In fact, snipe is a bird that is hard to shoot

by on May.02, 2011, under Politics

This status update is making the rounds on Facebook:

‎”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

I admire the spirit and I’m glad to see it circulating. I didn’t repeat it because it doesn’t accurately describe my emotions right now. I will admit to a small patch of gladness to see the guy dead. The feeling is swamped by shame and rage at the past ten years of pointless warfare, loss of life, madness and torture, not to mention being creeped out by the dickswinging “Obama 2012″ (ok, I like Moshe Kasher) but I’d be lying to say it wasn’t real.

I’m also not impressed by this petition, also moving fast on FB:

After 10 years of war and the death of Osama bin Laden, it’s time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan. With al-Qaeda driven from the country and Bin Laden now dead, the rationale for war has evaporated. It’s time to stop now.

Well, no. The hunt for OBL long ago evaporated as the pretext for the United States’s two or three Middle East wars. This is coy to the point of useless. This is forgetting as the answer to forgetting.

A fair and related point to make right now is that the wars have in virtually no way led to this day. Rather, it seems to have been through careful, focused intelligence work. The capture or killing of Osama could have been accomplished with a much lower cost.

John Kerry was roundly condemned for saying as much in 2004. As in so much, his phrasing was infelicitous, but he was right. It’s imperfect to call this operation a simple matter of law enforcement and intelligence–for one thing, the ease with which everyone, myself included, dismisses its questionable legality only reveals how many sacred prohibitions we’ve cast aside in the past decade.

To now begin to end the wars will require more than forgetting how much we’ve forgotten. It will require accepting that they were snipe hunts from the beginning, and that their stated aims were either accomplished through other means or never obtainable at all.

UPDATE: Amanda Marcotte’s take: it may be bullshit but let’s run with it. OTOH, zunguzungu. Also MLK never spoke the first line of the quote (which I’ve put in italics). It was apparently added by some tweeter and then copied into the quote as re-posted.

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