As much as I've tried to mediate my media intake since Monday, the consensual tenor of American liberals has been unmistakable: unity! Now is not the time for partisan bickering, point-scoring, or revisionism. Now is the time for America to reclaim its sense of divine purpose, to see its pride bloom phoenix-like, and to (again) nail shut history's coffin! Everyone wave your copy of Team America: World Police in the air like you just don't care!
It's all, of course, disingenuous as hell: liberals are more than happy to engage in the kind of hawkish dick-swinging and self-aggrandizing revisionism for which they've long maligned the right-wing. So great was Obama's coup sans grâce against Bin Laden that much of the American left is gloating that they've beaten the Neo-Cons at their own game.
But chest-thumping machismo isn't a good look for liberals, nor one they're accustomed to, and so there's been the perfunctory lip-service to civil liberties, common dignity, and the rule of law. This in turn produces an aneurysm-inducing level of cognitive dissonance - hypocrisy & self-serving sanctimony so impenetrable that, for example, a single NYT editorial can proclaim that torture "violate[s] the law and any acceptable moral standard" while simultaneously asserting that "the battered intelligence community should now be basking in the glory of a successful operation."
After a decade of having been defamed as cowards, pinkos, pantywaists, apologists, and traitors, and especially now that their guy is in office, American liberals are desperate to occupy the first-person plural within "We killed Bin Laden!" Are they sure they want to put themselves at the center of the story? There is a way for liberals to indulge their id-inflamed glee while distancing themselves from the decade-long horror show preceding Bin Laden's demise. If instead of "we," they said that "a military-mafioso squad of anonymous assassins, operating outside international law, killed Bin Laden," then they'd be mere apologists (as opposed to patrons) of state-sponsored murder.
But that won't do, will it? Claiming Bin Laden's head as a trophy is an all-or-nothing proposition. If liberals are going to wear the broad-shouldered suit of the authoritarian Alpha, then they've got to own it, and I mean all of it: Guantánamo Bay, "enhanced" interrogation, Maher Arar, Abu Ghraib, the Haditha massacre, the Mahmudiyah killings, $1.2 trillion dollars, and at least 919,967 dead. Whoever claims authorship of the Osama Bin Laden's bullet-riddled dénouement signs their name to the whole, gory narrative.
Hope it was all worth it, you bloodlusty exceptionalists.