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The death of arch-villain Osama bin Laden was not celebrated as good news everywhere. On the far-left Pacifica Radio (which takes in about $1.5 million per year in federal tax money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting), one so-called journalist appearing on the Democracy Now program fretted over how celebrations of bin Laden’s demise were “disgusting” and “idiotic,” while a second guest sneered that this was “not justice” but a case of “one killer [the United States] killing another.”
The sour attitude from the far left was similar to some of the “blame America” comments made in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, as noted in the October 1, 2001 edition of the MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter. One example from those days: The Nation columnist Katha Pollitt wrote about reacting in horror to her daughter’s suggestion that they fly an American flag. “Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.”
The same attitude popped up Monday as news of bin Laden’s elimination spread. The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill showed up first to complain to host Amy Goodman: “I found it quite disgusting to see people chanting, like it was some sort of sporting event, outside of the White House. I think it was idiotic.” Scahill later fretted that President Obama was following too closely in the footsteps of his predecessor: “President Obama has really continued and doubled down on the Bush administration policy of targeted assassination leading the way in terms of America’s response to al-Qaeda and to people it designates as so-called terrorists.” (Video clip of the show’s podcast at right; MP3 audio link here.)
A few minutes later, as MRC’s Tim Graham noted yesterday on our NewsBusters’ blog, Allan Nairn (billed as an “investigative journalist”) was even harsher on the United States. “People cheer because they thought they saw justice, but this was not justice,” Nairn scolded. “This was one killer killing another, a big killer, the United States government, killing another, someone who’s actually a smaller one, bin Laden.”
The radical Nairn went on to fault the American public for not rebelling against “repressive” rulers: “Egyptians, Tunisians are doing their part. They’ve risen up against the repression they face. I think we need an American uprising, if we’re to put a stop to this kind of killing of innocent people.”
Here are longer excerpts of Scahill and Nairn on the May 2 edition of Democracy Now.
JEREMY SCAHILL: I found it quite disgusting to see people chanting, like it was some sort of sporting event, outside of the White House. I think it was idiotic. Let’s remember here, hundreds of thousands of people have died. Iraq was invaded, a country that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. The United States created an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq by invading it, made Iran a far more influential force in Iraq than it ever would have been. We have given a grand motivation to people around the world that want to do harm to Americans in our killing of civilians, our waging of war against countries that have no connection to al-Qaeda, and by staying in these countries long after the mission was accomplished. Al-Qaeda was destroyed in Afghanistan, forced on the run. The Taliban have no chance of retaking power in Afghanistan. And so, I think that this is a somber day where we should be remembering all of the victims, the 3,000 people that died in the United States and then the hundreds of thousands that died afterwards as a result of a U.S. response to this that should have been a law enforcement response and instead was to declare war on the world….
SCAHILL: There’s going to be a lot of celebrating within the Special Ops community for having taken down the man that was identified as the number one target of this operation. And it shows that President Obama has really continued and doubled down on the Bush administration policy of targeted assassination leading the way in terms of America’s response to al-Qaeda and to people it designates as so-called terrorists.
Scahill was followed on the program by journalist Allan Nairn:
ALLAN NAIRN: People cheer because they thought they saw justice, but this was not justice delivered by — a kind of rough justice delivered by victims. This was one killer killing another, a big killer, the United States government, killing another, someone who’s actually a smaller one, bin Laden.
And the bin Laden doctrine that, to take out the CIA office that was at the World Trade Center, it’s OK to blow up the whole World Trade Center, to teach Americans a lesson, it’s OK to slaughter thousands of Americans—that doctrine lives on in the American White House, in the American Pentagon….
Egyptians, Tunisians are doing their part. They’ve risen up against the repression they face. I think we need an American uprising, if we’re to put a stop to this kind of killing of innocent people. And we need an American Romero, someone like Archbishop Romero of Salvador, who, in the face of massacres, of daily massacres of what in the end was more than 70,000 Salvadorans, stood up and said to the army of his country, “Stop the repression. Defy your orders to kill, because there’s a higher principle.”