part II is an excellent movie, but it is *not* better than The Godfather.
    Thank you.

  14. Anonymous says:

    in before “MICHAEL MOORE IS FAT LOL OMG HE USES EDITING”

  15. MarkM says:

    Michael Moore’s argument seems to be “OBL is a psychopath, so he
    cannot be a Muslim.” Well, he’s a floorwax AND a dessert topping–
    wait, I mean, psychopath and a Muslim.

    The problem with Moore’s argument is, its only true if you believe
    it to be true. The only real test if someone is a Muslim is:
    Do they say they are a Muslim. By that standard, Yes, OBL is a
    Muslim, as is anyone else who declares themselves a Muslim.

    Moore also claims OBL “referenced Islam, he wasn’t really quoting
    Islam.” Well, wrong again: I’m sure OBL did indeed quote Islam.
    But so what? I can quote the Bible to kill unbelievers and gays,
    it’s not the quoting that matter, it’s my citing and acting upon
    those archaic quotes that causes problems.

    By this same argument, is Yigal Amir, the religiously-motivated
    assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, not a Jew?

  16. johnofjack says:

    I agree with a lot of what he’s saying but can’t get on board with his “No True Scotsman” fallacy. If the KKK and Terry Jones are actually Christians simply because they say they are–and nevermind how little their actions resemble those of Christ–then bin Laden is certainly also a Muslim simply because he says so. In fact, the case is even stronger for bin Laden being Muslim because stating ‘there is no god but God, and Mohammed is the Messenger of God,’ in front of witnesses, is actually what makes you Muslim. There is no such requirement in Christianity, though baptism is a common ceremony.

  17. Jonathan Badger says:

    Moore seems unfamiliar here with the “No True Scotsman fallacy”. You can’t rationally define a category to exclude self-identifying members that fail to live up to some theoretical ideal of how they “ought” to be. If people calling themselves Christians, Muslims, Marxists, Anarchists, or indeed the hypothetical Wall-Mart-ists, perform vile deeds in the name of their label, that reflects on their beliefs.

    • Cowicide says:

      Moore seems unfamiliar here with the “No True Scotsman fallacy”. You can’t rationally define a category to exclude self-identifying members that fail to live up to some theoretical ideal of how they “ought” to be. If people calling themselves Christians, Muslims, Marxists, Anarchists, or indeed the hypothetical Wall-Mart-ists, perform vile deeds in the name of their label, that reflects on their beliefs.

      Maybe it’s not Moore that need to familiarize himself with facts, it’s you?

      The “Scotsman fallacy” sounds really smart…. except it doesn’t apply here. Timothy McViegh stated he was a Christian and he was heavily influenced by the christian identity movement. So why didn’t Amerikkka call him a Christian terrorist?

      Get it?

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        The connection between McViegh and Christianity was pretty weak compared to his right-wing anti “big-government” motivations, so not a great example of a Christian terrorist. But there have been plenty of Christian terrorists that have blown up abortion clinics and shot doctors in the name of their religion. There the connection between the violence and is unmistakable. It doesn’t matter if only a minority of Christians feel that way about abortion — without the religious motivation these crimes would not be committed, so it is disingenuous to excuse the religion.

        • Cowicide says:

          The connection between McViegh and Christianity was pretty weak compared to his right-wing anti “big-government” motivations, so not a great example of a Christian terrorist.

          Maybe “right-wing terrorist” would be the proper moniker?

        • Cowicide says:

          The connection between McViegh and Christianity was pretty weak

          And I think the majority of Muslims around the entire planet think the connection between Osama and their faith is quite weak as well.

          Once again.. the double-standard is bullshit.

    • Tdawwg says:

      Moore isn’t pointing out that Osama wasn’t a Muslim, just that his actions misrepresented Islam and weren’t in accordance with its tenets. Thus, the Scotsman fallacy doesn’t apply: there’s no criteria that could rule out one’s Scotsmanness, whereas one’s behavior, beliefs, willingness to profess Muhammed as the prophet of Allah, etc., all define “true” Muslims. Following the fallacy, one can be a rapist and not eat haggis and still be a Scotsman: but a Muslim who kills wantonly is, while still a Muslim, not a Muslim to the degree that Muslims who don’t kill wantonly are Muslims. The issue at stake is degree, not kind: while “true” is a very problematic idea, one can speak of greater or lesser adherence to the tenets of a religion.

      Following your logic, my actions anywhere would reflect on all the groups and ideas I affiliate myself with, which is patently false: I’m a Boinger by virtue of posting here, but none of my actions can be taken as a referendum on Happy Mutanthood.

    • Anonymous says:

      That fallacy does not apply here. Nobody, least of all Michael Moore, is saying “Osama Bin Laden is not a Muslim, therefore we should not blame Muslims for terrorist acts.”

      What is being said is that Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist acts are not based on his being a Muslim, nor attributable to Islam as a whole.

      Let’s say our crazy Wal-mart blazer wearing criminal is, in fact, a Wal-Mart employee. The point here is that it doesn’t matter, and you can’t assume that because he is a Wal-Mart employee Wal-Mart encourages or is responsible for crazed behavior.

  18. awjtawjt says:

    We are Rome. Our empire will eventually be divided. Half will flourish and half will wither and be taken over by the Ottomans. The office of President of the United States will gradually devolve and be purchased by an obscure nation. In a thousand years, the Brazilian heirs to the office of President of the United States and the Holy Roman Empire will be stripped of their privileges and live lives of obscurity as teachers and railroad workers. That’s how it always goes.

    A

  19. Porf says:

    When is Moore going to realize that most people don’t care what the hell he has to say? Between the heavily edited propaganda he calls documentaries and the stupidity that flows from his mouth, you’d think he STFU and go crawl in a hole like most of America wishes he would.

    • Cowicide says:

      When is Moore going to realize that most people don’t care what the hell he has to say? Between the heavily edited propaganda he calls documentaries and the stupidity that flows from his mouth, you’d think he STFU and go crawl in a hole like most of America wishes he would.

      Porf… showing the world that once again many of the Michael Moore detractors are ignorant mouthbreathers affected directly (or indirectly) by right wing media FUD instead of the preponderance of facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, you’re saying no one cares what he has to say? Then why did you access the webpage, take the time to read AND comment?

    • dculberson says:

      Actually, reading the full Moore post, this was some of the more thoughtful and intelligent musings on Osama’s death that I’ve read anywhere. Comparing it to your post is a pretty humorous exercise. Don’t speak for me or the rest of America.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, hundreds of thousands apparently do care what he says. Let’s see, all those people who’ve gone to see his films, watched his earlier TV show, read the magazine articles and books he’s written, and more.

      But do people care what you think? I doubt it. OK, maybe to point out the absurdity of your comment. Not much else. Enjoy your non-popularity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, he wouldn’t crawl in a hole because he is multi-millionaire. I’m just saying.

  20. GlenBlank says:

    When was it we started ’rounding up Muslims’?

    • Anonymous says:

      Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Registration

      List of countries whose citizens required special registration:

      Group 1: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria
      Group 2: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen
      Group 3: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia
      Group 4: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait

      All Muslim majority populations; and most with Islam as state religion.

    • Eric Ragle says:

      Guantanamo.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Can we please stop saying that Al Queda wants us to “lose our freedom”? It has NEVER been about that. They don’t give a damn about what we do here. Their stated objective was to get Western interference out of nations like Saudi Arabia and turn them into their ideal of Islamic Caliphates. They don’t care if we stand in lines for flights getting groped and having our luggage looted by examiners. We can’t imagine that we aren’t the center of the universe, it MUST be about us, right? It was always about them and we happened to be in their way.

    • Fwrk says:

      The Guardian published an open letter (reportedly) by bin Laden to the “American people” (really, the West in general), the letter is in two parts – the first part explains why he is “fighting and opposing” the Americans.

      In the second part he lays out what he wants from Americans – forced conversion of the populace to (his strict) interpretation Islam, and the denunciation of “immoral” acts, such as homosexuality, gambling, working women and usury. Americans out of Saudi Arabia is much further down the list, lower then America’s refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty!

      So yes, AQ and OBL both are deeply opposed to the freedoms of the West, and the removal of these is exactly what motivates them.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You’re smoking some serious drugs if you think the US actually wanted to capture bin OBL at any point. You set him up for either a farce of a trial or a trial that will take a decade. You set him up to have a mouthpiece in Western media. The US doesn’t want to do that.

    He was executed. It was the pragmatic thing to do.

    *ahem* innocent until proven guilty *ahem*
    Oh right, the US doesn’t apply any of its philosophy to… well anyone, including citizens.

  23. Ugly Canuck says:

    The closest legal analog to the Bin Laden operation is the Admiral Yamamoto operation of World war II.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Yamamoto#Death

    Mr Bin Laden knew what the stakes were and what losing meant when he decided to sit down and chose the game he chose.

    No tears from me over this one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VrTSF-v8Vs

  24. Kimmo says:

    Sure, Moore has been known to play fast and loose with the odd fact, but given it’s just fine for conservative commentators to do the same, it occurs to me after watching George Lakoff on The Political Mind (1:05), that the main reason he cops so much vitriolic heckling is that he’s one of the only guys out there doing anything much to re-frame the political landscape in favour of the progressive view.

  25. weatherman says:

    That is some of the more nonsensical analysis I’ve seen coming from Michael Moore. He has his moments, but this is not one of them. I agree that there are many seriously deleterious effects from our “war on terror” but it’s a foolish proposition to liken Osama bin Laden’s connection to Islam to a Wal-Mart employee wearing a blue vest.

    Osama bin Laden, al Queda, and the Taliban all use their ideology and interpretation of Islam as the core reason behind their actions. It’s one version of Islam. There are other versions, that some people would say are more correct, that don’t advocate violence. The vast majority of Muslims adhere to the latter than the former, which is great. But to suggest that there is no connection is absurd, and short sighted since it is the claim to religious mandate that makes this brand of terror so destructive, and what gives al Queda so much recruiting power.

    This idea that war is “only between nations” and that anyone who is not of a nation deserves a trial is equally absurd. Wars are fought between peoples; they can be peoples of different nationality, ethnicity, or ideology but they are all wars. The idea that war is between nations is a modern concept, and it comes with modern rules adopted by the nations who may fight in those wars. The rules stipulate, among other things, that trials be held for prisoners of war. But Osama bin Laden was not a prisoner of war, and he did not follow the rules of war that would allow him to be afforded those protections.
    Bin Laden isn’t required to be brought in and given a trial like a US citizen would be any more than a Taliban soldier firing on US troops would be required to have his Miranda rights read to him before the US troops could return fire; bin Laden was an active combatant in a leadership position and was therefore a legitimate military target. The troops who made the raid were not required to bring him in alive. Perhaps had he surrendered – waived the white flag, so to speak, he might have been taken in to custody. But our troops are not required to wait until a target does that – there is no waiting period on the battlefield. And once again, even this whole notion of a white flag is one that goes back to the laws of war which bin Laden himself did not follow. President Obama had every authority to order bin Laden killed just as President Truman ordered the death of German soldiers and commanders during World War II.

    America has done much in the last 10 years to forget our core principles and respect for freedom and for others, and that has tarnished our reputation significantly. But killing Osama bin Laden is not something that has contributed to this; the world is a better place for not having Osama bin Laden around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually during WWII troops were given the chance to surrender on many occasions and were treated relatively decently by the western allies. Here’s hoping you are treated better in life than you would treat others.

      • Rayonic says:

        Actually during WWII troops were given the chance to surrender on many occasions and were treated relatively decently by the western allies. Here’s hoping you are treated better in life than you would treat others.

        Iraqi soldiers had pretty good surrender rates too. Probably a much better death/surrender ratio than WWII.

        That’s because those surrendering soldiers were believed to be actually surrendering and not laying a trap. Al Qaeda crossed that line one too many times, so they don’t get the benefit of the doubt. Waving a white flag from a foxhole doesn’t cut for them anymore.

        Osama bin Laden had plenty of time to surrender peacefully. Years in fact. If you wait until SEALs are storming your secret hideout then it might be too late.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe we could have hired a thief to catch a thief instead of becoming one.

    • Tdawwg says:

      Love the “waived the white flag” typo: Osama “waived” his right to surrender decades ago. :D

    • Anonymous says:

      But killing Osama bin Laden is not something that has contributed to this; the world is a better place for not having Osama bin Laden around.

      Osama bin Laden was around in the 1990s, and he’s dead now. It didn’t seem to fix anything; America, at least, is noticeably worse than it was then.

    • querent says:

      “Bin Laden isn’t required to be brought in and given a trial like a US citizen would be any more than a Taliban soldier firing on US troops would be required to have his Miranda rights read to him before the US troops could return fire….”

      Domestically, no reading of the Miranda rights is required before the cops can return fire. And bin Laden was unarmed. So this analogy fails on two counts.

      “And once again, even this whole notion of a white flag is one that goes back to the laws of war which bin Laden himself did not follow.”

      Not sure that matters, but I am not an international law lawyer. To follow the domestic law enforcement analogy, the cops are not required to only follow the law if the criminals only follow the law. By definition that makes no sense.

      “President Obama had every authority to order bin Laden killed just as President Truman ordered the death of German soldiers and commanders during World War II.”

      Many such commanders were tried and hung for their crimes. And from what I can tell (after the lies about returned fire and human shields cleared), the same could have happened here.

      (And, of course, Truman killed more civilians than bin Laden ever even attempted.)

      • Wally Ballou says:

        (And, of course, Truman killed more civilians than bin Laden ever even attempted.)

        This might be a good place to list the names of all the American, British, and Australian soldiers and sailors and all the Japanese soldiers, sailors, and civilians killed in Operations Coronet and Olympic, the 1946 invasion of the Japanese home islands.

        Here they are:

  26. OldBrownSquirrel says:

    The “No True Scotsman” fallacy reminds me of the recent debate as to whether Anonymous was responsible for the PSN intrusion.

  27. Mondongo says:

    No, the world is not a better place without Osama. We have seen the president of the “land of the free” celebrate that a person was killed, without trial, on a sovereign country.

    They have gone to war to Afghanistan and Iraq on the pretense of “bringing democracy”. But at the same time they don’t think twice about having people detained in Guantánamo without trial, they don’t think twice about going to another country to assassinate people.

    The world is a WORSE place now, because you’re not safe from the US military anywhere. Given enough excuse, they will fly a SEALS team to your home and kill you. How’s that for secure? Not much.

    • cleek says:

      “The world is a WORSE place now, because you’re not safe from the US military anywhere. ”

      care to explain why the leader of a group responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans should be “safe from the US military anywhere” ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because it isn’t just about him. Now if you dare rebel against the US in any form, anywhere, you can be murdered. Try looking past this one event.

      • Mondongo says:

        There are international courts, there is international law. The right course of action would have been to take Osama to trial. But the SEALS went there to KILL Osama. How do you feel comfortable with that?

        To answer your loaded question, EVERYONE should be safe from the US military. Justice should come in the form of a trial, for everyone in the world. But the US military sends the message, loud and clear, that the only lives that matter are the ones of US citizens. So at the same time they are so incredible humanitarian that they take upon themselves the role of world protectors (bringing democracy wherever there’s oil!) and they are so incredibly selfish that they only care for their own.

        Tell the thousands of “collateral damage” lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan that the world is a safer place now. Or just tell me, for that matter. Care to explain that?

        • cleek says:

          “But the SEALS went there to KILL Osama.”

          says you and your ability to read military orders that haven’t been made public. or maybe you can rad minds. either way, i call BS.

          “Tell the thousands of “collateral damage” lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan that the world is a safer place now. Or just tell me, for that matter. Care to explain that?”

          sorry, but i’m not going to beat up your strawmen for you. thanks for the offer, though. OBL is not an Iraqi civilian. and he was not an innocent nobody sitting unfairly targeted by the US military.

          • Mondongo says:

            You are right. I cannot read military orders. And you are also right about the Iraqi civilians. Let’s push those out of the way.

            What about a democratic president CELEBRATING the death of an individual? He should be lamenting that Osama couldn’t be brought to trial. How bloodthirsty have US citizens become, as a nation, to celebrate death? This is just “eye for an eye” — it’s barbaric, in my humble opinion.

          • Tdawwg says:

            How was Obama celebrating? He has that beaming smile on nearly all the damn time. To me he seemed restrained and grave, Presidential, etc. Maybe you’re projecting? And why would he choose to lament the SEALs having killed Osama publicly? He’s their commander, rather bad form to complain about their job performance in front of the entire world….

            Those I personally witnessed celebrating at Ground Zero that night are another matter, but many of them had been personally affected by 9-11. Who are you, who is anyone, to tell them their celebrating of a murder’s death–a murderer who killed their friends, family, loved ones–is inappropriate? The mood was far less bloodthirsty than cathartic and jubilant, BTW: less a reveling in his blood having been shed than that he was gone, a city’s personal nightmare over, a page having been turned, part of the “war” having been won.

          • Tdawwg says:

            Full disclosure: I cheered lustily and chanted USA USA when the Nazgul lord gets killed by Eowyn at the end of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, so I am perhaps not a perfect authority when it comes to the aptness or not of celebrating the death of evil tyrant demon-king types. And my heart thrilled to the reports of Qadaffi’s possibly having been wounded by NATO bombs. So do carry on with your hectoring.

          • Mondongo says:

            Evil tyrant demon-king types belong only to works of fiction. There aren’t any of those in real life, it’s just convenient for the people in power to portray them that way.

            No war has been won here. Some crazy guy was behind the operation that killed over three thousand people in 9/11. Because of that, many many more have been killed in Middle East. There’s no winning, ever — nobody wins when people die.

            If anything, the US should use their immense military power to ensure that nobody dies. But they don’t do that — they just go around killing for revenge and chanting ‘U-S-A’ when somebody dies, as if life was nothing but a bad movie.

          • Tdawwg says:

            Ooo, you walked right into that one: witness Alexander, Gengis Khan, Hitler (an archetype for Tolkein’s Sauron, BTW), Pol Pot, Osama. Real people who embrace myth and outsized power to become, essentially, fictional characters: demons, bogeyman, monsters. Osama’s elevation beyond mass-murdering criminal into America’s Satan couldn’t have been accomplished without his having done a fair deal to earn his quasi-mythic status.

            The war against Osama’s branch of Al Qaeda has most definitely been won. Looks like you missed that part. Today’s bombing in Pakistan shows the larger “war”–the struggle against political violence and terror waged by nation states against non-state actors–is far from over. Indeed, Osama’s death may have been a setback in this larger struggle. Since history seems challenging to you, perhaps you could read the Baghavad Gita or Virgil’s Aeneid on the necessities for action, for the terrifying need to choose sides in historical conflicts, and the immense humanity of those who bloody their hands so that future hands may embrace the works of peace. Wailing about what should be from the sidelines is an incredibly privileged position that I hope you can afford to maintain, wearying though it is.

            Using military power for peacekeeping ends will necessarily result in blood being shed and in people dying. Jain monks make terrible statesmen. And life is often a bad movie: this was Osama’s lesson on 9-11-2001 when he turned my city into a Hollywood set and plunged so many of us into a decade-long special-effects nightmare. Indeed, this was his intent, although he didn’t use these words. Cf. “spectacular terror.”

          • cleek says:

            “What about a democratic president CELEBRATING the death of an individual?”

            where has he done that? got a link?

            in all the footage i’ve seen of him talking about the issue (the first announcement, the DC dinner,speech to the troops, 60 minutes, etc), he’s as somber as he can be while talking about it. even when the people around him are standing and cheering and whooping it up when he mentions what happened, he doesn’t join in.

            “How bloodthirsty have US citizens become, as a nation, to celebrate death?”

            become? we were never otherwise.

        • Nadreck says:

          There are international courts, there is international law.

          What courts? What law? The International Justice Tribunal was formed long after the Kenyan bombings and 9/11 and only claims jurisdiction to a year after 9/11. You’d have had to invent a special court to try him in. He’d have died of old age, just like Milosevic did, before any farcical “trial” was finished. What would such a trial have proven? Even if you’re a nut-bar “Truther” about 9/11 there’s no doubt at all about him blowing the legs off of about 300 beggars in the Kenyan bombing. He gleefully admitted it in more than one video.

          What laws were broken here? The internationally accepted rules of warfare have, for centuries, been in place to minimise (not eliminate, because that’s impossible) the slaughter of non-combatants: period. As such you have to adhere to them yourself before you’re covered by them – there’s no point at all in a one-way street on this. Osama’s Billionaire Boys Club made no effort to distinguish themselves from the civilian population and in fact went out of their way to blend in so as to cause the maximum collateral damage. All it would have taken is to for them to have all worn green earrings and publicised the fact that this was their “uniform” and there’d be room for debate here.

          As for the SEALs being “sent in to kill him”, that’s not clear at all. If you’re inside “Mr. Suicide Bomber”‘s HQ in the middle of the night and you run into him you have to assume that he’s wearing TNT underwear. He loudly and frequently boasted that he’d never be taken alive. I was initially surprised that a *really* big bomb in the basement wasn’t set off but it turned out that he felt so secure with the guarantees made to him by his Pakistani employers that he hadn’t bothered to set one up. If they’d caught him in the shower it would be reasonable to capture him; if not then not. He, and not the SEALs, set up the conditions that made his capture impossible. He died the way he wanted to die: a Drama Queen until the end.

          • Mondongo says:

            We should strive for a world where nobody dies unless it’s in an accident. War should be condemned. Capital punishment should be abolished. We live in the 21st century, we split atoms, we can chat like this over the internet — there’s no excuse for anybody dying of hunger, thirst, sickness, war, anything, other than pure greed and a total lack of empathy.

            You’re just celebrating that a killer died, and in doing that you’re celebrating death.

            Death should never be celebrated. And killers should get justice and a long life to reflect on what they did to society and to others.

            If you’d rather see Osama dead than in prison, and if you are truly glad that another human being has died, then there’s no point in arguing any longer — we live in different worlds. And if somebody kills you tomorrow, you don’t have any means to complain, since that’s your world: kill or be killed.

          • Anonymous says:

            World Court formed after 9/11???? Can the world revolve any more around the US? Please!

            Wisdom of wikipedia:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Court_of_Justice

            Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice.

    • randomguy says:

      I’m sorry, but the most appropriate rebuttal to comments like yours is a slap delivered not out of malice but rather in the hopes that it will wake you up.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mondongo is awake. He or she presumably thinks the death of Obama, which has been admitted to have less practical consequence than symbolic value, is of less importance for the future than the open endorsement of assassination as a political tool, regardless of how much this particular target may have deserved it. Is that so obviously stupid to worry about?

      • Strabo says:

        I just love substantive replies.

    • mn_camera says:

      Yes, in fact the world is a better place without bin Laden.

      Qualitatively, the removal of one person who demonstrably advocates, sponsors, facilitates, and applauds mass murder for ostensibly political or social/religious ends is a net positive.

      That this removal was extra-judicial doesn’t bother me all that much.

      And if you care as much about due process as you want us to believe, there are lots of people here – tens of thousands, conservatively – being denied it in multiple instances due to their social and economic status. Care to get involved in remedying any of that?

      Or does “headline value” shape your concept of justice?

      • Mondongo says:

        “Here”? Why do you assume I am an US citizen? There are tons of people that need help here where I live and I *do* help them, any way I can — why do you assume I don’t?

        What I’m saying is very clear: justice, as an entity, shouldn’t stoop to the level of the criminal. I’m not denying Osama as a mass murderer, but if you kill him like a dog instead of bringing him to justice, you’re just like him.

  28. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    Great article. But the rest of the world was exactly the same (minus the dead Osama)more seven years ago: Osama won the moment the USA took their citizens rights as hostages on the War on Terror.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think there’s any “True Scotsman Fallacy” involved at all, I think what he’s driving at is that whatever religion Osama claims to be a member of, his actions do not reflect the views and beliefs of the majority of that religion, but a good portion of the western world has just assumed that it does because it’s what he cites when carrying out his crimes.

    It’d be like someone assuming that all Christians are white supremacists because the KKK praises Jesus while murdering, defiling, and generally being buttheads. Or assuming that all Christians are anti-semites because of what the Nazis did during World War 2.

  30. another expat says:

    For those allergic to Michael Moore (you guys should really stop eating so many poptarts) and his take on OBL, Glenn Greenwald says it better:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/05/13/nuremberg/index.html

    Extra bonus: the trolls there are even less intelligent than here.

    MODERATOR NOTE:
    DON’T USE URL SHORTENERS
    YOUR COMMENT WILL NOT APPEAR

  31. Patrick Nielsen Hayden says:

    “Moore seems unfamiliar here with the ‘No True Scotsman fallacy’. You can’t rationally define a category to exclude self-identifying members that fail to live up to some theoretical ideal of how they ‘ought’ to be.”

    Moore would be committing the “No True Scotsman” fallacy if he were categorically asserting that no true Muslim would commit murder. But he’s not asserting any such thing. To the contrary, he’s simply observing that it’s foolish for us to believe that OBL and Al Qaeda stand for some kind of super-exemplary, extra-authentic, more-truly-Islamic kind of Islam, based entirely on their say-so.

    “If people calling themselves Christians, Muslims, Marxists, Anarchists, or indeed the hypothetical Wall-Mart-ists, perform vile deeds in the name of their label, that reflects on their beliefs.”

    No it doesn’t; it just means that being a Christian, Muslim, Marxist, Anarchist, or Wal-Martist doesn’t inoculate you from the human capacity for vile deeds. Which is the point of the whole No True Scotsman thing: it’s fallacious to claim that any of these affiliations automatically makes us better people. However, it’s just as fallacious to claim that because a couple of Wal-Martists run mad and shoot up a crowd, Wal-Martism is inherently a death cult that promotes murder. (Pethaps it is, but you need better evidence than that in order to make a case.)

    • Jonathan Badger says:

      No it doesn’t; it just means that being a Christian, Muslim, Marxist, Anarchist, or Wal-Martist doesn’t inoculate you from the human capacity for vile deeds.

      This would only true if the probability of vile deeds and their type was statistically independent of affiliation. But this isn’t so. It is clear that certain crimes are motivated out of political or religious affiliation and would not be committed otherwise. Why is Marxism a fringe movement today? Largely because of vile acts done out of a idea that they were furthering the proletarian revolution. The Bolsheviks didn’t murder the kulaks as part the general human capacity for vile deeds; they did so out of a belief that this was what was required by their ideology. Same thing with religious violence.

    • Stooge says:

      Moore would be committing the “No True Scotsman” fallacy if he were categorically asserting that no true Muslim would commit murder. But he’s not asserting any such thing. To the contrary, he’s simply observing that it’s foolish for us to believe that OBL and Al Qaeda stand for some kind of super-exemplary, extra-authentic, more-truly-Islamic kind of Islam, based entirely on their say-so.

      But it’s not based on their say-so, it’s based on the level of support they have amongst Muslims. For example, in Indonesian, 26% of Muslims (who make up close to 90% of the population) were of the view that OSL was a swell guy who had the right idea. No party polled above 21% in the most recent parliamentary elections there. And that’s this year, when OSL’s support has continued the decline of recent years, never mind about his heyday in 2003-2005, when an absolute majority of Muslims in Indonesia, Pakistan, Jordan, Nigeria and the Palestinian territories supported him.

      If Muslims are happy to claim him as one of their own, who is Moore to say otherwise?

  32. rebdav says:

    It was never Islam, but the Wahabists Running Saudi accupied Arabia and missionizing their special hate to the Muslim world, Arab nationalists blaming Zionists for the money they stole and hid in Switzerland, and Shiite thugs spreading power from crumbling Iran.
    They all exploit the passages in the Quran against Jews and sometimes Christians. They exploit the massive bits of cultural gap that most on both sides will never even begin to grasp and twist it into hate. They distract the populace with wars and rumors instead of bread and circuses, its cheaper that way.
    They never mention that the Quran actually commands the Jews to live in their Zionist entity in peace or that Jesus was revered in the Quran as a great prophet nearly on the level of Muhammed.
    In the middle ages the Catholic church and European nobles used similar hate tactics to mobilize a whole continent and wage horrible genocidal campaigns for power and profit killing more Jews and Orthodox Christians than Muslims.
    The middle east will continue to be full of nations played as pawns to the price of oil, Israel will continue to be played as a boogy man or sometimes a bribe to the manipulated Arab nations.
    The wars 9-11, 1991, 2003, Iran-Iraq war, all the suffering so Americans can drive SUV’s and millionaires in the first world can skip in line for first class seating on jumbo or better yet private jets.

    • Tdawwg says:

      Al Qaeda’s manipulation of anti-Semitism aside, Israel has done a few things to incur honest anger in the Muslim world: that Arab nations have used the Palestinian issue as a stalking horse and a means to incite anti-Israel sentiment doesn’t erase over seventy years of genocidal ethnic cleansing in the Occupied Territories. Sometimes the boogyman is indeed terrifying: witness Osama, whose true power has been vastly overstated by the military-industrial cabal, yet who was indeed the leader of a criminal conspiracy and a mass murderer.

      The saddest thing about Qutbism is its misreading of the jihad sections of the Qu’ran, which are simply Allah’s licensing Mohammed and his followers to struggle against the polytheists of Mecca and Medina who were hellbent on destroying the early Muslims. Willfully misreading those sections out of context has permitted them to claim that anyone anywhere is potentially a threat to be destroyed by all true believers. As always, critical contextual close-readings are necessary.

  33. ackpht says:

    Who benefits from all this? That’s the question we should be asking. Yet all people can argue about is the religious and patriotic camouflage.

    We’re all being suckered- Moore is right about that.

  34. Strabo says:

    Ack. A thousand apologies for the UBB style text formatting tags instead of HTML.

  35. petertrepan says:

    I can’t see why terrorists would care about civilian freedoms in the United States. If they wanted to demonstrate that they hate civil freedom, they could as easily have flown into the Statue of Liberty. The fact that they chose the Trade Towers and Pentagon suggests to me that they hate our military industrial complex. It’s easier to see why they would hate that. I’ll state here for the benefit of future House UnAmerican Activities hearings that I disapprove of terrorism — but it’s not going to kill us to think carefully about the motives of terrorists.

  36. Anonymous says:

    He was a multimillionaire crime boss (using religion as his cover), and those guys just don’t live in caves.

    …….. has this guy never watched a Bond film? All the multimillionaire crime bosses live in secret super high tech caves full of minions. Admittedly it would have made the Seals’ job a lot easier if the placed simply blew up on request.

  37. double_tilly says:

    Snips from Obama’s speech (with commentary by yours truly):

    “We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.”

    I don’t think assassination has anything to do with the values of the U.S.

    Also, wasn’t there a large and vocal contingency of 9/11 families who were against war and violent retaliation?

    “Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”

    I do not like living in a country where assassination is a measure of greatness.

    “But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.”

    The pursuit of prosperity for our people, eh? How many people do we have living below the poverty line? Out of work? Without health care? In failing communities with failing schools?

    Our commitment to stand up for our values abroad? How is this about our values?! I don’t get the connection. Is standing up for our values abroad the new code for colonizing?

    “Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    Great. Jingoism. This is jingoism, right?

    “Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.”

    For some reason, this part of the speech chilled me more than usual.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Nobody ever sings the second verse of the national anthem:

      Then conquer we must
      when our cause it is just
      and this be our motto
      “In God is our trust.”

    • noen says:

      double tilly: — I don’t think assassination has anything to do with the values of the U.S.

      OBL wasn’t assassinated. He was killed on the battlefield.

      I do not like living in a country where assassination is a measure of greatness.

      Knee jerk Leftist anti-Americanism. Just as ugly as right-wing jingoism.

      How is this about our values?! I don’t get the connection.

      Lemme ‘splain to ya then. We value life. Al Qeada does not. They have declared war on us. We have the right to defend ourselves.

      This is jingoism, right?

      No, it isn’t.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        OBL wasn’t assassinated. He was killed on the battlefield.

        For generations to come, children will sit wide-eyed while their elders tell them the tale of the Battle of the Barcalounger and how the brave Soldiers of the Light were in mortal danger of being killed if one of their bullets accidentally hit the Dark Lord’s oxygen tank.

      • Anonymous says:

        OBL wasn’t assassinated. He was killed on the battlefield.

        I don’t like the guy, but if you surprise someone where they live and they’re killed while unarmed, it wasn’t a battlefield casualty. Even if it’s OBL or Stalin.

      • Strabo says:

        If assassination is American, I don’t want to be American. If Pakistan is the battlefield, why do we have 130K troops spread between Iraq and Afghanistan? What the fuck are they doing? Why don’t we have a few tens of thousands of troops on the ground in Pakistan?

      • double_tilly says:

        OBL wasn’t assassinated. He was killed on the battlefield.

        Pretty sure it wasn’t a battlefield. The compound was well away from any theater of battle in that conflict. I believe the official account now reads that the soldiers met with extremely light resistance, shot a woman (possible the wife) in the leg who was trying to shield ObL then killed him execution style with a double tap to the skull. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the official account now reads that he was unarmed.

        Lemme ‘splain to ya then. We value life. Al Qeada does not. They have declared war on us. We have the right to defend ourselves.

        I think in the U.S. we value some life. We don’t value life enough to, say, extend health care to all of our citizens.

        Surely there is some common ground between how the U.S. values life and how people involved with AQ value life. I think your view is over-simplistic, at least in terms of this board discussion.

        As has been mentioned, US coalition forces have killed as many innocents as AQ has. You’re familiar with collateral damage, no? Have we valued those lives?

        Even if you’re right, I don’t see how it justifies the president in ordering a mafia-style hit on an opposing warlord.

        measure of greatness.

        As far as measures of greatness are concerned, I hope our military-industrial might doesn’t develop into the penultimate definition of greatness for our country or for humanity in general. That would be sad indeed.

        jingoism

        I still think it’s jingoism, or at the very least, American exceptionalism.

        In the concluding paragraph of his remarks Pres. Obama certainly seems to be saying there is something inherent in the U.S. citizen that makes him greater and more right than others. Am I misinterpreting this?

        Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

        • Anonymous says:

          As has been mentioned, US coalition forces have killed as many innocents as AQ has. You’re familiar with collateral damage, no? Have we valued those lives?

          Even if you’re right, I don’t see how it justifies the president in ordering a mafia-style hit on an opposing warlord.

          I for one am glad to be spared the media circus, political rhetoric and potential propaganda value that a drawn out trial, with undoubtedly the same final result, would bring.

          In that sense, kudos should be given for the “restrained” way that this chapter has been handled, and hopefully brought to a close.

        • noen says:

          double_tilly said: Pretty sure it wasn’t a battlefield.

          Bin Laden is a non-state actor who declared war against a state. Because of technological advances we can expect more of this in the future. The nations of the world exist in a state of nature with respect to each other. However, individuals can effectively challenge states by taking advantage of flaws in the systems we depend on.

          States have a right to defend themselves but there is no global police, no global government or judge to issue a warrant. Nation states have agreements with themselves but there is no global constitution (which is a contract between the state and it’s citizens). Accordingly, Osama did not enjoy the same rights a US citizen does. He murdered thousands in cold blood and refused to be taken alive.

          But even a US citizen who committed murder, publicly admitted it and publicly declared his intent to murder all who tried to apprehend him, and who then retreated to a private home…. that US citizen would find a swat team in his yard and if he resisted they’d put a bullet in his head just like they did to Osama. His estate would not have a legitimate complaint that he was denied due process.

          Even if there were global law enforcement Osama bin Laden gave up his rights long ago.

          “You’re familiar with collateral damage, no? Have we valued those lives?”

          Yes, unlike terrorists we do value the lives of those who are inadvertently killed in war. We do not deliberately kill non-combatants if we can help it. Soldiers that do can and should be charged with murder.

          “I don’t see how it justifies the president in ordering a mafia-style hit on an opposing warlord.”

          It was not a mafia style hit and Osama was not an opposing war lord. He was an international terrorist and mass murderer who was actively resisting arrest. If Osama had given himself in peacefully his life would have been spared. As it is we treated his corpse with respect and only buried him at sea after no state would take it. That is how a people who value life but who nevertheless must sometimes use force behave.

          “I still think it’s jingoism, or at the very least, American exceptionalism.”

          This:

          “Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

          is not jingoism. It is simple patriotism. If you are confused on the meanings of words you should look it up. Things are not black or white. It is possible to be patriotic without going to excess.

          “Am I misinterpreting this?”

          Yes, you are. Obama is saying that might does not make right. What makes America great is that we *choose* to come together to form a nation. We are not compelled to obey, there is a social contract. It is the reality of our social contract that gives us the moral authority to pursue with deadly force those who murder our fellow citizens. And that is pretty exceptional, not everyone enjoys such freedoms.

          • Tdawwg says:

            This.

          • Amelia_G says:

            No state would take bin Laden’s corpse?

          • William George says:

            This:

            “Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

            is not jingoism. It is simple patriotism.

            No. It’s jingoism. Patriotism is just the polite word for it.

  38. noen says:

    Sometimes those on the far left are just as crazy as those on the far right. Paranoia and narcissism rule over both ends of the political spectrum. The far right points to the far left and says “See? That’s how they all are.” The far left does the same. This is the natural order of things. If it ever changed, if the Left or Right extremists became a true majority, then I’d be worried.

  39. dainel says:

    The problem with the “war on terror” tag is that you give prestige to the other side. If you’re fighting a war, so is the other side. Congratulations, you’ve declared them “warriors”. Are you trying to make it easier for them to recruit?

  40. d15724c710n says:

    Osama bin Laden was a Muslim. As are all of al-Qaeda, all his followers, and almost all of those who might not take up arms but still applaud his actions. To claim otherwise is to be willfully obtuse, if not a liar.

    Is it so difficult to imagine that there are bad Muslims out there? Bad Muslims, even misguided Muslims, are still Muslims. The only question that is up for debate is whether al-Qaeda is a product of Islam, though I suppose we now know what Moore thinks – whatever that’s worth.

    To me, it’s not worth all that much. I don’t like Moore. He is a populist: he tells half-truths and uses spurious arguments and unsound reasoning. He has a story to sell and if reality is in the way, so much for reality.

    I don’t care for such discourse. I like my arguments hard and factual. I like it when the reasoning is coherent, consistent, and clear. I don’t like to be talked down to – I especially don’t like the cartoon explanations, and the folksy, gutsy indignation.

    What bothers me most about Moore, though, is that I agree with him on some issues. For example, I do mind how the western world has moved to the right since 9/11. I think it is shameful how Muslims are treated. It terrifies me how Christian fundamentalists came out of the woodworks in Europe, feeling vindicated for their bigotry.

    These are legitimate issues, and we do need strong, clear voices talking about them in public. Moore’s is not one of them. He just makes us who care about such issues seem just …less. Less credible, less serious, and less important.

    I’m disappointed to see Corry Doctorow give – some of his – credence to Moore. That, I had not expected.

    • Anonymous says:

      “I don’t care for such discourse. I like my arguments hard and factual. I like it when the reasoning is coherent, consistent, and clear. I don’t like to be talked down to – I especially don’t like the cartoon explanations, and the folksy, gutsy indignation. What bothers me most about Moore, though, is that I agree with him on some issues.”

      I don’t see how you can care who is making good points if you value good reasoning.

      • d15724c710n says:

        @Anon” I don’t see how you can care who is making good points if you value good reasoning.”

        Check your recipes. You can’t make good points with bad reasoning.

    • IWood says:

      You find Cory giving credence to Moore “unexpected?”

      How long have you been here?

      • d15724c710n says:

        I take your comment to mean that had I been here long enough, I would not have been surprised to see Cory Doctorow praise Michael Moore. Maybe you’re right.

        Be that as it may, I’ll keep reading Cory Doctorow (and buying his books!) because I like his writing. I don’t have to agree with every single thing he writes.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Not a huge fan of Moore until now. He’s been taking on lesser battles, and I now applaud his bravery to take on the big ones as well.

    There are lots of “thinkers”–many of the gods of BB, like fill-in-the-blank–who will not give their opionion at all. BB is on the verge of becoming inert. Even the Economist has somewhat of an opinion. Agree with him or disagree–BB says nothing. Could it be possible? Could the world come to an end and BoingBoing be giving in to corporate sponsorship pressure? Or is it just that they aren’t devout enough in what they believe to stand up for it in “print”? I’ve been reading you from day one, certainly longer than most of the people who work for you. Existence precedes essence. Define yourself.

  42. Anonymous says:

    theres a difference between finding a wanted criminal during a traffic stop, and finding him on the other side of armed guards firing at you, its one thing to wish we could have caught him in a more peaceful manner, but its another thing to assume the preferred outcome must automatically be achievable under every circumstance.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Ok I was with him to a large degree, but Moore’s casual manipulation of facts to reinforce his class view undermines almost any fact he references. I happen to fly first class a lot, not because I am rich or powerful in any way, but because I happen to fly a bunch for work on one airline, and they upgrade me as a customer loyalty “reward”, and being 6′-4″, I don’t say no. There is no fastback for lighter security for fat cats in first class at all. They simply get access to a shorter line before being processed through security, like everyone else.

    The point of this is the simple fact that if I didn’t fly this way, I would probably buy Moore’s implication that the elite bypass security…so if this one thing I know is so wrong, why would I trust anything he says? Unless I simply want to to get my pre-baked worldview reinforced…I don’t want that. I want someone to speak honestly about their perspective. He’s just not a lot better than Glenn Beck,coming from another political perspective.

  44. jeligula says:

    Michael Moore lacks any sort of credibility, but he does kind of make a point. After the operation that ended in the killing of Osama bin Laden, the media was quick to point out the economic toll that his actions have had on our economy. They measured it in the trillions. This means that he achieved his objective, no matter how you look at it. And it was very ill-advised of the media to tell his followers this.

  45. JoshP says:

    hear, hear.
    what has been occurring to me for some time is the historical pluralism(?) of our era compared to the era of the 40′s.
    We haven’t experienced anything remotely similar to the rise of fascism, and yet we seem to give this relatively lesser incident equal merit. I’m scared of what would happen should anything of truly global scale occur.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Many people have seized on the fact that Osama was too a Muslim. Nobody seems to have picked up on the comment that he was, in fact, a multi-millionaire. Apparently Moore, as amazing as it seems from his track record, was too subtle here.

  47. LX says:

    Michael Moore is losing his touch. Does he really fall for the obviously forged so-called “evidence” of ObL’s confession/guilt of 9/11? And even then, he fails to recognize that the US’ version of “war” long lost its necessity for an enemy country – all you need is someone to shoot at, who is by definition the enemy; because it would be silly shooting at someone who is not an enemy, and you better not call someone silly who is heavily armed…

  48. Strabo says:

    You know, everyone can argue Moore’s comments about whether or not OBL was a muslim until they’re blue in the face, but you’ll still be missing the key argument Moore was presenting:

    U.S. unilateral extra-judicial assassination.

    As Moore says, after World War II, we put high-level Nazis on trial. We did it fairly, using modern judicial standards of due process. We convicted them. And most of them ended up hanging from the nearest tree anyway.

    Whereas the new Amurka simply sends in Seal Team Six to double-tap your ass without a trial.

    The Nazis were responsible for at least two orders of magnitude more deaths than OBL, yet we put them on trial. Why couldn’t they have taken OBL and rendered him to the UN for a fair trial (though I admit, I’m still a little upset about the idea of kidnapping like that)?

    The Bush Administration claimed the ability to detain indefinitely without trial (or trial via military tribunal instead of the civilian court system) American citizens and residents in violation of their civil and human rights. The Obama administration has largely followed the same course. The Bush Administration didn’t just assert the right to do so, it actually fucking did it. Doesn’t it scare the living fuck out of you that these two Presidents have set a precedent like that? Once this precedent is set, what do you think is to stop another President in the future from deciding that it’s legal to order the extra-judicial assassination of an American citizen or resident? Do you really want to live in that Amurka? I sure as hell don’t.

    • scolbath says:

      As Moore says, after World War II, we put high-level Nazis on trial. We did it fairly, using modern judicial standards of due process. We convicted them. And most of them ended up hanging from the nearest tree anyway.

      Whereas the new Amurka simply sends in Seal Team Six to double-tap your ass without a trial.

      You know, I recommend everyone go take a look at the Wikipedia “Nuremberg Trials” page. It’s pretty damn eye-opening – at least it was to me. The Trials (specifically: military tribunals) were quite far from the uncontroversial and noble application of justice that everyone seems to think they were.

      One of the more interesting facts was that the legal basis for the trials was established through Germany’s surrender documents – something that doesn’t exist in the case of Al Qaeda. Furthermore, evidence could be declared to be true and unchallengeable by the prosecution, and Russia was kept conveniently to the side at certain points so Germany couldn’t point a finger at them for the same crimes. And of course, we dropped two atom bombs on Japan, so…

      • Strabo says:

        Yes, I have issues with legal rules in military tribunals too, but the salient point remains: those actually [i]were[/i] military officers on trial there (along with a few high level civilian government members and industrial/economic leaders, like Albert Speer). Most of those men signed up for the possibility of a military tribunal when they [i]joined the military[/i].

        I’d also like to note that the Nuremberg trials weren’t foregone kangaroo-court conclusions. There were people convicted who did not receive the death penalty and subsequently went free (again, Albert Speer, for one). There were even people acquitted in their Nuremberg trial.

        OBL wasn’t a soldier. He was a civilian, and should have received a civilian’s trial, not a military summary execution, or even a military tribunal. Like many people on my side of the fence have said all along, combating Al Qaeda should have been treated as an international law enforcement effort, not a military effort (which just got us embroiled in two pointless wars).

        Finally, I highly agree that the Allies were responsible for some of the same crimes we prosecuted the Nazis for. Making war against civilian populations mainly: the firebombing of Japan and Dresden, nuclear weapons attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Katyn massacre, the rape of Berlin. I could go on for quite a while. We should have been prosecuted for that too. Just because I’m advocating trial (versus summary execution for OBL) doesn’t mean I don’t think those crimes should have been put on trial too. I think any standard we hold others to should apply equally as much, if not more, to ourselves. I believe that is colloquially known as “the golden rule”.

    • Tdawwg says:

      IANAL, but leaders of criminal conspiracies don’t get the same protections as heads of state under international treaties and the laws of war. Osama rather resisted those indictments filed in America. Etc., etc.

      • Strabo says:

        Ahh, I love the “he wasn’t wearing a uniform, so we can do whatever the fuck we want to” argument.

        Personally, I think international law concerning partisans/enemy combatants will be a cause for embarrassment in a more enlightened future.

        • Tdawwg says:

          Feel free to fight for your ideas in a perhaps-more-effective forum than this comment thread. You know, like in court or in a legislative body. BoingBoing =/= a legislative body.

          I personally agree with you, but the law differs. (Big shrug.)

    • weatherman says:

      We put Nazis on trial because they surrendered, and they were put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, not for being at war. Being at war, and killing other soldiers, commanders and even heads of state is all perfectly legal. While we were at war in WWII, before the Germans surrendered, we were trying our very best to kill every last Nazi soldier we could all the way up to and including Hitler. And that was the right thing to do, just as killing Osama bin Laden was the right thing to do. Osama bin Laden didn’t surrender; he was engaged in combat along with a number of other supporters and combatants who wage war against the US, asymmetric though it may be.

      There are a lot of thorny issues that have come out of our war in Afghanistan – the indefinite detention of combatants at gitmo, torturous waterboarding, overseas interrogation centers, and the loss of rights in the US. But let’s not confound those issues with what is a relatively straight forward, entirely legal and completely ethically justifiable killing of an enemy at war with the US.

    • Nadreck says:

      after World War II, we put high-level Nazis on trial.

      We did for those that surrendered. Those that didn’t got dead before any trial was held.

      The Nazi high-command adhered to the laws of warfare to a far higher degree than Osama’s Billionaires Boy Club ever did and were thus covered by them. Morally, even if via statistics, they were probably not superior; legally, they wore uniforms and distinguished themselves from the German in the street and were thus entitled to trials.

      • Anonymous says:

        he wasn’t given a chance to surrender..
        The other day the cbc radio show the current interviewed one of the US attorneys who was a WWII soldier and a lawyer in the Nuremberg trials.. The Russians, British and French wanted to execute the high-level German officers that surrendered. It was the USA who argued for legal trials.

        In a sense it was a poison pill. Because by arguing for legal trial, you should expect to uphold the tradition and not say things are different now.

        In many ways OBL was very successful. With an investment of maybe $500,000 in 9/11 the US has started two wars (neither of which are won) , started the Dept of Homeland Security and spent in response a total of $4-6 trillion, spies on its own citizens and since the drone attack on some guy in Yemen has been practising extrajudicial executions – and is now mired in the deepest recession since the 30s. Russia fell apart after the 80s. and though the USA is unlikely to do that the last decade has marked the decline.

        Al Qaeda has become more irrelevant, and has had nothing to do with the Arab spring,
        OBL’s death is a good opportunity to pull out of Afghanistan – (no Afghans were part of any terrorist attacks on the US) (you know declare victory and pull out) but I doubt Obama is willing to take that risk.

  49. Wally Ballou says:

    “If a crazy person started running around mass-killing people, and he did so while wearing a Tea Party button and praising the Tea Party, we wouldn’t automatically call him a typical Tea Party member or say that the Tea Party was inspiring his killings, would we?”

    Of COURSE we wouldn’t. Don’t be silly.

    • Anonymous says:

      As I recall, we didn’t. Once it was clear that he had a mental problem, we as a country correctly decided all the inciting language wasn’t responsible, and so incorrectly decided to let it go.

  50. Anonymous says:

    To emphasize a point that Mondongo made, the US sent a military force into a sovereign nation (and an ally) without their knowledge or consent to assassinate a criminal and a terrorist.

    I’m not disputing that Osama Bin Laden was both a criminal and a terrorist. However, what if some country decides to convict say, Obama, for being a war criminal and a terrorist for authorizing drone strikes that hit civilian populations? I’m not claiming that he is, but it’s clearly a possibility that some country could do so.

    Are they then justified in sending military forces into the US to assassinate him?

    If we want to argue that there’s a consensus among nations that people like Osama need to be taken out, whatever means necessary, then why didn’t we hammer out that agreement in advance with our allies like Pakistan?

    I’m not claiming that we needed to share this information with Pakistan. Clearly, there is a valid concern that members of their political, military, or intelligence operations might have had connections with Bin Laden.

    On the other hand, we didn’t even pretend to get an agreement that say, “wherever Bin Laden is, even if it is within our own country, is a valid target for a precise military strike”. Instead, we just did it.

    That sends several messages:

    We might do it again, maybe in somebody else’s country.

    You might as well do it yourself, if you think you can get away with it.

    “Just trust us” is US policy, so long as you trust the US.

    • Anonymous says:

      To emphasize a point that Mondongo made, the US sent a military force into a sovereign nation (and an ally) without their knowledge or consent to assassinate a criminal and a terrorist.

      I’m not disputing that Osama Bin Laden was both a criminal and a terrorist. However, what if some country decides to convict say, Obama, for being a war criminal and a terrorist for authorizing drone strikes that hit civilian populations? I’m not claiming that he is, but it’s clearly a possibility that some country could do so.

      Are they then justified in sending military forces into the US to assassinate him?

      If we want to argue that there’s a consensus among nations that people like Osama need to be taken out, whatever means necessary, then why didn’t we hammer out that agreement in advance with our allies like Pakistan?

      “I’m not claiming that we needed to share this information with Pakistan. Clearly, there is a valid concern that members of their political, military, or intelligence operations might have had connections with Bin Laden.

      On the other hand, we didn’t even pretend to get an agreement that say, “wherever Bin Laden is, even if it is within our own country, is a valid target for a precise military strike”. Instead, we just did it.

      That sends several messages:

      We might do it again, maybe in somebody else’s country.

      You might as well do it yourself, if you think you can get away with it.

      “Just trust us” is US policy, so long as you trust the US.” ANON

      The US was just caught and kicked out from Sweden, the norwegian newspaper VG reported today. Swedish police were staking out a possible terrorist target, when they spotted another group doing the same – it turns out they were CIA. Sweden got really pissed and made a formal complaint to the US and sent the agents home.
      US reputation in scandinavia is dramatically falling. We are after all allies, and all that is needed is for the US to ask first.

  51. Teller says:

    To me, the central flaw in Moore’s piece is early on. That by calling it a “War” on Terror, the US raised al Qaeda to the status of nationhood. Not true – but crucial to Moore’s argument that, by killing OBL, the US acted outside conventional treatment of ‘heads of nations.’ al Qaeda is not a nation. It’s the world-version of a violent multi-city street gang.

  52. Roscoe says:

    All this banter back and forth cracks me up — and I’m sad to see most of the debate all assuming that what they’ve sold us is true.
    There are too many holes in the 9/11 story to believe it – and call me a ‘truther’ if you want to discredit my argument and marginalize me – but explain WTC7, no plane in PA or the Pentagon, on and on and on. When Silverstien said they’d decided to pull WTC7, that should be enough for any intelligent person to smell a rat.
    It’s staged terror, that rolled in the police state, to prop up the military-industrial complex, and maintian our cheap oil in Iraq… there is too much complelling evidence out there for there to be any other story.
    Left and Right doesn’t matter — it’s the power elite that are running the show, and the majority of the US just takes it hook, line and sinker. So very very sad…
    Oh, ObL being announced on a Sunday night makes this another one that’s obvious — and no surprise that Obama’s ratings went up, this is all part of the plan.
    Peace

    • teapot says:

      It’s staged terror, that rolled in the police state, to prop up the military-industrial complex, and maintian our cheap oil in Iraq

      ^What an excellent, 1-sentence definition of the truther movement. You loons really need to get some new schtick, because endlesssly repeating the same crap despite the fact that people don’t respond makes you seem batshit crazy.

    • awjtawjt says:

      but explain WTC7… etc.

      Unfortunately, the facts aren’t with you, Roscoe.

    • MarkM says:

      … WTC7 …

      Behind the clouds the sun is shining,
      Thy fate is the common fate of all,
      Into each thread a little truther must fall.

    • emmdeeaych says:

      “this is all part of the plan.”

      It’s all so clear now.

  53. Guillaume Filion says:

    So in short: Don’t hate Muslims, hate rich people.

  54. jonandmoni says:

    I think a common fallacy when using the ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’ argument to refer to religions is the way that it could be used just as easily about government systems or many other areas. ‘No true democracy denies basic human rights to its subjects and puts dissenters in prison camps’. ‘No true socialist would declare themselves dictator for life’. There’s also the secondary definition of true as ‘loyal’, so ‘no true Scotsman would betray his country’ could be seen as a true statement, and not a fallacy at all. Obviously people like OBL are going to attach themselves to strongly and widely held beliefs, I’d say a lot of times this argument is used it distracts from the main questions of whether OBL (or Fred Phelps or any other of these psychos) in any way represent or are backed by the mainstream groups they claim to belong to.

  55. awjtawjt says:

    Obama, Osama, whatever, same thing.

    (that oughta fan the flames)

  56. AnthonyC says:

    I disagree with most of Moore’s analysis (as I usually do), but the part about elevation to nation status has a glimmer of truth to it. Playing up the strength of Al Qaeda and starting two wars in the name of stopping them, when many people had never heard of them before, probably did increase their global reach and clout.

    Maybe it’s the fact that I just read Asimov’s “Foundation” (“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”), maybe it’s my frustration with politics in general, but if I were in charge (not that I would ever advocate such a form of government) I would have handled things quite a bit differently. Mourn the senseless deaths, lock and armor the cockpit doors, and then… increase for build schools in middle eastern countries that harbor extremists? Focus on how the US’ infrastructure is in tremendous disrepair? Address how every year 14 times as many people are killed in car accidents as died on 9/11? Cure malaria globally at a 1% of the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, savings a million lives a year? I was in high school on Long Island at the time, I know how emotional and painful it was, but we reacted incorrectly. We did exactly what our attackers wanted us to do. We did not sink all the way to their level, but we gave up too much of the moral high ground. We used the wrong kind of power to solve the problem.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I assume everyone in favor of assassinating Osama feels the same about the Russians killing their opponents in Chechnya, right? Because they think they’re analogous.

  58. emmdeeaych says:

    The Americans who need to read that do not read.

  59. Tdawwg says:

    Don’t feed the Truthers, folks. Ignore them and perhaps they’ll go away!

  60. double_tilly says:

    I’m with Mondogo and Strabo on this one. We are not living in a John Wayne movie. The United States should not act like a street gang carrying out drive-by shootings. Were the SEALs carrying burning torches by any chance? That’s really what this was, right? Vigilante justice? A drive-by shooting?

    That’s terrific. Quite frankly, I do not want to live in a world where the U.S. Government is the judge, jury, and executioner of anybody. They brought Saddam Hussein to court. They brought Nazi war criminals to court. Why not bring ObL. Given Obama’s creepy-ass speech that night, I think he did it for votes. That is creepy as shit.

    It would be one thing if the compound was a strategic military position we were trying to take and ObL was actively defending it. But what are the reports now? One person in the compound was armed? ObL himself was in bed?

    Admittedly, I’m a bit behind on the events as they happened. But I don’t think anybody is saying it was a raging firefight for control of a strategically important position.

    This whole thing is completely fucked.

  61. MarcusHL says:

    Boo to BB for posting Michael Moore’s bloody nonsense! Just in the first few paragraphs, he has spoken falsehoods; moreover, he is trying to paint this event in terms of the impulse he cares most about; jealous hatred of the rich and powerful, even though he is a rich man himself. Osama wasn’t a class-warrior by any means (, Mr. Moore, you dishonest demagogue).

    He also mixes up timelines (purposefully, I think) to make his case stronger; the presence of American troops in “his” land was his pretense for terrorism; how then can it be his intention to cause MORE American troops to invade Afghanistan, his safe haven and terrorist state in the making? Moore switches the cause and the effect around in order to make his case stronger; just one more lie by this serial liar.

    If this was bin Laden’s plan, it was a schizophrenic and illogical one. Truthfully, he intended to intimidate the West from interfering in the Arab world, and thereafter fill the power vacuum with his clients (like the evil Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) and subservient governments; that was his dream, but recent events called the Arab Awakening have invalidated both his methods and his goal. He’s dead, and so is the dream of his own personal Caliphate. The man was shot dead by American bullets, the idea overgrown by the Arab Spring.

  62. peterbruells says:

    For nine years I wrote and I said that Osama bin Laden was not hiding in a cave.

    Does anyone know if and what Mr Moore thought about where and in what way Mr bin Laden was hiding?

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