New Yorker cover

It’s artsy and clever: An eraser eliminates Osama bin Laden’s face. The “decider” did nothing except bluster. No matter what President Obama does I appreciate his reserved style, his smarts (you can almost tell when he’s just blabbing). And bin Liden had to go. I’m not sure that it happened the right way but it’s done.

The May 16 New Yorker has it all, bin Laden’s history with the United States, the unerased suffering of 9/11 families, the effects of bin Laden’s demise on Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

But two things stand out in my mind: the image of bin Laden scruffily hanging out in front of a television in his “compound,” and instructing his children, in a will supposedly updated on Dec. 14, 2001, not to work for Al Qaeda after his death.

“If it is good, then we have had our share; if it is bad, then it is enough,” wrote bin Laden,  which the New Yorker reported in its May 16 “Talk of the Town” section. I find this fascinating. Underneath it all, there’s some fatherly advice — don’t get yourself killed for the cause.

But in 1999, bin Laden’s son Omar said he lost faith in his father, who suggested that he and his brothers consider taking up suicide bombing in the Taliban’s cause. “My father,” wrote Omar, “hated his enemies more than he loved his sons.”

Maybe bin Laden changed his mind after his horrific 9/11 success. He still espoused jihad, but not for his own sons.

The son of a Saudi billionaire, bin Laden chose to advise others to give their lives for jihad. Did he have any regrets, or just want his own kin to have cushier lives? Many of his numerous children (not sure how many with four wives) had already taken other paths.

Supposedly,  lot of porn has been found on bin Laden’s Pakistani premises. Porn and TV, that’s what his life became. Who was paying attention to him these days? Almost sounds like a regular middle-age guy bored with life, but without the six-packs.

But how many people have died in his name?

“Abbottabad Postcard” was illuminating. Two Pakistani real estate guys, who sold the land for bin Laden’s hideout, give their take on the  whole deal. It was all very ordinary; somebody wanted to buy land and they sold it to bin Laden’s couriers, not knowing who the place would be for.

The two found it “funny that the United States was portraying the house as opulent.” They’re concerned about terrorism, but noted, “it is only one of many.” More important, they say, is the state of the Pakistani economy, the same subject that underlies most people’s daily lives.

Forget about religious fanaticism for a minute. Why do megalomaniacs stir up such hatred and violence in young men who are unemployed? Duh. Erase that.

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