Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 23, 2006
WAR: OBL RIH?
I want you to get this **** where he breathes! ...I want him DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna PISS ON HIS ASHES!
- Al Capone, "The Untouchables"
Well, the rumors have been swirling that Osama bin Laden may have shuffled off this mortal coil recently at the tender age of 49 (the age George W. Bush was in his first year as Texas governor), dead of typhoid fever, an illness rarely seen these days in the civilized West but harder to evade or treat when one is cowering in a cave surrounded by primitives and religious fanatics.
Is this true? We have heard such rumors before, and have as yet no confirmation, though Ace considers several reasons why a flurry of recent events would make more sense if bin Laden had died. If it is true, I would have preferred a more violent or more protracted and agonizing death - sorry folks, I take this one very personally - but this will do. Bin Laden has, after September 11, seen his movements restricted, his men decimated, his income throttled, his open allies smashed or cowed, his bases destroyed - and he has never again emerged with a victory to crow about. His one functional ally against the U.S., Zarqawi's organization in Iraq, has been beheaded and essentially run to ground. It is altogether fitting if he has died in obscurity, uncelebrated and unmartyred, felled by an adversary that is microscopic and no threat to his enemies, yet utterly uninterested in fame or ideology, regarding the would-be caliph merely as food.
If it's not true, well, a bin Laden in hiding in a primitive region of the Pakistani-Afghan border isn't all that immediately dangerous, and pursuing him shouldn't be regarded as a substitute for crushing his organization and tearing up his ideology by the roots, but we should be after him implacably nonetheless for the same reason why the Israelis executed Eichmann and pursued Mengele decades after the fall of the Third Reich. If poor hygeine did not get bin Laden, American justice will, sooner or later. We will not forget. And we will laugh last.