[Originally posted 1 May 2011]
aving faded into irrelevance, locked in the dustbin of our memories, Osama Bin Laden today was executed by CIA operatives at a mansion near Islamabad, Pakistan, in which country he has been a welcome guest for some years. In real life a wealthy playboy heir to a construction fortune, Osama liked to dress-up as a super-heroic Qur’an scholar and defender of the faith with a secret identity that fooled no one. Puffed-up by his triumph in a walk-on rôle in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s he returned to Saudi Arabia the towering hero of his fantasies, though unheard of outside of the tiny Arabian kingdom.
When Saddam Hussein sent troops to invade Kuwait, potentially threatening the kingdom, Osama made a comic-opera proposal to personally defend the borders with his troop of merry men who would fight the invaders with faith—and was stung when the king rejected him in favor of the most powerful military force in the world. What did the United States have that he and his little gang of misfits didn’t, he wondered. He made such a nuisance of himself that he was invited to leave the kingdom in no uncertain terms, and he stomped off in a huff to nurse his hurt feelings in Sudan, where, to add injury to insult, his family cut off his multi-million-dollar allowance.
Soon even the Sudanese grew tired of him, and he found it expedient to return to the scene of his fancied triumphs in Afghanistan. From there he helped finance a series of failed attempts to stir up trouble in Algeria, Egypt, and elsewhere. Still rankling over his rejection by the Arabian authorities, he blamed the United States for all his problems. Calling himself the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders he announced his intention of killing Americans throughout the world. The 1998 attack on US embassies in Africa, however, resulted mainly in the deaths of Africans, and his inept plot to attack millennium celebrations in the United States was easily foiled.
Fortunately for him, however, this blundering boob met his match when George W. Bush entered the White House through an unlocked back door. Donning the mantle of the U. S. President, Bush declared Bin Laden and his friends to be no threat to the country, and called off the dogs. The result: nineteen conspirators, armed with box-cutters, hijacked four airliners and flew three of them into various buildings. (The fourth was easily taken down by the passengers, who unfortunately lost their lives in consequence.) The result was history, of a sort. Several thousand people died in the mayhem, but nothing of any military consequence was achieved, and this pipsqueak (and the world) now had an enraged idiot colossus on his hands.
Like a blind giant the United States started flailing about. An early blow took out one of Osama’s most hated opponents, Saddam Hussein, no doubt to his delight, but the destruction of his hosts in Afghanistan forced him to relocate abruptly. His network in ruins, he was reduced to crouching in the rubble of his dreams and issuing occasional rambling diatribes that the media dutifully carried, and operatives of the world’s intelligence services pored over for clues to his whereabouts. Fortunately friends in neighboring Pakistan took him in, and looked after him—until United States operatives under Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, stormed his hideout and executed him. It was an inglorious end to a futile and wasted life. Nobody is likely to miss him much—certainly not the Indonesians, Egyptians, Kenyans, and others whose family-members he had murdered to fuel his sadistic fantasies. The team that executed him dragged back his corpse as a ghastly souvenir. I suppose it will be returned to his family for burial or something equally civilized. Personally I hope they have his skull hollowed out for use as a visitor’s ashtray at the White House.
In the meantime, his spirit lingers on. News comes of an explosion in Afghanistan that killed four people, in addition to the human bomb. Somebody had strapped explosives to a twelve-year-old and sent him to his death. For politics.