Carping over Osama's death - you've gotta laugh

It took longer than I expected, but the hand-wringing, breast-beating, someone-ran-over-my-puppy whining about the manner of Osama bin Laden's death has really kicked in over the last 36 hours.

I was waiting for it all day Monday. When I hadn't heard much I thought that perhaps the people of Ireland were so enamored of Barack Obama that somehow the 'usual suspects' would feel compelled to shut up about poor 'ol Osama meeting his untimely demise. I'm certain that if bin Laden's killing had happened under President Bush the "discomforted" would have taken to the airwaves instantly and been firing off op-ed pieces and letters to the Irish Times before bin Laden had had time to make friends with the fishes.

So there was a pause, but since yesterday morning the Irish Times letters page has been chock full of head-shaking tut-tutting about the "extra-judicial assassination" of bin Laden. Cry me a river.

Oh, and it's not just the letters to the editor either. High-profile political television programs, call-in radio shows, political cartoons {see above} and a number of newspaper columns have provided plenty of space for the "disquiet" to be expressed.

From what I can make out these people are scandalized that "the Americans" failed to politely ask Pakistan for permission to search Osama's compound, failed to get an internationally approved search warrant, sent armed men in to capture Osama and failed to acknowledge when he said, "Okay, copper you got me fair and square" all under the watchful gaze of President Obama.

And, yes, they're scandalized by "the Americans", but they're actually horrified that this has happened under President Obama and not the previous occupant of the White House. I get the feeling their little dreamworld is collapsing around them as they digest the image of the President sitting, watching as Osama bin Laden is killed, rather than captured, under the President's orders. Oh, and nobody should have been in any way happy to learn that Osama was dead. Oh no.

There are some Americans here - those who didn't like President Bush and who moved here since, say, 2004 - who are only now realizing it wasn't just Bush that this vociferous group disliked. They don't like the United States of America.

Actually, that's not quite fair. They don't dislike America, but the America they like doesn't exist, has never existed and will never exist. The America they like is one where 300m Americans never vote for a government that would act in the nation's own self interest.

As for me, I find this stuff amusing. I don't get angry, but there was a time when I did. I got angry back in the fall of 2001, but really I'd heard a lot of the same stuff during the 90s and when the rawness of September 11 wore off I was able to ignore it and laugh at it again.

Don't get me wrong. If you let them, these people will get under your skin. You have to ignore them or listen to them as if they're a bunch of 17-year-olds discussing the meaning of life in hushed, serious tones. You know they mean what they say, but you really just want to laugh in their faces.

By no means do these moaners don't represent a majority view among Irish people. I'd probably venture that not even a sizable minority are at all worried by the fact that Osama is no more.

The cry-babies are not a completely insignificant number of people either, though. What's really annoying is that they always seem to end up on the radio, on the television and in the newspapers. They create the effect of seeming to be everywhere, of their views being widely held.

What really has me curious right now is whether the usual rent-a-mob protesters will take their cue and be out in force protesting over the upcoming visit of President Obama. Will they wave placards denouncing him as a war criminal? Will they demand his arrest? As of now, I kind of doubt it.

It was one thing to oppose President Bush, but it will be another to be so vocal in opposition to President Obama, who is very popular here. If they're going to be consistent, however, they can't just moan today and let it lie in 18 days time. They have to be out there on May 23rd opposing President Obama's visit. If they are it will look bad if they're shown in any American news clips, but in a way I hope they are out there making a scene. It will be a really good chuckle.

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