Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: For the kids, if nothing else

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  • Brent Jackson,

    ... or living in a country that wasn’t at war with a noun

    Heh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 412 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Melchior,

    Well said Russell.

    Melbourne • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    We might find the noisy celebration of a killing distasteful

    Yep. Probably for the same reason that I find the death sentence distasteful.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This video from Ground Zero is also full of young people. I don't think anyone could have predicted this happening.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18827 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    … the man has icewater in his veins.

    Or he's just a grown-up who understands that what he does and says has real and lasting consequences beyond the next polling cycle.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11916 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This video from Ground Zero is also full of young people. I don't think anyone could have predicted this happening.

    It's like Armistice Day. Perhaps they feel the War on Terror is over? That's something to hope for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8451 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Many probably couldn’t recall using an airport without the sense of dread engendered by the post-911 security response, or living in a country that wasn’t at war with a noun. Regardless of how much anything has really changed, they were entitled to feel that some sort of weight had been lifted, and to celebrate that.

    I was fourteen in 2001. It's impossible, at this remove, to separate the sense of the world changing I had then from the ways that everyone's world changes as they go through adolescence; what I do remember, clearly, is the idea that 911 and everything that came with it was temporary, that sooner or later things would go back. That the post-Cold-War concerns of the 90s would reassert themselves.

    And they did, sort of, but through the light of changed things, and the world I'd expected to grow up in never happened, and all the temporary things became permanent. I suppose that's how it always happens, one way or another.

    It doesn't feel celebratory, though; it just feels like the cap on that decade of my life. And it makes me wonder what's going to happen next.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    We might find the noisy celebration of a killing distasteful

    Yep. Probably for the same reason that I find the death sentence distasteful.

    Oh, you'll love this then. In the face of the biggest news story of the day, Stuff lives up to it's reputation as the home of hard hitting heavyweight journalism...by finding a way to shill his death in order to sell a Harry Potter movie.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I was fourteen in 2001.

    Gawd, from the maturity of your writing I'd always picked that you were in your 30s. It makes me feel young again to feel the same way as you when you say:

    It doesn't feel celebratory, though; it just feels like the cap on that decade of my life.

    I'm reminded again of the words of Doris Lessing in Prisons we choose to live inside when she relates how astonishingly thin the shroud is that separates us from our primitive past. The context was some stupid war in Africa that she lived through, how people went from intelligent and progressive to barbaric in a very short space of time, then when it was all over could scarcely believe that they had ever behaved that way. I read this not long after 9/11 and have been waiting for that "when it was over" time ever since. Are we there yet?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8451 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    I read this not long after 9/11 and have been waiting for that “when it was over” time ever since. Are we there yet?

    I don't think we ever get there. I'm pretty sure people have been feeling the same way for centuries now, through all sorts of war and terror and disaster; surely once this is over we can get back to being normal, we can get back to acting like civilised human beings. And we don't, we just adapt to the change and bury the shock for a little while, until it's some new generation's turn to be shocked at the way the world can change beneath you. Probably that's how they felt in Winchester when Lindisfarne was burned, or in Rome when Augustus declared himself Emperor.

    Gawd, from the maturity of your writing I’d always picked that you were in your 30s.

    Aww, thanks.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    But these are kids who have lived in a country under heavy manners for half their lives.

    And I believe they are entitled to the same sense of relief that many young Europeans felt with the fall of the Berlin Wall. I can't say that I shared in that relief with the dismissal of Bin Laden. Perhaps it's my age but I was touched by sense of futility this time round. But I wouldn't begrudge anyone those feelings after all isn't that what being young is all about ?

    They're already shipping the body bags
    Down by the Rio Grande
    But you can fight for democracy at home
    And not in some foreign land

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    these are things that may be amenable to symbolism

    That's it! That's why this feels different. I know that the death of one terrorist shouldn't make a difference, but symbols are important to us apes.

    Or he's just a grown-up

    Yeah, nah. I really don't think many grown ups could do as well as he did. In this case I think he was presidential, credit where it's due.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3325 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    However, this 'ends' nothing. Al Qaeda isn't a centralised hierarchical organisation, is a network of decentralised cells, and moreover, Afghanistan is still a hellish quagmire of ethnic and religious rivalries. Hamid Karzai's government is corrupt and still doesn't control the whole country. Added to which, the West may have just made him a martyr for his cause, and combat and fatalities may now escalate. And while I can't blame the Yanks for getting cathartic over the death of the architect of 9/11, what about bin Laden and al Qaeda's assistance in the Taliban's bloody repression of the Hazara Shia communities in Northern Afghanistan. Some mention would have been nice.
    And I suppose this means Obama will get a second term and the Democrats might regain the House of Representatives due to mission accomplished...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    An excellent article on the whole Afghanistan strategic nightmare is...

    Matthieu Adkins: “Disappearing Ink” Harpers: January 2011: 39-44.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    surely once this is over we can get back to being normal, we can get back to acting like civilised human beings.

    I'd like to. In fact, I'm starting today, going to list out long term goals. Something I haven't done since...about 2001. I almost feel like my plans just went on hold, and things took on a life of their own. Curious that I haven't noticed until now.

    Actually this is bringing another writing to mind, although I can't actually think where it was from, about what the effect was in Hitler's bunker when the news came that he had killed himself. It was like "a spell had lifted". People smiled, smoked, joked, all things they hadn't done in a long time while his insane presence stalked the halls. Then they did the most obvious thing that should have been done long before, they worked out how to surrender.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8451 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4444 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Young,

    And I suppose this means Obama will get a second term and the Democrats might regain the House of Representatives due to mission accomplished…

    I look pretty regularly at Talking Points Memo’s poll tracker, and Obama has slid out to a -5% approval rating over the last month or so.

    But … even before yesterday, it suddenly started to close up. On Sunday, hours before the news broke, Rasmussen (whose sampling method actively disfavours Democrats) had him 49-49 and Gallup had him 46-45. And what had been a huge advantage for the Republicans in Congress is all the way back to 0.7% So he’s already had some momentum, without the Bin Laden factor. The next few polls are going to be very interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18827 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The next few polls are going to be very interesting.

    Yes, I get the impression he's only just warming up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8451 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Amongst Indonesian Muslims, [confidence in Bin Laden] dropped from 59% to 26%.

    Shouldn't this stat be a little concerning? I mean, there are 200 million (give or take) Muslims in Indonesia, so what, around 50 million support Bin Laden? Or am I misreading something...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1129 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But … even before yesterday, it suddenly started to close up.

    I'd have to look at the dates, but it can't have helped that Donald Trump kicked the birther crazy up to levels even many wing-nuts were backing away from, and the GOP's budget plans aren't pleasing anyone.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11916 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    Then they did the most obvious thing that should have been done long before, they worked out how to surrender.

    Yes...well that was then. Will there be a lessening of tension from this?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1210 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I was fourteen in 2001

    I was 19, second year at uni, studying international relations of all things, so it was certainly an interesting time (albeit not in a good way). I do remember the week or so after a lot of friends being fairly terrified that world war three was going to kick off.

    What it did enable was 7 years of Bush et al scare mongering, state sanctioned tourture, two wars, countless soldiers and civilians dead. Has anyone really won? I doubt it

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Jonty,

    Great letter in the NY Times yesterday:

    'No man is an island, entire unto himself:...Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.'

    Mr. Osama bin Laden has been removed from this Earth in much the same manner as those he was minded to dispatch while he lived. Quickly, with little warning and no alternative other than to face the finality of death itself.

    This, however, is unlikely to be the end of the matter. The legacy he has left behind is guaranteed to cause more deaths and destruction in the days ahead. There is a distinct tendency in the nature of Man to have one such violent death presage the need for so many more; that the ancient imperative of 'blood will have blood' is as true today as it has ever been.

    After millenia of blindly following and reaping the rewards of this grim maxim, it might just be in everyone's interests to stop, think and then approach certain situations with methods far better than those used in past or even present times.

    Katikati • Since Mar 2007 • 101 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Shouldn’t this stat be a little concerning? I mean, there are 200 million (give or take) Muslims in Indonesia, so what, around 50 million support Bin Laden? Or am I misreading something…

    There are nuances there. Even in 2007, only 10% of Indonesian Muslims said that suicide bombing was always or sometimes justified, a 16-point drop in five years. It will be in single figures by now.

    The full wording of the “Confidence” question was this:

    Full question wording: Now I’m going to read a list of political leaders. For each, tell me how much confidence you have in each leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs – a lot of confidence, some confidence, not too much confidence, or no confidence at all. Osama bin Laden

    Notes: Figures based on Muslim responses only. Confidence combines “a lot of confidence” and “some confidence” responses. No Confidence combines “not too much confidence” and “no confidence at all."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18827 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to andin,

    Yes...well that was then. Will there be a lessening of tension from this?

    I expect for terrorists it will be business as usual. But the US might take the symbolic opportunity to plot a better course.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8451 posts Report Reply

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