[skip to end of diary for diary title question. UPDATE: in comments, a few are unhappy with use of word "conspiracy". However, we have yet to hear any fleshed-out alternative theories from said commenters, as of 1pm PST]
I'm a news junkie. Have been since college a few years ago. Modern-day news is like a car accident you just can't turn away from. Probably not too healthy to read it every day, and I usually avoid news (and Internet) when I'm out of town as I was these past few days.
While gathered around the teevee a couple nights back, watching the nba playoffs with a few other dudes, the Osama story broke. The exact memory of "when I first heard Osama died" is kind of vague, due to the fact that Osama bin Laden is not terribly important to me, although his evasion of U.S. capture has served as a Point of Irony for the past decade. I believe the nba playoff game actually broke into the game with the news, and my buddies told me to change the channel to cable news to see the President's address.
For those of us who are political junkies, it's amusing to make comments on political speeches as they happen, just as sports fans talk a lot during sports events/pressers. But my buddies, who are politically apathetic, had their eyes glued to the screen. Though I was enjoying the speech Obama gave, a smile was glued to my face.
Ah, politics. I smiled every time Obama took credit for the killing, and inwardly imagined all the whining from the neocons. [ Imagine: "they took Bush's credit" being said in same voice as South Park hillbillies, "they took er JEBS"].
But then we all started talking amongst ourselves. S. and I expressed shock at the video clips being shown, repeatedly, of 20-something kids with frat sweatshirts and American flags on. It looked like a college had just won a football game. War is not a game or a joke or a sports event. Even the targeted killing of Osama resulted in the loss of life of a woman who may have been uninvolved.
All those reports that got leaked to the media? About the "vicious firefight?" NOPE! Then an hour later on the teevee I see the macho-testicles that Jon Stewart (ugh, Jon, why??) put onto the map of the U.S. [ Pres. Obama's tone of seriousness is most appropriate for these events ]
Only one of the five people killed in the raid that got Osama bin Laden was armed and fired a shot, a senior defense official said Thursday, acknowledging the new account differs greatly from original administration portrayals of a chaotic, intense and prolonged firefight.
As the Navy SEALs moved into bin Laden's compound, they were fired on by bin Laden's courier, who was in the guesthouse, the official said. The SEALs returned fire, and the courier was killed, along with a woman with him. The official said she was hit in the crossfire.
The Americans were never fired on again as they encountered and killed a man on the first floor and then bin Laden's son on a staircase, before arriving at bin Laden's room. Officials have said bin Laden was killed after he appeared to be lunging for a weapon.
My buddies and I continued the evening, watching NBA and asking each other:
" Why did they kill Osama? Wouldn't he need to be interrogated for intelligence? "
" Why dump his body off a boat? Won't that feed all the birther trolls more ammo for a conspiracy? "
There are probably good answers to those questions, but you wouldn't get them watching traditional television media in the US. It was just a bunch of wanna-be tough guys and chickenhawks on some channels slapping each other on the back (like over at Faux News) or a bunch of college kids (perhaps intoxicated) cheering on the other channels.
One encouraging thing: even conservative warmongering talking heads on the screen that night were asking questions like , " Why don't we get out of Afghanistan now? Mission accomplished". Then you'd see the other talking head trying to hold the message intact that " well, al quaeda is still a top-level threat, and YOU should be very scared of them still". I haven't been watching news on tv or online since then until right now, but my hope is that more Americans are shaking off the fear of boogeymen that led us into this Iraq/Afpak quagmire in the first place. For all that is good in the universe, let us hope this killing of Osama can be a transition out of the Afpak mess.
Here's my question:
Are there folks out there who, like my buddy watching the teevee with me, talked to friends and family after this event and heard the "we didn't really kill osama" conspiracy theory? [not just the 'gary johnson is taking over dailykos' kind of conspiracy theory, I mean an EPIC conspiracy theory].
My buddy's MOTHER, a professional woman in her 50s, was on the phone with my buddy the next morning explaining how she is a skeptic. We overhear him telling her, "Mom, that is the kind of wackiness that led to the birther conspiracies". He also pointed out that no human being who isn't at an event can prove that the event happened, especially without video/photos. Me being a political junkie, I wanted to snatch the phone and ask this woman how she could possibly fall for a conspiracy theory like that.
So far, that's the only friend/family member that I've heard about directly, although a couple other buddies this week said they've heard grumblings of skepticism. I've also seen on Facebook wall posts a couple of comments about how "obama only did this because it's campaign season". [not sure what campaign is being referenced...] We need a name and a shame label to apply to these folks who find it fashionable to foment conspiracies, out of boredom or a desire to be a contrarian or whatever it is that inspires them. The truth means nothing to conspiracy theorists, they simply want attention. Whether it's on the news, or internet, or dkos.
Here's what I found on Google:
Cindy Sheehan thinks OBL wasn't killed, and uses the body dumped off the ship as evidence.
Of course, this whole event has shown just how rumor-based the internet can be during big stories. Fake OBL death pics were everywhere online, and were published by multiple news outlets, including the NYT.
Here's an article about the conspiracy theorists:
http://www.ibtimes.com/... [this article , however, wrongly demands the death pics to be released like Bush released the video of Saddam. Bush is hardly a role model for war.]
and it looks like Huffpost published a tweet from 'kagro x', someone that posts or used to post here at dkos.