|Creative Commons image courtesy of Wikipedia|
“As nervous as I was about this whole process, the one thing I didn't lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out. Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn't deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.”
-Obama's closing comment on 60 Minutes, May 8th, 2011
I've got to hand it to CBS and 60 Minutes for conducting one of the best-staged, one-act plays for 2011. Full of drama, intrigue, and contradictions we can sweep under the carpet for the sake of entertainment, correspondent Steve Kroft provided the narrative when we cut away to exciting pictures and video which provided suspense and emotional fodder for the star of the one-man show, President Obama.
The tone was set for the personal drama by Kroft's opening question: “Mr. President, was this the most satisfying week of your Presidency?”
The perfect opening to a play that wasn't focused at all on the subplot wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And I quite enjoyed the rather atonal, Pirates of the Caribbean-esque terminology “devoted enormous blood and treasure” used by Obama to describe the cost of war crimes committed by the US.
The “treasure” being over a trillion dollars spent so far on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The “blood” representing the output of some 920,000 Iraqis, Afghans, and Americans (in order by volume) spilled for the sake of corporate profits.
I provide these statistics as mere footnotes to the drama 60 Minutes portrayed of Obama's week leading up to the attack on Bin Laden's compound.
Kroft wastes no time getting the “facts” out of the way to focus on Obama's week (facts in quotes because these will most certainly change once real journalists take over and do the job). 1. Bin Laden was there in the compound for five years. 2. Obama was first told of the compound's existence last August (another intelligence failure?) 3. Planning for the operation didn't begin until early this year.
Boring. Let's move on.
Kroft: “What was the most difficult part? I mean you had to decide. This was your decision -- whether to proceed or not and how to proceed. What was the most difficult part of that decision?”
Obama: “The most difficult part is always the fact that you're sending guys into harm's way. And there are a lot of things that could go wrong. I mean there're a lot of moving parts here. So my biggest concern was, if I'm sending those guys in and Murphy's Law applies and somethin' happens, can we still get our guys out? So that's point number one.”
Obama: “Point number two, these guys are goin' in in, you know, the darkest of night. And they don't know what they're gonna find there. They don't know if the building is rigged. They don't know if, you know, there are explosives that are triggered by a particular door opening...”
|Image courtesy of Wikipedia|
Here's a reference worth visiting to lend a little weight to my harsh criticism of 60 Minutes glossing over the unimportant subplot in their play. The Nuremberg Principles were developed during the Nazi trials to determine what war crimes were and on what basis captured Nazis would be tried. Unfortunately, these are principles that the winning side used for trying prisoners of war when they were attacked, but when on the offensive another set of rules apply entirely (see extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib). Apparently, democracy in America isn't strong enough to abide by these very same guiding principles established after World War II.
Perhaps, it's audience preference?
But I'm dragging the 60 Minutes play down with analysis.
There secrecy of the operation made for good drama (Obama couldn't tell many of his advisers or his own family of the operation, let alone the Pakistani government) -- and the suspense posed by Kroft to drive the drama home: “You attended the White House Association dinner. There was a commencement address. And this was all going on, I mean you knew what was gonna happen.”
There was the unexpected helicopter crash that resulted in it having to be destroyed to technology out of enemy hands -- where's my popcorn and coke! -- And the suspense of watching the 40 minute operation unfold live brought Obama to the edge, “And it was the longest 40 minutes of my life with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old...”
|Abu Ghraib Image courtesy of Wikipedia|
If I have one critical thing to say of the play itself, it's that they didn't set the story up properly for a blockbuster sequel. I speculate that's because the real entertainment is being had by corporations that continue to profit off of unjust wars -- while we receive our entertainment by way of stories with Rambo plot lines containing all the requisite personal drama, firefights & explosions, and happy endings.
In my literary critique I employed specific word counts to reveal any potential foreshadowing to give me a clear picture of what we could possibly expect -- and not expect. Furthermore, I feel a word search on the transcript of the 60 Minutes interview with Obama is necessary in order to help determine whether or not Kroft did his job well in showcasing the man whose actions we claim single-handely brought about two wars. Here's what I found:
Pakistan is mentioned 20 times. Afghanistan mentioned twice. Iraq wasn't mentioned at all.
For those who like sequels I have good news. For those who like good journalism, I have bad news as well.
Or maybe I need my head examined.