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Flogging the dead horse

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White House silent. Does it sound silent to you? What the Posties mean is that the Administration has gone silent on the facts. Can you blame them? Even that sizeable crowd willing or even enthusiastic to believe every exhalation from the West Wing have knocked their heads on a very hard glass ceiling. Without a dedicated T-1 line an interested patriot has no hope of keeping up with just the official revisions, much less the larger media response, regarding the public secret of Osama bin Laden’s last minutes and final resting place. The nation at large trots along gamely, then sprints trying to catch the flying missives pouring out of the Obama motorcade. But the fastest dog has no hope of biting that bumper. A kind driver will immediately speed up and leave the barking mutts quickly in the dust. The vindictive type will troll along at the pooch’s top speed for a few minutes before proceeding onto their business. Which has occurred?

Abbottabad Bob emerges in the shape of one Jay Carney, whose nervous ineptitude manages to make Robert Gibbs look like Ari Fleischer. If Gibbs were wearing a crucifix we could add this one to the miracles chalked up by the late pope. But perhaps, as with Baghdad Bob, Carney is doing his best with a hopeless situation. Nearly every detail released straight from Carney’s mouth to your front page has been denied, not by third party witnesses or grudge-holding survivors but by the Administration itself. No need to recount the absurd list, a taste of it is in the link but we have all had our fill. Can anyone recall the last time a Press Secretary just threw up his hands on national television and declared that he had it all screwed up? The internets do not reveal such a precedent.

But no one, at least no one drawing a check for their opinions, objects on any grounds. We don’t have to indulge the wild-eyed conspirators who might claim one day that Osama is alive and well in a CIA safehouse and the next that he has come from Dick Cheney’s freezer to sleep with the fishes. There is plenty to remark upon even by a dedicated, nearly hypnotized Obama friendly media. The machine is flabbergasted by the simplest of questions. Who was there? Was Osama armed? Was this really a “mansion”? A million dollar fortress? Where does that figure come from?

That particular appraisal seems to have come simply from a copywriter’s piece of flair. Certainly this is a minor thing but it is exemplary. The value of Osama’s hideout is scarcely material but then why put in a hard figure? Well, it sounded good is about the least insulting plausible answer. The rest may be explained by speaking too quickly about a murky situation but then what do we pay these guys for?  The responses are hasty, ill-framed and ignorant, in short they are what we draw from those who do not expect  persistent questions.

And why should they? The very first detail other than Osama’s death was that of the rather immediate disposal of the corpse. This they said was a nod to islamic (as distinct from islamist) sensibilities. Not only was it swift but it was also irreversible. Admiral Osama was buried at sea in accordance with muslim naval traditions. But there is no such tradition as three seconds of googling can reveal. There is an allowance for it, coming from the days before refrigeration, but then explicitly for those who died aboard ship. Osama was ventilated far inland, on that we can all agree, and then was flown by chopper and probably plane as well. He could just as reasonably have been buried in air, I think they had forty minutes. But no, he was taken to the ship, washed (which had better have been done by muslims, and NO women) quoted “scripture” over (koranic scripture? unclear but it was translated into arabic) and then cast into the briny. This mad mosaic of the practical, the wiki-informed and the contrived was hammered together to assuage muslim audiences, is the line. Perhaps so but it was also about as ill-handled, poorly documented and unplanned as everything else on this subject or any other coming from Team O and whatever good will this minimal gesture is supposed to generate will reveal itself in burning American flags and effigies that this time will certainly include Obama’s.

But ding-dong the witch is dead! Which old witch? The wickedest witch. This filth revealed himself in his final moments; using his youngest wife as armor while firing at our battling forces. Only it was not his wife but his daughter. Oh, and he didn’t use her as a shield. And she survived. And claimed Osama was executed before her eyes. And that Osama was unarmed. The last has now been echoed by the Administration and the latest is that NO gunfire was directed at our fast-roping GIs. It makes that zero casualty count a bit less triumphant, doesn’t it? No wonder the White House has such new found appreciation of silence.

But silence is a void, it longs to be filled. So it will be. The Birthers of yesterday will be supplanted by the Photers, those mad and fringie types who want to see the photographic evidence of OBL’s end, especially since Scott Brown, John Boehner and other prominentoes have, and declared themselves satisfied. Boehner dried his tears long enough to tell us no, we must look away or we might have nightmares. Are you, Mr Obama, declaring we Americans less sturdy than John Boehner? I take exception to that sir. I take offense.

Silence is not an option as attractive as it might be. For us here in America I think the matter is well settled that Osama is dead and met his end in his salon on Sunday last. Even if one is perpetually skeptical of Obama, Democrats or newsies there can be no doubt that a sizeable military action took place on the ground in Abbottabad. If it was a dog-wagging operation someone who was there would have popped up by now. Heck, the first alert was sent out to The Rock, you think these guys would lie to him? But the other half of the intended audience for this whole kabuki is the muslim world at large. Yes, some will never believe Osama was killed or killed under the alleged circumstances but some will. The question is, what is the ratio? Can anyone deny that an absence of evidence will push this ratio further towards the disbelievers? Even moreso will a public declaration that evidence exists that we may not see. And even moreso will gratuitous attacks on those who wish to see.

You may recall that even the Wicked Witch of the East had to have an autopsy. The Munchkin Hall of Records holds the sworn statement:

As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.

And this was after the whole town saw her crushed by a house on the county square. Munchkin laws and procedures must be far more rigorous than our own. The Munchkin populace, far less ammenable to mau-mauing. The Mayor of Munchkinland would have a teeny little riot on his hands if he had tried to pull the razzle-dazzle switcheroo game being fed to us. But no such danger is emerging here. All is ebullient on the home front, by which we mean the TV. Outside of that world the term “buried at sea” expresses a morbid-comic resignation. We resign to an enforced ignorance greater than which, we know, is necessary. It is rather like having a rum magician at a children’s party where the adults loudly claim to be amazed while the kids sulkily notice wires, springs and one sad-ass looking rabbit under the table.

Where are the skeptics of yesteryear who declared the Twin Towers always were holograms? Where is Sean Penn when you need him? Oh, he is with everyone else, down at Times Square, in spirit if not in fact. Yes, we are all jingoists now, all warmongers, all savages bent on revenge as were only the loopy so-called Patriots until this non-war got new management. Do you remember that outfit? They were all for pulling out from Iraq and finessing our presence in Afghanistan. A law-enforcement ethos was to take over from the witless expansion of warfighting into crime fighting. A certain Eric Holder declared that if Osama bin Laden were to be apprehended he would be due Miranda rights and the full cornucopia of legal protections we know from the cop shows. Too bad for Holder, it was seen to that Osama would never be apprehended. He must be steaming!

Likewise that first term Senator, a real charmer, at the head of that pack. Boy, was he ever down on Bush/Cheney and their buddies. Criminal investigation is what this fellow promised the water-boarders and belly-slappers who dug up the address of Osama’s Paki gettaway. The band with Osama’s scalp now on their belt were derided as hitmen; state murderers on the model of the Argentines or even the Stalinists. A Senator Durbin, a Byrd, a Shumer, a Dean and plenty of others were happy to make these accusations as statements of pure fact in the Senate, in the House and even more commonly on the talking-box. It is well that our current leadership put a screeching halt to all that blather; a halt so complete and a reversal so severe it has occured at the sub-blink level. No one seems to have noticed.

Noticing is out of fashion. Saying you have noticed, even more so. Don’t you know what day it is? Osama famously described his attacks on America as the brand of the strong horse. When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse. His claim to being the strong horse is now somewhat mitigated. An emphatic announcement of that fact is to be made at an official ball-spiking ceremony at the hole in the earth known as Ground Zero. This is to be the Obama Show. Bush has declined his invitation. Likewise Clinton, the He. While Bush’s actions are in concert with his habits since leaving office it is a somewhat mysterious force that stands unbreached between Bill Clinton and an open mic. Perhaps, like so many elements of this story, the invitations were fictional, accidental or rendered inoperable by a  subsequent staff meeting. In any case, this is Barack Obama’s Ground Zero Moment. Bullhorn is deftly replaced with teleprompter. Unlike the non-fire non-fight of Sunday last this will be scripted with all parties in on the gag. It is meant to breathe a bit of life into Osama, a man declared practically dead five years ago by Nancy Pelosi. Now as then, I tend to agree with YesterNancy. If you do too, best enjoy that agreement fully because her statements along with many others, the actions, inactions and words of Bush and Cheney, the slanders against the soldiers, the insipid defenses of islamists, the WMDs, the looted museum, the roosting chickens, Abu Ghraib, Pat Tillman, Cindy Sheehan, Jessica Lynch and the family Hussein are all to be buried at sea this afternoon weighted down by the towering figue of Osama bin Hidin’. Yes, it is a New Day. There is a new sheriff in town, his name is Barack Obama. Things are going to be different from now on. And by different we mean the same. Only FASTER! This dead horse has some kick to him yet.

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