You’ve probably noticed for yourself that whenever someone says “make no mistake,” there’s a high probability that whatever he or she says next is going to be dubious. If it was certain or near-certain before the speaker pointed it out, it probably won’t be afterward.
Today’s example at Mondoweiss – the first line from “The dangers of the nationalistic fever and bloodlust over Osama bin Laden’s death” – is too disconnected from generally shared human reality, too much an irruption entirely within Weissoreality, for likelihood even to be an issue:
Make no mistake: the assassination of Osama Bin Laden will be used to continue and potentially escalate the so-called “Global War on Terror.”
I guess Brian Van Slyke never got the message that there is no longer, as there hasn’t been for years now, a “Global War on Terror.” There’s no one “so-calling” anything the GWOT except, possibly, those so firmly ensconced within their ideological bubbles and internet echo chambers that common knowledge on their topics of choice never penetrates.
Make no mistake, the rest of Van Slyke’s post continues in the same vein. He’s certain that “the Ghost of Osama will keep the eternal ‘Global War On Terror’ (GWOT) and the mass killings (perpetuated primarily by the United States) going and going”:
[T]here is one impending and already manifesting danger even greater than the retaliations from Osama-allies that our politicians and media outlets are fomenting fear over: the immediate explosion of nationalistic fever and bloodlust that swept across the nation directly following the announcement of bin Laden’s assassination. I direct your attention to the short clip above of students celebrating on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus – which is fairly representative of the simultaneous celebrations engulfing the nation well into the early morning of May 2nd.
I may be wrong, but I think the celebrations had rather more in common – if on a much smaller, non-“engulfing” scale – with the VJ Day celebrations I posted on earlier. In my observation – as goes without saying, influenced by my own prejudices and inclinations – the “Ding-Dong Osama’s Dead” effusions seemed motivated by, and seemed to express, a sense of closure and relief, not any palpable interest in commencing another decade-long marathon, this time chasing after a “ghost.” The joy and satisfaction struck many observers, even some non-denizens of Mondounreal, as unseemly, but in Mondoreal we remain a war-like race and people, we admire feats of arms, we take pride and pleasure in our Vs, and we much prefer them to the alternatives and therefore will want to encourage more of them.
No one knows what will happen next, and after next, in the real mondo, but the operation and the nationally cathartic moment seem to me as likely to support and even accelerate already-existing plans for withdrawal from and de-escalation in Afghanistan and other outposts of the former GWOT. As for the all of the corpses piled up under that defunct acronym, here I do agree with Van Slyke that few Americans wish to be held accountable for them, or even to think about them, but that doesn’t mean we’re truly unaware of them. Without attempting to perform an authentic accounting, seeking the extraterrestrial Archimedean point from which we could accurately and justly assign and apportion degrees of responsibility, I think we can acknowledge that a general desire to escape the shadow of the 21st Century’s first decade adds to the psychological, strategic, and economic imperatives not just encouraging but over-determining a new departure.