Truthout

Bogeyman Down

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 06:53 By Henry Rollins, Truthout | Op-Ed
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You would think that Osama bin Laden catching a bullet in the head, shot by a Navy SEAL, would bring Americans of all stripes together in a non-partisan showing of orgiastic euphoria and across-the-board worship of the righteous kill. That America no longer exists.

Some are overjoyed, but many are suspicious as to the veracity of the big news out of Abbottabad, Pakistan. They want pictures of the dead body. They think that the burial at sea of bin Laden’s body is glaringly suspect. The "deathers" want a death certificate! Perhaps some people want the body of the terrorist leader on a float as part of a parade in New York City, culminating with Rudy Giuliani jumping up and down on the dead man's rib cage at the parade's end at Ground Zero. They want downloadable images of this Saudi devil, like those President Bush gave them of Saddam Hussein's slaughtered sons. They are angry that the current president has incalculable smarts (this just freaks them out to no end), and by disposing of the body according to Islamic custom, is limiting opportunities for martyrdom, enshrinement and perhaps notching up America's reputation in the Muslim world to an extent. I can’t believe any of this would have ever occurred to the previous president.

Right-wing news outlets seem to be fairly uninterested in the demise of bin Laden. They will go as far as to praise Bush, as many media observers predicted, but past that, it's really not all that interesting to them. The truth is, Osama bin Laden is old news.

It could be that bin Laden became irrelevant to them years ago - perhaps around the time President Bush moved on to other things and the assigned talking points changed. Bin Laden had played his part well as dutiful bogeyman and helped grease the rails of the Bush administration’s push into Iraq. They thanked him by not killing him. Some of the Vulcans are perhaps a little sad that the bearded extremist has been dispatched.

By the end of this week, for many, the death of Osama bin Laden will be taken as seriously as an Elvis sighting. The president’s birthplace will be safely set back on the African continent. All concerned can return to a blissful state of ignorance where they feel safe and unchallenged.

Besides, Tea Party radicals, conservatives and the rest of the gang have their bogeyman. He is the heavyweight champion, number-one domestic terrorist in American history: Barack Hussein Obama. No certificate of birth or takedown of a globally reviled maniacal killer will change that.

So, to all of you who got blisters from dancing in the street, whose hands are now sore from those high-fives, you have been fooled again. All the people in the Situation Room, members of the Navy and all the others who for weeks worked tirelessly on this operation have punked you on a grand scale.

If only the president had requested bin Laden's ears to wear around his neck for his next photo op, or that bin Laden's wisdom teeth be retained and given as gifts to especially generous donors on the campaign trail.

Things being what they are, conspiracy theorists and the president's myriad haters have turned a washed-up extremist asshole into a legend. Osama bin Laden: The Teflon Terrorist! Nice one.

Henry Rollins

Rollins is a singer-songwriter, journalist, publisher, actor, radio DJ and activist. He is the winner of a Grammy award and hosted The Henry Rollins Show.  Rollins was the frontman for the bands Black Flag and the Rollins Band.


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