Remembering the Life and Letters of Osama Bin Laden, Dead Person

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Incorporating Washington Post Book World.Angsty rich kid Osama bin Laden could have been just another Saudi playboy, loitering his days away trading oil and chasing Lebanese models. But he just HAD to rebel against his wealthy family and their friends in the Saudi royal family, forever proving that he’s His Own Person or something. And so he embraced the counterintuitive idea that the way to show solidarity with his fellow Muslims — particularly poor and oppressed ones — was to murder loads and loads of Muslims (among others). As you may have heard, last weekend he died a neighbor of our allies in the Pakistani military (but not before distributing terror rabbits to local children). Now that the world’s most iconic mass murderer is dead, it might be worth revisiting his speeches and interviews.

In 2005, lefty publishing house Verso (and by “lefty” we mean Actually Lefty, not lefty in the “GAWD, Hillary Clinton is such a lefty” way) collected several of Osama’s press statements and interviews into a book titled Messages to the World. As you might imagine, bin Laden has (had) a lot to say.

If you’ve ever wondered what it was that irritated bin Laden so much, look no further than his formal declaration of jihad from 1996:

It is no secret to you, my brothers, that the people of Islam have been afflicted with oppression, hostility, and injustice by the Judeo-Christian alliance and its supporters…Your blood has been spilt in Palestine and Iraq, and the horrific image of the massacre in Qana in Lebanon are still fresh in people’s minds. The massacres that have taken place in Tajikistan, Burma, Kashmir, Assam, the Philippines, Fatani, Ogaden, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya, and Bosnia-Herzegovina send shivers down our spines and stir up our passions. All this happened before the eyes and ears of the world, but the blatant imperial arrogance of America, under the cover of the immoral United Nations, has prevented the dispossessed from arming themselves.

You would think the man watched 90′s-era CNN International all day! He continues:

 
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All the false propaganda about the supposed rights of Islam was abandoned in the face of the attacks and massacres committed against Muslims everywhere, the latest and most serious of which–the greatest disaster to befall the Muslims since the death of the Prophet Muhammad– is the occupation of Saudi Arabia, which is the cornerstone of the Islamic world, place of revelation, source of the Prophetic mission, and home of the Noble Ka’ba where Muslims direct their prayers. Despite this, it was occupied by the armies of the Christians, the Americans, and their allies.

Elsewhere in the book, Osama talks about his dislike of Jews, his preference for Pakistan over the evil infidel country of India and his ideal society: imagine Taliban-era Afghanistan, but with even less music and even more Koran-reading and infidel-killing and art-destroying.

He also gives interviews about his plan to drag the United States into a long, bloody and resource-sapping war in Afghanistan, one directly modeled on the defeat of the Soviet Empire in the very same country. When the war arrived, he wholeheartedly agreed with his American enemy about the nature of the conflict:

Bush admitted there can only be two kinds of people: one kind being Bush and his followers; and any nation that doesn’t follow the Bush government, or the World Crusade, is guaranteed to be included with the terrorists. What kind of terrorism is more terrifying and evident than this?

Indeed!

So our bloated, overlong invasions failed to capture bin Laden for 10 years. Curiously enough, this has a parallel in American literary life: At no point in their bloated, overlong novels have any of America’s current Important Novelists written anything engaging or memorable about our decade-long excursion in Central Asia. Maybe bin Laden’s assassination will trigger a few darkly comic satires about the wacky fun of invading two countries, finally finding our man in NEITHER of those two countries, and what’s more, finding him in an allied country living next door to a military and intelligence service to which we’ve given billions of dollars throughout the Bin Laden-Hunting/War Decade.

Making grim and evocative sense of all this stuff has become the province of journalists, for some reason. Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower and hell-raising Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid’s Descent Into Chaos aren’t just great books about our Central Asian and Middle Eastern wars; they’re some of the greatest books of our time. They’re at least as worth reading as the latest toe fungus memoir or whatever.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Osama bin Laden is dead forever. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a future, of course; surely there’s a Terrorist Ghost Adventures with Sarah Palin reality teevee show in the works, somewhere.

Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden by Osama bin Laden, edited by Bruce Lawrence, translated by James Howarth, Verso Books, 225 pages, $11.53

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116 comments

    1. RadioGroundZero

      Mrs. Radio thinks the book most appropriate for our long national nightmare is The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      He read it a lot. The SEALS would have taken it if the pages weren't all sticky and gross.

    1. jaytingle

      As soon as she gets a release from the guy who wrote the tweets. He's demanding 50 cents apiece.

  1. arihaya

    so 9/11 was perpetated by a Saudi Arabian who hide in Pakistan,, now tell me again why we invaded Afghanistan, and Iraq ?

    (and by the time GOP return to white House will also Iran)

  2. arihaya

    so 9/11 was perpetrated by a Saudi Arabian who hide in Pakistan,, now tell me again why we invaded Afghanistan, and Iraq ?

    1. Arken

      Just ask Bush. We invaded Afghanistan because TERRISM and we invaded Iraq because THEY TRIED TO KILL MUH DADDY!

    2. HempDogbane

      Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. I read this on Andrew Sullivan's blog, but I think it may have appeared elsewhere, also.

  3. Hera Sent Me

    It could be the basis of a new TV show, "Everybody Hates Osama", or maybe "I Dream of Jihad".

  4. memzilla

    Say. you know who else wrote a book with wacky observations about "Jewish conspiricies"… ?

      1. baconzgood

        Damn you. I was going to post that and would have beat you but there was a problem with me posting. I'll have to go up with my back up then.

        Pope Benedict XVI?

    1. jaytingle

      Significantly more than most American bloggers. More than may Canadian bloggers. Apparently he was a big fan of Trailer Park Boys. And he once chased tail with Pierre Trudeau. Also an Expos fan.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      Change that 'fatwa' to 'fat? wha!? I'm just pregnant', & you've got the next Lou Sarah & Bristle tome.

  5. undeterredbyreality

    "And they roared their terrible roars,
    And gnashed their terrible teeth…"

  6. Lascauxcaveman

    Maybe bin Laden’s assassination will trigger a few darkly comic satires about the wacky fun of invading two countries, finally finding our man in NEITHER of those two countries, and what’s more, finding him in an allied country living next door to a military and intelligence service to which we’ve given billions of dollars throughout the Bin Laden-Hunting/War Decade.

    I think Christopher Buckley could do a pretty good job on that one. He oughta take a stab at that.

  7. pinkocommi

    "He also gives interviews about his plan to drag the United States into a long, bloody and resource-sapping war in Afghanistan . . . ."

    I'll see you one bloody and resource-sapping war in Afghanistan, and I'll raise you a second bloody and resource-sapping war in Iraq.

    1. proudgrampa

      Whatever else you can say about OBL, he sure got that one right. All we had to do was read a little history: Russian occupation of Afghanistan, British Empire in
      Afghanistan.

      It was like our failure there was pre-ordained.

  8. SayItWithWookies

    his ideal society: imagine Taliban-era Afghanistan, but with even less music and even more Koran-reading and infidel-killing and art-destroying.

    So is he participating in the FOX News debate tonight?

    1. Fukui_sanYesOta

      Muhammed Sean al-Hannity: And this, the greatest nation the prophet ever gave to mankind, to be reduced to begging dollars from Satan? I'll pass you over to my guest.

      Mullah Omar [for it is he]: Sean, I'd just like to say that I agree with you. It is the greatest nation that Allah (peace be upon him) ever gave to the world. Having said that, this celebration of a terrorist's death hasn't been strictly Sharia. I've seen Pakistanis dancing, I've heard Indonesians listening to music, and I've seen Palestinians stone-cold fucking in the streets over this announcement. What's up with that?

      Sean al-Hannity: Abortion and the President is, I hear, black

    2. Fukui_sanYesOta

      Muhammed Sean al-Hannity: And is this, the greatest nation the prophet ever gave to mankind, to be reduced to begging dollars from Satan? I'll pass you over to my guest.

      Mullah Omar [for it is he]: Sean, I'd just like to say that I agree with you. It is the greatest nation that Mohammed (peace be upon him) ever gave to the world. Having said that, this celebration of a terrorist's death hasn't been strictly Sharia. I've seen Pakistanis dancing, I've heard Indonesians listening to music, and I've seen Palestinians stone-cold fucking in the streets over this announcement. What's up with that?

      Sean al-Hannity: Abortion and the President is, I hear, black

  9. joobajooba

    "Darkly comic satire?" It's got to star Alan Alda, Robert Crane and Werner Klemperer.

  10. Frost/Nixon/Robocop

    This reads like the back cover of a Rage Against the Machine album.

  11. Ducksworthy

    At no point in their bloated, overlong novels have any of America’s current Important Novelists written anything engaging or memorable about our decade-long excursion in Central Asia.

    Well there is that Pat Tillman story by the Perfect Storm guy.

    1. Poindexter718

      I'm sure William Vollman was gonna do something on Afghanistan till he found out the Taliban had stoned all the prostitutes to death already.

  12. BZ1

    Yup, that was Osama, living the life of abstinence and denial with one of his five wives in a million-dollar resort…

  13. Fukui_sanYesOta

    Just to interject somewhat. Reagan (whom I toasted with champagne when he died) claimed about the Mujihadeen: "These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers"

    How's that Talibany, 911-y thing work out for you, Reagan?

    Words cannot express both how pleased I am that bin Laden is dead and how disgusted I am by the modern interpretation of Ronald Reagan.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      Thomas Jefferson, slave rapist, & Osama bin Laden, polygamist, do have similar views on sex & patriarchy, I should admit.

      1. Fukui_sanYesOta

        TJ is up there in my pantheon of thinkers. There's no comparison between Reagan and Jefferson, despite the modern retrospective.

        I'll upfist you despite my sentiments, but please.

    2. Ducksworthy

      I seem to remember that Ronnie was referring to the patriots in central America who were rapping and murdering the nuns.

    3. catchtheflava

      Conservatives want to give Bush all the credit for getting Osama, but they don't want to give Reagan any of the credit for creating him. Pussies.

  14. hagajim

    "Maybe bin Laden’s assassination will trigger a few darkly comic satires about the wacky fun of invading two countries…"

    Spy vs. Spy anyone? Or maybe "The Assholes Who Couldn't Hit Their Target With Both Hands"

    Sounds like a Seth Rogan vehicle to me.

  15. hagajim

    "Maybe bin Laden’s assassination will trigger a few darkly comic satires about the wacky fun of invading two countries…"

    Spy vs. Spy anyone? Or maybe "The Assholes Who Couldn't Hit Their Target With Both Hands"

    Sounds like a Seth Rogan vehicle to me.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      Are there any brown people in the Apatowia Repetory besides Aziz Ansari who can do the bin Laden role? Azi really don't look like bin Laden, after all.

  16. RedneckMuslin

    Ooooh! Terrorists! Now I understand! But Bush said we must kill tourists.

  17. ttommyunger

    Did not read it, don't care; don't even want to laugh at him. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  18. johnnyzhivago

    Re: "watched CNN International all day"…

    I noticed those satellite antennas on his villa, so it's comforting to consider if we didn't have the authority to kill him for international terrorism, at least the SEALS were justified in enforcing a cease and desist order from Time Warner on illegally receiving copyrighted broadcasts.

    1. JackDempsey1

      If you're right, I look forward to release of the bin Laden death video on Pay-per-View.

  19. Poindexter718

    I always wondered why OBL had this massive hard-on for America's supposed "occupation" of Saudi Arabia. It was putatively because Mecca and the muslim Jesus's stone is also in SA. But our "occupation" was of a few air force bases that were hundreds of miles from Mecca–might as well have been in Kuwait. Did OBL think that great spiritual/metaphysical affronts to his centuries-old religion were determined by political boundaries drawn up a hundred years ago?
    Oh and, btw, speaking of affronts, this :& )= # is an image of Mohammed. He's wearing a kilt and a nosering and gnawing on a piece of hickory smoked bacon. He is happy.
    Like Denmark, Wonkette is in no way responsible for this visual insult, but don't let that stop you!

  20. RadioGroundZero

    Novelists written anything engaging or memorable about our decade-long excursion in Central Asia.

    Seriously, what this country needs is a Catch-22 and MASH view of this debacle.

  21. BlueStateLibel

    I'm just glad bin Laden didn't win–it's not like our resources aren't depleted and we didn't spend over a $1 trillion in two fruitless wars, neither of which would have happened with him. And it's not as if we re-elected a completely incompetent president and corrupt administration who used him as their bogeyman to boost their re-election chances. And I'm sure he had many many more years to live despite his progressive kidney disease.

  22. BlueStateLibel

    I'm just glad bin Laden didn't win–it's not like our resources aren't depleted and we didn't spend over a $1 trillion in two fruitless wars, neither of which would have happened without him. And it's not as if we re-elected a completely incompetent president and corrupt administration who used him as their bogeyman to boost their re-election chances. And I'm sure he had many many more years to live despite his progressive kidney disease.

  23. littlebigdaddy

    Philip Roth could've done a great one if he hadn't been so obsessed with his shriveling penis. BTW, I like the image of the young Osama as sort of an emo with super-powers. Cause you know most of those kids would blow up your buildings if they could figure out anything technical beyond riding a skateboard.

  24. anniegetyerfun

    [I]magine Taliban-era Afghanistan, but with even less music and even more Koran-reading and infidel-killing and art-destroying.

    I know people who believe shit like this. The Prophet really liked drums, so flutes are haram. The Prophet was serious, so Muslims should take care not to laugh outloud or smile in such a way that displays teeth.

    I fucking hate religion. Hate it.

  25. DahBoner

    "Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden by Osama bin Laden, edited by Bruce Lawrence, translated by James Howarth, Verso Books, 225 pages, $11.53"

    I plan to buy two copies, as soon as the price comes down to $0.01.

    One to shit on, and the other to wipe my ass with…

  26. ganmerlad

    Doesn't buying Bin Laden's book also buy an ounce of high explosive or something? Who gets the royalties? I am self-destructive, but not quite like that. Without reading it I am pretty sure the point is that the US sucks, Islam rules and if Muslims had control everything would be honky-dorey. My only question is if it reads like Hemingway…if so, Obama may have written it.

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