This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.
– TS Eliot
Come on. Admit it. When you heard the news that the international terrorist mastermind was now a ‘late international terrorist mastermind’ didn’t you find it slightly anticlimactic?
I mean, for 10 fucking years we’ve been chasing the bastard behind the 9/11 attacks and now that we got him, it somehow doesn’t seem as thrilling as we thought it would feel.
I wonder why that is? I mean, the attacks were horrific by any standard, and the death toll was catastrophic. A way of life was summarily changed by the actions of one evildoer. A way of life not just in the US, but worldwide came to an abrupt end on that September day.
And now he’s gone. Yet (and I don’t know about you) I don’t feel as exultant as I thought I would.
It’s kind of like fantasizing about a beautiful woman, if you are male (or gay) or a handsome and charming man, if you are female (or gay). And then wooing that person and then finally succeeding in bedding them and it’s, you know, nice. At the same time it maybe puts you in mind of the old Peggy Lee song, Is That All There Is?
I mean, like so many of you, I’ll never forget the day. Etched in my memory bank is being in that little T-shirt shop on Rarotonga (literally a half world away) when I heard about the Towers and the Pentagon and I watched the TV footage, even in that far away place. And I was aghast. Suddenly our tropical paradise didn’t seem so far removed from everything.
And then when it was revealed who the mastermind was, the thought on everybody’s mind was: “We’ve gotta get that bastard!” And George W. pulled out all the stops and waxed bellicose and inexplicably went to war in Iraq, where Bin Laden ‘wasn’t’ but still vowed to get that bastard. But he didn’t. It happened during the Obama watch. Dubya must be pissed about that. And gee, it happened in the part of the world where they knew he was, rather than Iraq. But mustn’t quibble, must we?
Well, they always thought he was in Afghanistan. Turned out he was in Pakistan. Potayto-potahto, I say.
Anyway, He’s dead. Maybe it’ll take a few days to get my head around that. How about you?