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May 03, 2011

Celebrating the Big Event

Mona Eltahawy:

I could hear the cheers as I got out of the taxi, two blocks away...It was minutes after President Obama's announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and I was heeding a friend's suggestion that we – both Muslims – take candles and stand in vigil where the World Trade Centre stood before Bin Laden's footsoldiers took it down.

So it was a shock to find hundreds of others had turned that hallowed ground into the scene of a home crowd celebrating an away victory they hadn't attended...

This is from the transcript of the video of bin Laden and friends reminiscing shortly after 9/11 about how incredibly well it had gone. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was then one of Al Qaeda's spokesmen:

OSAMA BIN LADEN: Those young men [inaudible] said in deeds, in New York and Washington -- speeches that overshadowed all other speeches made everywhere else in the world....

SLAIMAN ABOU-GHAITH: I was sitting with the sheik in a room, then I left to go to another room where there was a TV set. The TV broadcasted the big event. The scene was showing an Egyptian family sitting in their living room, they exploded with joy. Do you know when there is a soccer game and your team wins? It was the same expression of joy.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at May 3, 2011 12:48 PM

Great call, Jon. As soon as I saw pictures of the crowds celebrating Bin Laden's death my thoughts went back to 9/11 when I saw footage of Palestinians cheering as they watched the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Posted by: pb at May 3, 2011 01:46 PM

I reiterate: Gunfighter Law, Lynch Mob mentality. But I digress, let's celebrate.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 3, 2011 02:59 PM

I always liked story problems when I was in grade school. Here's a story problem for you:

Two Sporting Events

One team loses 19 guys, spends around 100 grand, kills thousands, brings down the World Trade Center, takes out one side on the Pentagon, and destroys 4 airliners in the process.

Another team suffers thousands of casualties, spends around a trillion dollars, gets mired in one of the longest and most pointless wars in its country's history to kill ONE GUY.

Which team should be cheering a victory?

Posted by: Paul Avery at May 3, 2011 03:00 PM

It was not only the people on the streets that were celebrating when the news broke. The network reporters and anchors had also joined in the chorus. NOT ONE ( at least while I was watching the news ) asked a question if "killing was the right thing to do". If this is defined as "JUSTICE" by the most powerful person in the world, can one expect anything different from the masses? I had certainly hoped so.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 3, 2011 03:16 PM

Tao Te Ching, Witter Bynner's translation, chapter 31:

Even the finest arms are an instrument of evil,
A spread of plague,
And the way for a vital man to go is not the way of a soldier.
But in time of war men civilized in peace
Turn from their higher to their lower nature.
Arms are an instrument of evil,
No measure for thoughtful men
Until there fail all other choice
But sad acceptance of it.
Triumph is not beautiful.
He who thinks triumph beautiful
Is one with a will to kill,
And one with a will to kill
Shall never prevail upon the world.
It is a good sign when man's higher nature comes forward,
A bad sign when his lower nature comes forward,
When retainers take charge
And the master stays back
As in the conduct of a funeral.
The death of a multitude is cause for mourning:
Conduct your triumph as a funeral.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 3, 2011 03:57 PM

". The network reporters and anchors had also joined in the chorus. NOT ONE ( at least while I was watching the news ) asked a question if "killing was the right thing to do". "

And some of these same reporters were aghast and appalled at the thumbs-up guards at Abu Ghraib. War weary, hell, Americanos are as gung-ho as ever!

Thanks for the Tao sermon, mistah charley.

Posted by: Paul Avery at May 3, 2011 04:15 PM

Steeler Running Back Rashard Mendenhall is being laughed at by football commentators today for tweeting that it's ridiculous that people were so happy to kill Osama. Cassius Clay lives.

Posted by: N E at May 3, 2011 05:19 PM

I could never tell their leaders from our leaders, they all sound the same. Things are going to get worse from here on out and bin Laden will soon be eclipsed by empty stomachs.

Posted by: rob payne at May 3, 2011 05:46 PM

Yes, we're dealing in straight power concepts now.

Posted by: Nell at May 3, 2011 10:08 PM

Colonel Nell Buendia.

Posted by: N E at May 3, 2011 10:21 PM

Translations of Chinese always seem ridiculously verbose. I mean, I'll admit that I can never make sense out of ancient Chinese (was Laozi's language even Mandarin?), but even I can see that it's simple ancient Chinese.

Posted by: godoggo at May 4, 2011 01:13 AM

OK, I just found out from Wikipedia that ancient Chinese is always simple. Anyway, I'm not gonna study it.

Posted by: godoggo at May 4, 2011 03:05 AM

OK, here's an explanation of the text in modern Chinese. Maybe I'll look it over someday...

Posted by: godoggo at May 4, 2011 03:19 AM

Posted by: godoggo at May 4, 2011 03:20 AM

Those of us capable of laughing out loud at the absurdities of the lies about mass murder (those of us who have that as one of the items in our behavioral repertoire, not necessarily our only or even our usual response) may well enjoy Jeff Huber's recent column. The nickname he uses for our President is new to me, and seems apt: Barry "The Rock" Warbomber, portrayed by actor Dwayne Johnson.

There's much, much more.

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at May 4, 2011 09:41 AM

Funnier, faster:

Posted by: godoggo at May 4, 2011 10:55 AM

According to the above they knew where Obama was oh excuse me bin Laden was since 2005.

Posted by: rob payne at May 4, 2011 10:59 AM

Will we celebrate when we kill the Earth?

There are big problems facing us, so these blood lust fiestas are a meaningless way to celebrate.

Posted by: Dredd at May 4, 2011 11:36 AM

Rob Payne: Its called "turning a blind eye", funny how that works. Its starting to look like EVERYBODY knew his "secret hide-a-way" except U&I, the American Public.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 4, 2011 12:24 PM

Let there be more people like Daniel Barenboim whose mission is to bring peace between peoples and celebrate and NOT KILL..


Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 4, 2011 12:58 PM

Mike Meyer,

There is a whole generation of Americans who never even heard of bin Laden. The news media isn't just dishonest, the people in the news media are also retarded, severely. This is not because they are stupid rather they have been indoctrinated which blinds them to any kind of real objectivity.

Posted by: rob payne at May 4, 2011 05:56 PM

"There is a whole generation of Americans who never even heard of bin Laden."

Uh, who exactly are you talking about, here? Four-year-olds?

Posted by: saurabh at May 4, 2011 06:49 PM

Check out Ioz's post today. You might be surprised.

Posted by: rob payne at May 4, 2011 08:51 PM

Mona's had a poor relationship with muslims in general:

Posted by: Jenny at May 5, 2011 01:04 AM

I EAGERLY await "Celeberty Waterboarding Nite" on TV. (loser gets 2 taps)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 5, 2011 06:32 PM

Here's my pitch for the pilot. Waterboard Bradley Manning to get a solid CONFESSION/ INSTANT CONVICTION against wikileaks, Julian gets 2 taps(pop,pop) cause' he's the LOSER. ALL on live TV.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 5, 2011 06:42 PM

The wartocracy goes on like the beat.

Posted by: Dredd at May 5, 2011 09:33 PM

Yesterday, at noon, the St. John the Evangelist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, was standing room only. It was First Communion for three dozen young parishioners, and relatives and friends had come from far and wide. Afterwards, missus charley told me she had overheard a conversation in the row behind us, between relatives of a young boy receiving his first communion that day - he had been praying for the soul of Osama bin Laden, because the boy felt compassion for him as he had to meet God carrying so heavy a burden of sin.

Later, on the radio, I heard President Obama saying to Steve Kroft, "As nervous as I was about this whole process, the one thing I didn’t lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out. Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined." And I thought, "After World War II the victorious Allies held trials for the Nazis at Nuremberg. Here in the 21st century we don't bother with formalities like that. O brave new world, that has such streamlined procedures in it!"

Well, actually, the modified quote from Shakespeare didn't pop into my mind as soon as I heard Obama - I just thought of the apparently unimportant difference between immediate people's justice, sometimes called "lynching", and something with a judge, defense attorney, etc.

May the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above - and have mercy on our souls, if any.

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at May 9, 2011 07:24 AM


I didn't watch the interview with Obama on 60 minutes last night, but when I reviewed the transcript this AM I had a thought. Obama pointed out how the U.S.'s moral superiority was shown by the care with which bin Laden's body had been disposed of, after he had been captured, and then summarily executed with gunshots to the head.

KROFT: Was it your decision to bury him at sea?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It was a joint decision. We thought it was important to think through ahead of time how we would dispose of the body if he were killed in the compound. And I think that what we tried to do was, consulting with experts in Islamic law and ritual, to find something that was appropriate that was respectful of the body.

Frankly we took more care on this than, obviously, bin Laden took when he killed 3,000 people. He didn’t have much regard for how they were treated and desecrated. But that, again, is somethin’ that makes us different. And I think we handled it appropriately.

I recognize that hindsight is always 20/20, but notice how Obama is claimin' clear foresight here. The option of taking bin Laden prisoner had been rejected. The plan for tossin' his corpse in the ocean was already worked out. Anyone who doubts whether bin Laden deserved his fate "needs to have his head examined." Given all this planning for likely eventualities, why couldn't they have planned to shoot him in the heart a few times, once they'd grabbed him, instead of in the head? The post-mortem pictures would have been much more presentable. It would have been much more feasible for bin Laden's head to have been examined. It's too late now, of course, but they ought to keep this in mind for the next Emmanuel Goldstein.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 9, 2011 07:58 AM

All this hoopla over Bin Laden's untimely demise leaves me wistful for a quiet evening in front of the fire reading Goldstein's Book and a Godfather's Pizza, Chicago style.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 9, 2011 01:46 PM

yes, mistah charley, emmanuel goldstein precisely.

People who talk about bin Laden generally remind me of football fans, of which I am one, but with regard to both football and bin Laden I am aware that I don't actually know very much. Most people seem to have trouble remembering that they don't really "know" much. Almost everybody has strong opinions, sometimes fanatical opinions. ("fan" comes from "fanatic"--remember?)

What is discouraging is that Obama and other leaders know this. They know we're getting a load of crap, and they respond the way ellsburg warned kissinger would happen--they don't bother to pay any attention to us, because we don't know what they know and so can't tell them anything meaningful about the decisions they face. They can only guess what we'd approve of if we knew what they do, or something close, because we can't even begin to evaluate their real choices. As a result, as Richard Nixon said, the average American is like the child in the family, and that's how we're treated. All the secrecy laws make this possible. We just get bin laden and soldier action heroes instead of santa and the boogey man and the easter bunny.

Posted by: N E at May 9, 2011 10:00 PM

Right, they know the secret recipe for the world's best potato salad. If only we knew how to make it too!

Posted by: Rob Payne at May 10, 2011 02:04 AM


299 reviews, 4 1/2 stars

Kaye Lynn Schnieders says, "This is the creamiest, richest potato salad you will ever try. The secret is in the homemade dressing. I get nothing but raves every time I make this. You may increase the amount of corn starch for thicker dressing, and please feel free to adjust the sugar and onion to your taste. Much of the fun of cooking is changing a recipe to make it your own. Happy cooking and eating!"


6 medium potatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
6 hard-cooked eggs, diced

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
salt to taste
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup butter
1 cup mayonnaise


Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain. Cool, peel and dice. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the onion, celery, 1 teaspoon of salt, and hard-cooked eggs.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together 2 eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Stir in the vinegar, milk, and mustard. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Refrigerate until cool, then stir in the mayonnaise.
Stir the dressing into the bowl of potato salad gently until evenly coated. Chill several hours or overnight before serving for best flavor.

Makes 12 servings.


Hard-cooked eggs
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, and peel.

A number of commenters added bacon.

Other comments: shale says, "Don't freak out if the dressing smells really weird while you're cooking it, that's normal. If it's your first time and you're nervous about cooking the potatoes just right, make more than 6 and use the ones with the best consistency in the salad, saving the others for mashing later."
Medic's Wife
says, "My boyfriend wanted hamburgers and potato salad for his bday. I decided to make homemade. I've never made it before and was a little nervous. My late mom made THE BEST homemade potato salad and I wanted it to be like hers.... I changed a few things about this recipe. I added 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle, used green onion instead of white, and used red potato's instead of regular. Other than that, everything was the same.(NEW EDIT: must use 2 tsp cornstarch instead of one-it makes the PERFECT consistency). This potato salad was UNBELIEVABLE! I was THRILLED when my boyfriend and my dad said it was even better than mom's! They said she would be so proud of me!"

Posted by: Fannie Farmer (Mrs.) at May 10, 2011 08:10 AM