The Petulance of George W. Bush, Even Now: What Credit Does He Deserve For The Death of Osama bin Laden?

Pardon me if I don’t include GWB among those responsible for the fact that Osama bin Laden is is now a heavily-laden corpse at the bottom of the sea somewhere. Yes, I know he was (calling himself) President on that day, and most certainly said bin Laden and his colleagues would “hear from all of us soon.” We now know it’d been a long time since Osama heard anything like the influence of U.S. power, although when it came, it came precisely like an episode of 24. The problem was that Osama dropped off Bush’s radar in the runup to the Iraqi invasion.

So much for justice. So much for America, in the short term.

But then comes Barack Obama, who needs fourteen months from inauguration to carry out what Bush facetiously promised. I use that word because quickly it became clear GWB lacked focus and resolve necessary to complete that work. Tora Bora should’ve been the end of it; Osama was there with his loyalists, and in that setting it was possible to engage without the same consideration of ethics we all now face. I do think bin Laden was going for his trusty AK-47; it makes sense, considering his longstanding identification with that brand of weapon and the fact that his youngest and favorite wife was fully prepared to sacrifice herself no matter how desperate their circumstances. The narrative begins to sound like a plan, or wish-fulfillment. We will never know.

However, we do know a few things about George W. Bush.

We know his biography, his drunken swagger (later to be replaced by what Bill Maher rightly calls a “dry-drunk” version of the same). He felt both anaesthetized by wealth and protected by the sense that such wealth is in itself an assumption that power follows, even has to follow. It defined his reign, and undermined the nation perhaps to a degree from which it can never recover.

Bear in mind what Bush said during his reign. Look: I was mad enough when the Republican cabal overran the White House; it was too much when he actually and publicly turned his back on Osama. ONE MORE TIME FOR THE WORLD, as the great Frank Zappa might’ve said—bin Laden perpetrated 9/11, and GWB turned his back. WHY? Was it too difficult? Did he finally throw down his ball and go home?

This is, was, always will be unforgivable. For this, GWB must go to jail and never again leave. Period. Next paragraph:

In the end, Osama ceased to fit with GWB’s narrative, and since (apparently) he was “hiding in a cave in Peshawar” (or in an Abbottabad compound; take your pick), he no longer mattered. Therefore Bush/Cheney could concentrate on the extraction of Iraqi oil. Somehow that didn’t work out.

Shit happens.

So: Barack Obama becomes (a legitimate) President, and in fourteen months carries out a truly daring and risky raid that results in Osama’s death. The fact that bin Laden is dead still bothers me. I know his trial would’ve been a rallying cry for al-Qaeda, as would the inevitable sentence which oddly enough was carried out in that compound, for right or wrong, but remember Nuremberg: those trials also meant something.

That, dear friends, was closure. Yes, it took years, but in the end there was absolutely no doubt about the guilt of those convicted. BTW, just imagine what it would’ve been like had there been wall-to-wall, 24/7 news coverage of that?

I do not wish to take life. Not ever. However, there are extraordinary circumstances in which there is no other option. They must, however, be precisely that—extraordinary.

And so GWB wants credit. Let me ask you something—why should he take credit for something he gave up on doing in the first place? Bear in mind how long ago he said he didn’t care anymore, and went on to the folly that bankrupted America. An analogy: Let’s say I’m working a temp job pushing paper, right? I’m bored, distracted, it doesn’t pay nearly what I want or think I deserve so to be honest I do a completely half-assed job of it and probably cost the company thousands, more, in the process. My contract comes to an end; I move on to something else, and for God’s sake I hope it was more interesting than the last one because I understood something less than nothing about what I was doing.

But then, here you come.

You’ve been prepared for this thing, not because you’re skilled with paper but because you understand the way the business operates. It isn’t perfect, and if you could change the business from the ground up you would, but for now here you are in a position where I’ve fucked you up so badly there’s going to be nothing you can do to get yourself out of this.

Oh, and by the way, you’re also black and the supervisor’s white. I’m white, so I got away with shit. Oops. Sorry.

But you take one look at the situation, see what needs to be done, you do all the work necessary to spring your idea, and then:

How much credit does George W. fucking Bush deserve for anything? Only undermining America, damn near fatally. He should stay away from any celebration concerning bin Laden’s death. He had nothing substantive to do with it.

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About johnwylam1957

I'm a poet and teacher now living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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