Monday morning I heard chants of: “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. It all had to do with the bin Laden death and the fact that it’s arousing highly nationalist feelings among students on my highly militarized college campus.
Now, the consensus from politicians and pundits will be: “See, war works! It really does catch the evildoers! Shut up you stupid hippies!” First of all, what bin Laden did is nothing compared to what politicians, corporations, and the military do every day. McDonald’s and WalMart’s actions in what westerners call the “third world” would make al-Qa’eda’s look like child’s play. Of course, no one is bombing the shit out of this country’s territory in order to find the CEOs of those companies. Second, it took the US military and NATO almost ten years to find this guy (assuming that it’s really him to begin with) and cost taxpayers probably trillions of dollars in military spending. Third, the invasions (they weren’t even “wars” but invasions and occupations) were neither legal by international law standards nor ethical in any sense of the word. Regardless as to whether bin Laden was captured or not, the US had no right to go into Afghanistan in the first place, and must pull the troops out.
The worst part about this is the sheer love of the state, which I happened to see right outside my dorm window. It’s all “We’re America! Let’s celebrate bin Laden’s death!”; if that’s not a way to legitimize the state for a brief moment I don’t know what else would be. It also legitimizes militarism (since people will now prop up those soldiers who murdered and brutalized Afghans and those military personnel who authorized drone attacks all over Af-Pak as “heros”) and Obama’s rule over us (his approval ratings are set to skyrocket after this). Totally disgusting.
Julia Riber Pitt: Is a philosophy major at McDaniel College. She grew up in the Merrimack Valley, started college at CSU Northridge in Los Angeles. For most of 2010 she was a collective member of the Lucy Parsons Center in Boston where she learned how to co-run an infoshop.