Victory in Real Time

No matter what your opinion of President Obama, his Bin Laden announcement represented what Americans and much of the rest of the world longs for: a sense of U.S. accomplishment.

Original story: CNN

No matter where you look, or from which country you’re looking, Americans have become accustomed to bad news while simultaneously more ‘n’ more distrustful of each other. Politicians act like pigs at a trough shoving each other out of the way in greed.  Everywhere we find trouble there’s a corporate entity to accuse of lobbying conspiracies and gross negligence. Americans are left wondering if their government is even interested in changing the national Us vs. Them perception.  Far too many children care more for their cell phone contracts than they do their grades, and way too many parents are preoccupied with the imagery and materialism of parenting than they are the character they’re instilling. Healthcare, gasoline prices, partisan politics, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, China, the deficit, bad movie remakes, climate change, family values, whew!  But this morning I woke up thinking, Well, good morning, President Bad Ass

Me, I’m a sucker for World War II history. I love it all, from the Allied liberation of Cherbourg and the Pacific theater, to the WASPs, the U-Boat war, the Tuskegee Airmen, La Résistance Française and the Moroccan Goumiers…all of it.  I love the rousing oratory too, from Churchill’s “Never was so much owed by so many to so few,” to “Somewhere in England” when Patton thundered, “All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.”

Yes, I know that there was remorseless propaganda then too, but I often wish that we were as tough as the Yanks and the Allies who are portrayed to be in those movies.

Last night, watching the president declaring that U.S. Special Forces had gone in and rammed a copy of Call of Duty right up Bin Laden’s ass, might be about as close as I am ever going to get to the victory rhetoric of the summer of 1945, but at least I saw victory in real time.

The little bit of a lump that I got in my throat conflicted directly with how distrustful I’ve become. It got me thinking, not everybody that waves a flag is a blind nationalist, and not everyone who overthinks things, is a stuck-up intellectual (okay, besides me). It took a few minutes, but as Obama made his remarks I was able to push aside my resentments for the things that some Americans do that make me cringe, like say, subscribe to Islamophobia.

Incidentally, if you do believe that Islam exists only to destroy Western culture, perhaps I could point out that Bin Laden and al-Qaeda hijacked Islam and targeted the West. See, now you can turn that negative into a positive! You know, like when people boast, “We saved the French from the Nazis!” Go ahead and update it with, “…and we saved them Muslims from Sammy Bin-Lammy!” Just a thought.

The skeptic in me goes crazy at times like this, but today my appreciation for the United States doing something it said it was going to do, exactly in the way that it said it was going to do it, exceeded my misgivings, I mean, expectations.



6 thoughts on “Victory in Real Time

  1. The beauty of your rhetoric is this: no matter what anyone felt about Obama or the US govt or how the situation was being handled before the death of Sammy-Bin (as you so eloquently offered us his name Westernized), there is NO ONE that can dispute your concluding paragraph. Well said mon ami, well said… I drink a glass of my finest vin rouge in your honor and for the living truth, it has more meaning than drinking in honor of a dead man.

  2. Consider this, Mr. Nelson–our great grandparents were much like our generation. Read Mencken’s criticisms of that era’s Americans. Their self-aggrandizing, vain, avaricious and materialistic ways led to the Great Depression, which bore the toughest of men, that Great Generation who kept fascism at bay. Perhaps our own Great Depression is the gift we will give our own children, and with it a cautionary tale. Maybe they will be tough like their great-grandparents, as we turned out vain and faint-hearted like ours. One can only hope.

    1. I can’t help but read this comment in James Lipton’s voice.

  3. President Bad Ass??? I’m not so sure he won’t be known as President Bus Bombers after the attacks that are certain to come. The US will start to look like Tel Aviv on a bad day. Great job getting OBL…

  4. This just goes to show that if you take a job with the Company and then fuck them, even long after your contract period has ended, the Company still has the right to exercise it’s “retirement” option.

    Accomplishment? Yes. Though I do detect a slight whiff of hubris in the air, even here in small town U.S.A. I think a little Root Cause Analysis can be helpful at times like this, sure, we can keep hacking at branches, but all you end up with is a bush. (no pun intended)

  5. As an over-thinking stuck-up intellectual, there is something approaching relief with the news of OBL’s assassination. Not because he’s dead, but because we succeeded. As you pointed out, our times are fraught with bad news about bad people doing bad things, and so much of it originates from right here in Americabad. We needed something – anything – positive, even if it was the vapid satisfaction of vengeance. I’ve willingly bitten into that apple and, if only for a day or two, it tastes good simply because America’s follow-through is a flavor I had forgotten existed.

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