Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yet another last word

I fear I have to return to the big story briefly as I had an interesting exchange on the subject with a journalist friend. Let's get the news out of the way: President Obama has decided not to release pictures of Osama dead or being made dead though there are, apparently, some genuine pictures of the compound after the raid around. His argument is that those nasty pictures will simply heighten hatred of America. A spurious argument, I would say. Those that hate America will go on doing so and those who think there is a conspiracy around the whole episode will go on doing so. Others might accept what happened and many on the famous Arab street might actually admire a decisive action on the part of the Great Satan. Besides, back in 2009 Obama had no problems about releasing pictures of maltreatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, if there is one thing that intensifies hatred of America it is the sight of American servicemen dealing with their prisoners with less than total gentleness and civility.

Talking of conspiracy theories, I have now distinguished three but shall be glad to hear of any I have missed.

Theory number one is that bin Laden is still alive and the American government, the CIA, the US Navy SEALS and the entire world media has taken an enormous gamble in publicizing the story while the man can pop up at any moment and announce that reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated. (I am sure he reads Mark Twain.) On the other hand, bin Laden has, for some reason best known to himself, seems to have gone along with the hoax. Perhaps, he has, in reality asked for asylum and entered one of those special programmes for people who turn state evidence.

Theory number two is that bin Laden was killed some time ago but for some reason (unspecified) this was not made known and for some other reason (also unspecified) has now been released.

Theory number three, much favoured by some Russian bloggers and a few nutters in the West, is that the man never existed at all.

The beauty of all this is that they are all mutually exclusive and we can argue about them for ever. But to go back to the exchange I had with the journalist friend: we both disliked the sight of Obama and his immediate circle (or some of it) watching the raid in live-time, as if it were a film in the cinema as my friend said. It reminded him of being in the audience for public hanging, a gruesome thought. On the other hand, public hangings were immensely popular and I am not at all sure they would not be that again if they were, so to speak, resurrected.

I think there is something more here and that is the strange personality of President Obama. Whatever the issue - fall of the Berlin Wall, end of World War II - he, notoriously, always brings his statements and discussions back to himself. All narratives are about him. It seems to me that he truly believed that what people wanted to see was him watching the raid; that, he assumed, was the only important part of the whole event. This is going beyond the usual politician's habit of using everything for self-promotion. Obama does that, too, but his apparent inability to understand that not all narratives are about him is truly bemusing.

UPDATE: It seems that what President Obama et al were watching with the world watching them was not live footage. So, what were they watching? What scared Hillary so?


  1. What scared Hillary? She caught a view of her real self reflected in the turned off tv???

  2. Supposedly, Hillary had an allergy.This from Yahoo news according to Mrs.Bi

  3. I notice that there is a child in the picture so perhaps it was a Disney Cartoon?