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May 2, 2011


There are some radically different ways of reading this picture.  Are we looking at understandable pride and justifiable relief, dancing on a grave,  or “jingoism meets Spring Break” — especially since many of these kids were probably in Middle School in ‘01.  And then, to the extent it looks like election night in ‘08, it might also be an early Obama ‘12 re-election party.

Setting also matters. Similar photos from Dearborn (Same from  Ground Zero) seemed a lot easier for me to consume than what I was seeing last night from much more White and conservative Washington.

On the other hand, the visual vibe from Time Square rang much closer to what we see above, where it was less Spring Break than New Years Eve.

Photo 1: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP. caption: Crowds gathers outside the White House in Washington early Monday, May 2, 2011, to celebrate after President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. photo 2: Mario Tama/Getty Images. caption: People celebrate in Times Square after the death of accused 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama May 2, 2011 in New York City. Bin Laden has been killed by US forces in Abbottabad, near Islamabad, Pakistan almost a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and his body is in possession of the United States.)

  • John

    We are the good guys right? Every week Obama kills innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And then on Sunday, as Bush did, he takes his wife and kids to church.

    This morning NPR was doing non-stop reporting on the assassination of Osama. The show “Marketplace” posed the question of will Osama’s death result in consumers getting out and spending more.

    If it was a war crime when Osama did it; and a war crime when Bush did it; it;’s still a war crime when Obama does it. The American tobacco industry will kill 400,000 Americans this year. Osama Bin Laden never dared dream of numbers that high. And yet there are no done attacks or targetted assassinations on tobacco industry executives.

    What a simple minded silly people we are. “USA-USA-USA-USA-USA-USA”

  • Joe Kubiniec


    The real photo analogy is contrasting the photos of Arabs dancing in the streets after 9/11 with US knuckleheads dancing in the streets when we kill (1) man….


    • John

      An excerpt from a response by veterans For Peace:

      By David Swanson

      The plane I was on landed in Washington, D.C., Sunday night, and the pilot came on the intercom to tell everyone to celebrate: our government had killed Osama bin Laden. This was better than winning the Super Bowl, he said.

      But let’s return to the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being. A decade ago that would not have seemed as natural to a U.S. airline pilot. The automatic assumption would not have been that there could be no dissenters to that celebration. A decade ago torture was considered irredeemably evil. A decade ago we believed people should have fair trials before they are declared guilty or killed. A decade ago, if a president had announced his new power to assassinate Americans, at least a few people would have asked where in the world he got the power to assassinate non-Americans.

      Is it too late to go back 10 years in time in some particular ways? As we put bin Laden behind us, can we put the degredation of our civil liberties and our representative government, and our honesty, accountability, and the rule of law behind us too? Can we recover the basic moral deceny that we used to at the very least pretend and aspire to?

      Not while we’re dancing in the street to celebrate death.

      Imagine the propaganda that the U.S. media could make of video footage of a foreign country where the primitive brutes are dancing in the streets to celebrate the murder of a tribal enemy. That is the propaganda we’ve just handed those who will view bin Laden as a martyr. When their revenge comes, we will know exactly what we are supposed to do: exact more revenge in turn to keep the cycle going.

      An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but the blind people think that they still see. The world looks to them like a Hollywood adventure movie. In those stories, killing somone generally causes a happy ending. That misconception is responsible for piles and piles of corpses to which more will now be added.

    • gulati

      What a bloody, primitive culture we have. You could put Al Qaeda demonstrators and American celebrators side-by-side and see little difference.

  • Jeffrey Goldfarb

    I find the response to the killing of Osama bin Laden puzzling. The heroes of Tahir Square seem to me more significant than the death of the leader of a demonic terrorist network. The former is a cause for celebration, the latter for somber appraisal.

  • tinwoman

    Ridiculous reaction, this was a targeted assassination, not a sports event. Nobody should be happy about it, and not a few should be questioning its legality, morality, and wisdom. But no, here we have a huge party. We’re such morons.

  • Danielle

    Middle school? More like elementary school. I was in middle school on 9/11 and I’ve been out of grad school for a year now.

    • Dont Blameyourtools

      How old are those kids in front of the White House? 16?

  • Danielle

    I would say college-aged. College freshmen today were 4th graders during 9/11.

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