The killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces under the discreet direction of President Barack Obama — not just that it was done, but how it was done — is vindication for all of us who saw the Bush Doctrine as a Neanderthal response to the modern threat of terrorism.
Instead of using covert operations and espionage that might create real intelligence about terrorists, they launch hamhanded, full-scale invasions of countries, which is kind of like trying to swat a fly with a construction crane.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were questionable by any moral, ethical standard, or religious or otherwise. But a few of us Americans in the hip-hop generation saw in those campaigns the violation of another code of conduct, lesser known but no less true:
Number Two: Never let em know your next move/
Don’t you know bad boys move in silence or violence?
— “Ten Crack Commandments,” The Notorious B.I.G.
The Republicans of Bush and Cheney’s ilk fancied themselves tough guys, and caricatured liberals and Democrats as pie-in-the-sky peaceniks and wimpy warriors. But these conservative chicken hawks were terrible at war. Their “smoke-em-out yeee-hah” cowboy foreign policy ultimately cost the world exponentially more lives than were lost on 9/11 and didn’t focus on the people who truly threatened our homeland. The neo-cons, armchair warriors all, didn’t know the first thing about true grit.
Even Biggie could have told them: The conflicts of the 21st century require the patience, forethought, caution, and most importantly, the reticence that Obama promised to bring to bear. Last night, those philosophies triumphed over Bush’s brutal bombast and imprudence.
Like many liberals, I’ve found Obama’s tragic flaw to be his addiction to moderation and his compulsive need to be seen as a conciliator. But the War on Terror has proved to be one area where his restraint has proven potent, and deadly to his enemies. I only wish he’d move in for the kill with his domestic political enemies to push the policies that the weakened middle class and poor so desperately need.
He might. Obama has proven, once and for all, that he understands the value of stealth, and — in a life or death situation — is surprisingly good with the knife.
Dan Charnas is the Editorial Director of NewsOne.com, and the author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop (New American Library/Penguin, 2010).