Alan Grayson on Bin Laden

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, May 4th, 2011 - 6 comments
Categories: us politics, war - Tags:

Alan Grayson lost his congress seat in the last election after a concerted attack from the right.

His open letter on the death of Bin Laden shows why the US needs him back next time around.

The End of Fear?

About a year after 9/11, I was sitting in an airport terminal, waiting for a flight, when nature called. I turned to the young lady sitting next to me, and asked her if she would watch my carry-on baggage while I went to the restroom.

She looked at me, she hesitated, and then she asked, “How do I know that you’re not a terrorist?”

She wasn’t kidding. She looked a little scared.

I thought about delivering some snappy retort, like “I used to be a suicide bomber, but I quit, because I didn’t like the pension benefits.” I could see, though, that she was actually feeling some fear, so I looked her in the eye and said, “I’m not a terrorist.” She thought for a moment, and then she said, “OK, I’ll watch your bags.”

And off I went.

After that conversation, I realized that 9/11 had not only radically altered our national security priorities, but also the way that many people thought about others. And the weird possibility grew in many people’s minds that any stranger could be a killer.

Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, I hope that that feeling also is dead. The feeling that we live in fear. Judging by all the spontaneous celebrations, maybe that feeling is dead.

We have often heard the phrase, “if xxxxxxx, then the terrorists have won.” Martha Stewart once told her employees that if not enough of them attended her company Christmas parties, then “the terrorists have certainly succeeded.”

Here is one formulation of that formula that we didn’t hear: “If the terrorists make you feel terror, if they make you fear them, then the terrorists have won.”

I hope that that’s over, now.

We spend roughly $3000 for every American each year on the U.S. military. There is a theory that the reason for this is that the military-industrial complex controls our foreign policy, in much the same way that the medical-industrial complex controls our health policy, and Wall Street’s money-industrial complex controls our economic policy. That public opinion is simply irrelevant.

Maybe. But public opinion since 9/11 has been skewed by the real fear that many Americans have felt. Urged on, of course, by certain parasites in the body politic who want us to believe that they are the only ones who can save us from the threat.

In George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four, the fundamental basis for the totalitarian state that he portrays is the fear and hatred of the foreign enemy, Oceania. A siege mentality, brought about by endless war.

I hope that the death of Osama Bin Laden will mean the death of the siege mentality. The end of the perceived need for foreign occupations, and the end of foreign occupations.

I hope for peace.


Alan Grayson

6 comments on “Alan Grayson on Bin Laden”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Hear that boys and girls OCEANIA is the future enemy 🙂

    I like Alan Grayson. The work he did on the Florida bank foreclosure fraud scandal was outstanding.

    But, his opponents were funded by the big corporates (surprise) and his constituents voted him out, now they are going to get what they deserve.

  2. Yes we all hope for peace but we also need to acknolwedge the reality of what’s going on in the Middle East, and most of it has nothing whatsoever to do with bin Laden. The world will not be a safer place with his demise, not one iota, when entire generations are having their minds perverted right at this moment:

    …the latest insight into incitement comes from a study of 118 textbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority… Grade 10 students are taught that martyrdom is a noble death, and that “hearing [weapons] clash is pleasant to my ear and the flow of blood gladdens my soul”.

    Grade 12 students are taught: “If the jihad fighter is killed in sublime God’s cause he is granted martyrdom and God forgives him his sins, grants him his favour and lets him enter paradise”… “The Muslims’ countries today badly need jihad and jihad fighters in order to liberate the usurped land, evict the usurping Jews.”

    While on the other “side”:

    50 leading rabbis — 39 on government payrolls — urged people not to rent apartments to Arabs or foreigners…

    Residents near Caesarea have named a street in honour of Meir Kahane, a rabbi who advocated the forcible removal of Arabs from Israel.

    He was jailed for attempting to make bombs and later his son, Benjamin, glorified Baruch Goldstein, a Kahane supporter who shot dead 29 Palestinians as they prayed.

    That’s in this past weekend’s “Australian”, published a couple of days before the death of bin Laden was announced. I read it this morning, a couple of days after. If I ask myself what’s changed in the intervening time then on the basis of that information I have to conclude “nothing much”.

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    A similar piece that’s been getting some attention, here

    In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden’s motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the September 11 attacks, was to draw the U.S. and the West into a prolonged war—an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam.

    Osama got both. And we gave him a prolonged war in Iraq to boot. By the end of Obama’s first term, we’ll probably top 6,000 dead U.S. troops in those two wars, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. The cost for both wars is also now well over $1 trillion.

    We have also fundamentally altered who we are. A partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list of how we’ve changed since September 11 . . .

  4. Adele 4

    Teenaa koutou katoa

    But this war is simply a continuum of all previous wars before it. We have lurched from siege mentality to siege mentality, mai ranoo. Its called purgatory on Earth. Until we fully curb our basal urges to hate – than we war.

  5. Blighty 5


    except, in 1984 Winston lives in Airstrip One (Britain) in Oceania and Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia… I mean has always been at war with Eastasia.

  6. randal 6

    people like fightin, rootin, lootin and shootin and other stuff.
    its great fun. specially if you dont get killed.

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