Last night brought the news that every American has longed to hear for almost a decade: Osama bin Laden has been killed. Countless words will be written today about the story, and numerous questions will be raised. How could the world’s most wanted terrorist be living just an hour away from the capital of Pakistan, a country to which the U.S.A. has given millions of dollars in aid? Why was bin Laden’s body given a secretive burial at sea? Will this finally put an end to all the speculation that President Obama is a closet Muslim? Don’t ask me. To use a line from the President, such answers are above my pay grade.
Rather than me try to write the first, middle, and last word on the story of bin Laden’s death, I just want to focus on a simple one: hypocrisy. Whatever else you might call bin Laden (and that could surely make for a long list), call him a world-class hypocrite. I mean, think about it, here was a so-called “leader” who thought nothing of expecting his “troops” to live in hiding in deserts, caves, mountain fortresses, dingy apartments, and such, but he himself spent his time holed up in a grandiose (by Pakistan standards), three-storied, fortress home. While his men went for extended periods of time without seeing their families, he was caught with his youngest wife and one of his sons at his side. And you can bet he wasn’t living on cold beans and saltine crackers, either. As a Reuters news story put it, “It was a far cry from the popular notion of bin Laden hiding in some mountain cave on the rugged and inaccessible Afghan-Pakistan border…”
So, in the end, it seems that the mad zealot bin Laden proved himself to be just as susceptible to the life of ease and comfort as the average American he claimed to despise. Ironic? Yes, you could say that, but I’m going with hypocritical. Listen, it’s easy to sit back in your comfortable home, out of harm’s way, and dispatch orders for your men to happily die for the great cause. In that sense, bin Laden wasn’t one bit different from seemingly countless kings, czars, dictators, and rulers who came before him. I mean, if you are going to attempt world domination, at least get out of the house every now and then and mingle among your faithful! Personally, I don’t think that’s asking too much of a guy who claimed that the ultimate way to leave this world and set yourself up in the afterlife was to become a martyr.