Hunt for Bin Laden

August 11, 2011 § 9 Comments

“I suppose journalists try to look deeper into the pond,” says  Mark Boal in the current “Seeing” issue of Parabola.  “Sometimes they find ancient, brutal fish down there, sometims they just see a reflection of themselves.”   The investigative journalist and Oscar-winning screenwriter is very much in the news today because the current film he  is working with Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (the pair made The Hurt Locker) on a film about Navy SEAL Team 6’s hunt for Osama bin Laden.

New York Republican Congressman Peter King has called for an investigation into the Obama Administration’s cooperation with the untitled movie after Maureen Dowd wrote a column in The New York Times reporting that the film  received cooperation and help in describing a mission that was classified. The filmmakers released the following statement:

“Our upcoming film project about the decade long pursuit of Bin Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the collective efforts of three administrations, including those of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as well as the cooperative strategies and implementation by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the dangerous work of finding the world’s most wanted man was carried out by individuals in the military and intelligence communities who put their lives at risk for the greater good without regard for political affiliation. This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise.” Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.

The film will be released in Oct. 12, 2012, in the midst of the U.S. Presidential campaign.  Politics–ephemeral, dirty, venal politics–very likely motivated King’s charge.  Yet the night that President Obama announced that bin Laden was killed, Boal and Bigelow were already working on a film that focused on an earlier attempt by the Navy SEALs to hunt down the Al-Qaeda leader.  The pair are passionate seekers of truth in their way and they had already done a great deal of research on the ground, so it didn’t take long to change the movie, especially the ending.

A White House spokesman called the charge that Boal and Bigalow were getting secret information or preferential treatment “ridiculous.”   I believe it is. Boal, an investigative journalist, used contacts in the military and the Middle East to add veracity to The Hurt Locker.  Why would they be less interested in helping shape a movie about the hunt for bin Laden?  Indeed, I know that the military has cooperated with many movies.  I wrote a story about a meditation club in the Pentagon years ago (perhaps I’ll share it here), and my contacts there proudly spoke of the military cooperation in many movies, including The Hunt for Red October, Top Gun, and other films.

Now to the important point.  Why should someone like me, working at a journal like Parabola comment on this uproar, so fleeting and soon to be replaced?  Why should I write about the riots in England for that matter?  Because we can reflect on the news in a different way, not reacting but reflecting deeply.  I’ve begun to see how we can learn to be still and let the stirred-up murk of the news cycle settle down so that deeper truths and longings can appear.   It is possible to be in the midst of a turbulent world with equanimity, to seek more awareness, not just more facts.  At a meditation group I lead on Sunday nights, a man described this quality of equanimity as being like a flow-through tea bag, allowing life to flow through us without resistance.  What can come from such an attitude, which I think of as stillness-in-the-world, non-resistance to all that is arising, joy and terror?   It is a preparation.

“The question is not what to do but how to see,” says Jeanne de Salzmann in “Seeing”  (probably the first time that name has been linked with the leaking of U.S. military secrets).  “Seeing is the most important thing–the act of seeing.”

Don’t shrink from the world; seek to see what is really happening. Seeing clearly, insights, even noble truths can appear in the midst of this burning world.

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§ 9 Responses to Hunt for Bin Laden

  • Ron Starbuck says:

    Tracy,

    I’m gald you wrote about this; it really ties into a whole week or more, of much uncertainty and a political process that leaves a lot to be desired. Not to mention the ongoing culture wars; how long have they been going on now?

    Monday afternoon I was fit to be tied, after suffering a loss late last week and then this week too of over 10-15% in our investment portfolio. I quickly had to let that go, not that I had a choice, but in time I know it will all come back. Still, on Monday I was livid at any number of politicians and Congress, and maybe the world in general.

    By Tuesday afternoon I was a bit better and yesterday somewhat better still. Not, because the market has come roaring back in a bullish manner, but because I changed my perspective and decided to focus on other things. I tried to focus on something more positive, doing something good, shifting something within myself.

    I rarely listen or watch the news, but this week I’ve been watching it more than normal. Until last night, when my wife Joanne suddenly said she was sick of it all, of all the yelling at one another and the finger pointing. So, changed the station and evetually turned off the television.

    It doesn’t really matter if you are on the right or the left, although I suspect that most of your readers are at least a bit left of center by a degree or two. The finger pointing and seconded guessing happens on both sides, and as I’ve said more than once to some of my more conservative Tea Party friends on Face Book, that until we can all come back to center a bit, it’s just going to go on and on, as a daily diet of the news will attest.

    So, in this environment, there is much to be said about finding some sacred silence, in taking a few moments to simply sit in silence, even enjoy the silence. It’s not going make the world change instantly, but in time perhaps it can open us up enough to listen to one another, and to begin looking at one another with a bit more compassion. Our national and cultural dialogue at so many levels is deeply broken, and I don’t have a magic wand to fix it, not at all.

    But, I am in control of who I am, and how I react to others, and I know that can gain more ground with the people I disagree with by being civil and polite, by listening even, by letting them speak and me listen. When I do that, something else happens, they in turn begin to open up and listen to me with a measure civility. In the end, we may agree to disagree, but we are not walking away in anger from the conversation, with all our emotions tied up in knotts.

    Call it a a lesson in conflict management or conversational leadership, whatever you wish, but it’s a lesson that I wish a few people in Congress would start practicing now, as well as the media.

    Peace,
    Ron

  • tracycochran says:

    Thanks Ron. May we all come back to the center of ourselves; May we be still and know; may we invest in the Truth.

  • “May we be still and know; may we invest in the Truth”
    I love that, Tracy!
    I am sooo excited! I went to my last meeting on learning about ancient religions and how they influenced Christianity, or the parallels.
    this last one was on Buddhism.
    Chari, our speaker spoke of walking meditation, which she said is a follow- up meditation. She said she uses it at her church which has a labyrinth.
    She advised us to look at our feet as we say.”one foot,, one foot”, then the thoughts come, “Oh, I hear a siren, or I forgot to feed the cat.” and again say , “one foot, one foot” until suddenly we stop the thoughts. Stillness takes its place, and it is then that we see that we are one with the world and that our world is coming from us and what we think.”
    That leads me to what you and Ron have said about equanimity and, I think, compassion.
    We are all interrelated and it is of utmost importance to see this Truth, and not “shrink from the world; seek to see what is really happening. Seeing clearly, insights, even noble truths can appear in the midst of this burning world.” Amen

  • Nick_A says:

    “The question is not what to do but how to see,” says Jeanne de Salzmann in “Seeing” (probably the first time that name has been linked with the leaking of U.S. military secrets). “Seeing is the most important thing–the act of seeing.”

    Don’t shrink from the world; seek to see what is really happening. Seeing clearly, insights, even noble truths can appear in the midst of this burning world.
    *********************************

    That is one reason Simone Weil is an important influence in the world. She doesn’t offer consolation, platitudes, wonderful thoughts, lectures, or anything else. she simply invites us to “see” as she did: with conscious attention.

    “There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.” ~ Simone Weil

    This is pure seeing. But how many have the inner freedom to endure it?

  • Ron Starbuck says:

    I wanted to share this link with everyone from Paul Knitter’s blog at Union. I like what he has to say here and I think it is relevant too, as he quotes Richard Sennet from The Nation.

    http://unionindialogue.org/paulknitter/2011/07/30/prophecy-and-credibility/

  • Nick_A says:

    Thanks for the link Ron. As you know, I am at odds with this philosophy. But the point is that my appreciation of spirituality in Man refers to Man’s potential which begins with recognition of the fallen human condition as within Plato’s cave.

    Celebrating Interfaith within Plato’s cave is actually idolatry of society as the Great Beast as described by Plato. It is perfectly understandable for a person glorifying the Beast to exaggerate their ability to impartially listen.

    Liberalism and the progressive agenda discarding the foundation necessary to assure the perpetuation of inner spiritual “quality” within society assures the loss of quality even though often well motivated.

    So I appreciate these opportunities to read ideas that through contrast vivify what I’ve come to understand for example as Simone Weil’s explanation of social force and the necessity for the non secularized spiritual element within society..

    When I explore these oppositions over a scotch and soda tonight, I’ll think of you.🙂

  • Ron Starbuck says:

    God’s Whisper

    If God were to suddenly whisper
    in your ear, what would you hear?

    What do you know of life my child,
    of the great void out of which creation

    comes, and the stillness before all things?
    Do you know how to rest in such a silence?

    I have given you creation itself, in all its
    majesty and wonder, in its mystery.

    It is gift that only you can master, this life.
    Can you ask, as Job, where is wisdom found,

    and where is the place of understanding?
    Be silent, rest in my stillness, and let me speak.

    Who is the child of my heart, one who is
    open to all things in creation, who is in awe

    of the movement of sun and star, who knows
    the self, who can sit in comfort within my presence?

    Look deeply, look even deeper my child.
    Be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.

    For you are the deepest prayer of my heart.

    Ron Starbuck

    Copyright 2011

  • Very beautiful poem, Ron.
    I also loved Paul’s recent comment on his blog. Believe me, he is the epitome of the advice he gives!

  • Lewis Woodford says:

    Hi Nick,
    Just a thought that occured to me last night, When we read something like Plato’s Dialogues, aren’t our expectations conditioned by Plato’ agenda? In other words, whether we agree or disagree with the deus ex machina Socrates, we already know that Socrates will win the day – even in death. But real time dialogues are like miegakura – around the bend the student worthy of being a Socrates student MAY produce an argument, born of his or her unique inner and outer journeys – and his or her faith in them – that challenges the Master. The Socrates worthy of such a student must then dip into his or her inner and outer resources – and his or her faith in them – to bend, not break, and respond in a new fashon to continue the search for truth.
    In other words, in a very narrow and not necissarily spiritual fashion, are not all debates interfaith dialogues to some extent? (Yes, I think I may have slightly redefined ‘interfaith’ to some extent, but if you remember, I passionately believe that all of us lead daily lives that are immersed in a hierachy of tangled, unconcious faiths. In fact, maybe I am using faith as a verb…). I freely acknowledge the the idolatry in the Cave, but I do not see the dialogue as the problem. Rather , fault is found in;
    1. The INTENT of some of thoes engaged, and
    2. The FAILURE of others to rigorously apply reason and logic to the
    task at hand.
    So as an example: the Gilligan’s Island retinue of Republican candidates at the last debate. In that Cave, all the clowns failed to entirely hide their true egotistical intents, and none of the so called journalists asked either well designed penetrating questions or good follow-ups. Failure on BOTH sides served the Great Beast, but this does not mean that ignorance, greed, sloth or an exagerated ability to impartially listen should invalidate dialogue – indeed, such a hermetic, nihilistic philosophy would, I imagine imprison us in intellectual prisons of our own devising, rendering all debate invalid. And I surmise that you believe this to some extent also — othewise why waste valuable time in a dialogue with your friends here?
    Or, I could be wrong….
    Peace,
    Lewis

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