Our eternal war with Eurasia needs no justification, yet has always been justified.
Update - 9pm: I learned about the death of Osama bin Laden during last night's long baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets, first via Phillies blog threads I participate in, then from the ESPN broadcast team. Soon, chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A" could be heard circling the stadium, no doubt to the bemusement of the players on the field. Much was made of the notoriously difficult Philadelphia fans' ability to "get this one right". As if they would be anything other than virulently patriotic. The threads alternated between patriotic, celebratory guff and half-hearted talk about the game at hand, which for once, it was said, was meaningless in the face of Important Good News. A few voices here and there expressed some ambivalence, but for the most part, patriotism brought everyone together, rallying everyone around Obama. Post-game wraps dealt with the game in a perfunctory manner: the Phillies lost, but it's ok, it was a Good Day. I was annoyed (I wanted to talk about the game!), and I felt, renewed, my isolation from the political culture at large. Why do I still allow myself to be surprised that there is still so much distance? The persistence, ten years after the fact, in most Americans' abject ignorance of any sort of coherent explanations for why things happen is, somehow, still, dismaying for me.
"To the extent that people are euphoric over Bin Laden's death, this is a measure of the permanence of his achievement." So says Richard Estes, at American Leftist, in his excellent post on the subject: "[T]here is a perverse, unacknowledged alliance between al-Qaeda, neoliberals and neoconsevatives, as all three groups are in agreement about the urgency associated with the need to marginalize and impoverish workers even if it is in the service of strikingly different visions of the future." He also includes some updates, with useful links on the failure of the option Bin Laden represented, its irrelevance to the changes shaping the Middle East now.