Within an hour of waking up yesterday from the diabetic coma he slipped into shortly after 9/11, Ted Banks, the self-styled biggest movie buff on the planet, was in a theater eating popcorn, drinking a large diet soda and watching Zero Dark Thirty, the second installment of Katherine Bigelow’s heroic effort to narrow the lenses through which the world sees America’s Global War on Terror.
A teary-eyed Banks told reporters after the show, “I’m just so proud of my country. Where else but America could the people have limited the extent of their overreaction to something like 9/11 to torturing a few people we knew with 100% certainty to be involved in the terrorism.
“It would have been so easy, I’m sure, for us to go on a rampage and just start invading innocent countries and dishing out misery to innocent Muslims by the millions. I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to learn how famously the US Constitution did its job as a bulwark against the depraved behavior the peoples of so many lesser countries are prone to.
“Certainly the limited torture we were guilty of is a small stain on our exceptional reputation. It’s not really legal or maybe even right to brutalize defenseless people in our custody even when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have it coming.
“But my god. Jesus himself I’m sure dealt the odd egregious wrongdoer the occasional backhand upside the head.”
After a long awkward silence, Mr. Banks went on to say, “It must have taken a great deal of courage for Katherine Bigelow to shine a light on the one dark spot on the otherwise so honorable manner in which we’ve conducted ourselves post 9/11.
“And kudos to Bigelow artistically as well. Who would have thought you could come up with enough material for a feature length film telling the story of a country that showed so much restraint in its reaction to a national tragedy as to limit itself to a decade-long search for one bad guy.”
After another long silence, Mr. Banks added, “I also thought it was a wise decision on Bigelow’s part not to show all the legal troubles the torturers and their superiors must have faced. I really hope the prison terms they received aren’t too long. I can even see where a presidential pardon might have been in order. Did that happen?”
“Not exactly,” said one reporter. “Sort of,” said another.
In other global war news, the Obama administration was still scrambling today to calm the widespread panic in America that erupted earlier in the week when the public thought Obama spokesman Jay Carney was talking about all Muslims when he assured the country that the president only performs extrajudicial killings when there is an imminent threat of violent attack.
“Jesus,” said one alarmed American, “hasn’t Obama been killing like tens of hundreds of Muslims all over the world with his drones? Doesn’t that mean America has been narrowly escaping violent attacks by the thousands?”
“Oh my goodness,” said White House spokesman Carney. “Everybody needs to just stay calm. The DOJ white paper everybody’s so worked up about makes it crystal clear that it’s only Muslims who are also American citizens that we only kill extrajudicially when they pose an imminent threat.
“And even then our legal team has been quite successful at broadening the concept of imminence enough that there’s no reason for Americans to infer from an extrajudicial killing of a Muslim-American that a violent attack was imminent in the traditional sense of the word.
“And of course there’s even much less cause for alarm when the public hears about all the extrajudicial killings of Muslims who are not Americans.
“In many ways the president is being unfairly victimized here by his own success. With all the progress he’s made in legally redefining “violent” and “threat” and “militant”, and given that his drone program itself has nudged the threat of violent attack posed by just about every angered Muslim in the world into the realm of the so broadened concept of “imminent” by which he decides if an extrajudicial killing is warranted, and given, as we’ve pointed out, that the planet doesn’t really have a court on it or any other body with the power to judge if an extrajudicial killing was warranted, the president has such a free hand to extrajudicially kill Muslims that he can’t even start justifying all his extrajudicial killing of Muslims without alarming the American public.
“Trust me. Americans can go back to sleeping well. The president’s got this.”