Why Celebrate?

New York streets after the announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death

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Nothing at all just changed. Since the deadly attack in New York on 9/11/01, the United States has become the centerpiece of a global police and military regime that is feared and hated around the world. We are involved in three wars, having transformed the hunt for a dangerous terrorist group into a pretext for the invasion and destruction of entire countries. Using the alibi of an anti-terrorist campaign, our government has set up extensive spying systems both abroad and at home, to protect, not citizens, but the elites of finance capitalism who brazenly wrecked our own economy as they have done to so many others in the past. Over the last decade the United States has created a new global norm: police states for the rich. Social relations are incomparably worse than they were ten years ago, everywhere. There is no reason to celebrate today.

Never over the course of these last ten years has our government allowed any public questioning of our own role in inspiring the fanatical hatred that ultimately led to the bombing of the Twin Towers. Such an inquiry would not have justified the bombing, and that would not have been the point. Instead it would have asked about the basic injustices in the world economic and political system that lend support to terrorist acts. It would have led to a change in our own fanatical drive to impose our rules on all peoples, in disregard for their historical paths and their present well-being. The underlying truth that the hunt for Osama Bin Laden has served to bolster with bombs and guns and aggression is the tired old truth of imperialism: free trade on unequal terms, the economics of greed backed up by troops, air power, intelligence, financial experts, structural adjustment, and the entire panoply of control devices that constitutes global power. Increasingly, that’s what we have here in America too: free trade on unequal terms, the unchecked rule of corporations, whose campaign contributions are protected as freedom of speech.

What does it mean, free trade on unequal terms? It means a class structure where all the advantages go to the largest organizations and the biggest billionaires, whose control over production determines not only who will get jobs and who will get debts, but also what kind of environment will greet them every day, whether a luxury high-rise or a destroyed suburb, whether a green, water-sucking golf-course or a blighted landscape devastated by robotic machines. This condition of fundamental inequality is clear wherever you go on earth, and it is clear right here in the USA, where we have turned imperialism against ourselves.

We have let our own industry be destroyed by the managers of money, who saw an opportunity to exploit people in China for higher profit. We have let our education system be destroyed by the managers of money, who consider that only the rich should go to school. We have opened our own land to the resource-extraction techniques that have long been used abroad: mountain-top removal for coal, deep-sea drilling for oil, hydraulic fracking for natural gas, with all their consequences on the environment and no serious attempt to limit consumption, just an acceleration of the the deadly drive to pollute this world even faster. This has all been done under the political climate of jingoist nationalism, fostered among a defeated population, unemployed, uneducated, stranded in small towns or barren cities where the military recruiter  is the brightest career prospect in sight. This has all been done for the power of the rich, the makers of bombs, the lords of oil, the finance kings.

The excuse for the War on Terror was the threat of Islamist jihad across the Muslim world: but when populations take to the streets in the Middle East today, they only do so in order to throw off Western-backed dictators. Osama bin Laden was a specter that we created. The War on Terror has been a failure for all humanity.

Yesterday was May Day, the traditional day of workers’ solidarity. Across the earth, people marched for a better world. That was a day of hope. There is nothing to celebrate today.

8 Responses to “Why Celebrate?”

  1. eduzal Says:

    what can I say? i only can say that this is a great text.

  2. michael casselli Says:

    Brian,
    Thank you for you reflections on an act that has no place in the realm of celebration. I believe that to celebrate killing, no matter who is the victim, only shows how far we have strayed from anything resembling humanism and the construction of a culture whose goals are so eloquently spelled out in your writings. I morn our predicament and I oppose our reaction.I am offended by the reaction of our country, and I am vehemently opposed to anything resembling an ideology that supports this act as something that brings any type of closure to the actions of this country and the ensuing evolution of our lives; this act in fact takes us back to a state of imminent denial.
    casselli

  3. sarah Says:

    Yep – not a lot has changed. The conditions that led to the attacks on Pearl Harbour could be described in almost identical terms. Thanks for your considered response.

  4. Lincoln Alpern Says:

    Well said, Michael.

  5. Deborah Says:

    Really so great. Thanks.

  6. jpl Says:

    Hei Brian! good piece! A while without reading you… Hope everything is ok, at least personally, health and so on, _ beyond the global landscape you describe… Take care _ osfa

  7. benny Says:

    * 26 December 2001 Fox News stated Osama had died in November 2001 from a long kidney ailment,
    * 18 January 2002 Pakistani President Pervez Musharral says he is dead,
    * 17th July 2002 Dale Watson FBI head of counter-terrorism announces he’s dead,
    * October 2002, Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells CNN that Osama is dead,
    * November 2005, US Senator Harry Reid reveals Osama died in an earthquake in Pakistan,
    * September 2006 French Intelligence leaks report that Osama died in Pakistan,
    * 2 November 2007, Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto tells Al-Jazeer’s David Frost that Omar Sheikh had killed Osama Bin Laden,
    * March 2009 Foreign Intel officer Professor Angelo Codevilla says all the evidence available suggests Bin Laden “is more alive than Elvis”,
    * May 2009 Pakistani President Asf Ahll Zardari says Intelligence indicates Osama is dead as his counterparts in the US had not heard anything from Bin Laden for 7 years and their evidence suggests he was dead,
    * AND Now President Obama has declared he has ordered the attack and killing of Osama and his body to be disposed of at sea,
    * Osama also stated that Martians had landed on the White House Lawn for a hotdog and Coke before they visit the Queen for High Tea.

    Obtained from information freely available on the internet, and remembered by people with an IQ over their age.

    Also Robyn Cook – Former UK Foreign Secretary stated

    “Al-Qaeda is not a terrorist group but rather a database of international Mujahedeen arms smugglers created by the CIA and the Saudis to funnel guerrilla arms and money into the Taliban who are fighting the Soviet invasion back in the 1980’s. The truth is there is no Islamic Army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, any informed intelligence officer knows this but there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe that Al-Qaeda exists and the country behind this propaganda is the United States”

    While playing golf 6th august 2005 he suffered a heart attack and was taken by chopper to a hospital but died in transit and the age of 54 – how fortunate for Tony Blair.

    So with the death of Osama the US, UK and its allies are now on high alert awaiting the inevitable retaliatory strike from the cave dwellers in Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran possibly a suitcase nuclear bomb or perhaps anthrax.

    • Brian Holmes Says:

      No photo? Body buried at sea? DNA test administered by who? The US, UK and world population have received an endless stream of false, manipulated, fabricated “information” over the last ten years. Yet the newspapers and TVs go on reporting what the spokesmen tell them, as though a government source were enough to authenticate and guarantee what they report. The big question is, does the public accept what they hear and read just because it’s in the papers and on the nightly news? Or is the whole rotten collapsing spectacle maintained only by the simple oligopolistic insistence that it must be true if we (the major media) say it is?

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