In the past few days, as America rejoices the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, I’ve thought about how this completely discredits the right-wing worldview – and how Republicans who pander to that ilk are now in trouble. First, let’s state the obvious. A President named Barack Hussein Obama who many Republicans believe is not a “real” American was able to track down the World’s Most Wanted Terrorist – while George W. Bush’s “tough guy” talk for eight years failed. Second, it was good military intelligence executed quietly and professionally – rather than invading another country with shock and awe – that brought Bin Laden to justice, in a 40-minute raid with no civilian casualties. Third, the fact that Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan discredits why we are still in Afghanistan after nearly ten years – and builds momentum to bring our troops home. But fourth, and my personal favorite, is that one of the NAVY Seals who carried out the mission was a so-called “anchor baby” – the son of undocumented Mexican immigrants, who the American Taliban wants to strip of U.S. citizenship rights.
As the Tucson Citizen reported on
May 2nd, one of the soldiers selected to participate in the historic raid of the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan was Ruben Mejia. The son of immigrants from Guanajuato, Meija enlisted at a military base in Moreno Valley, California six years ago. After spending 7 months in Afghanistan, Meija joined the Navy SEALS. On Sunday, he made history.
The fact that a so-called “anchor baby” was part of this successful military operation raises real questions about what kind of America Sarah Palin, John Boehner and the rest of their right-wing ilk want us to be. During the 18-plus years of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the U.S. military fired hundreds of Arabic translators who just happened to be gay – at the expense of our national security, just to satisfy a homophobic ideology. The military had to lower its standards of recruitment to fill its quotas while it was firing people who were openly gay. For them, it’s not really about creating the best military in the world.
Back in Washington, momentum is building
in Congress to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan – now that our stated reason for being there (to capture Osama Bin Laden) has been accomplished. Liberal Democrats are predictably calling for withdrawal, but even some conservatives like Arkansas Republican Tim Griffin – who sits on the House Armed Services Committee – are impressed with how few ground troops were actually required to carry out the mission. Or as Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz said yesterday: “it means you don’t necessarily need 100,000 people on the ground in Afghanistan.”
The tragedy of September 11th is that it gave us ten years of war, where we invaded Iraq on a false pretense – and thousands of American soldiers (disproportionately low-income people of color) were killed. Meanwhile, our civil liberties at home have been curtailed for the sake of not “letting the terrorists win.” The fact that it took 40 minutes and a few dozen Navy SEALS to bring the perpetrator to justice discredits what we’ve been doing. And for that, it exposes the right-wing lie that America has been playing.