Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review Dec. 10, 2001 / 25 Kislev 5762

Bill Tammeus

Bill Tammeus
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

It's all in the name: Unraveling the mystery of Osama's whereabouts -- THE reason the search for Osama bin Laden has taken so long is that the clues to his whereabouts have been so frustratingly contradictory.

Well, this is certainly true if, as I assume, American and allied intelligence agents have relied on the age-old tradition of anagramatic clues. As no doubt you are aware, an anagram is a word or words made by rearranging the letters in another word.

So if you take the name Osama bin Laden and look for words that can be made of the letters in that despised name -- and then ponder those words as clues to his whereabouts -- you get, as I say, conflicting information. The anagramatic approach to finding bin Laden may seem needlessly complicated and a waste of time, but I say you can never have too many tools in your bag.

In my brief experience, the first thing to look for in anagramatic results is descriptive disguises the hunted person may have adopted.

Using that approach, we find that one of the results of running Osama bin Laden's name through an anagram process is: "I'm a NASA blonde."

Yes, of course, you have to borrow the apostrophe from the empty air to make this work, but I say that's a perfectly legitimate ploy (especially in pursuing evil). So, based on that clue, our people no doubt have been searching our collection of NASA astronauts looking for a blonde -- probably with a long, ugly beard.

Here's another possible disguise, based on the anagramatic approach: "A Samoan bindle." Well, we know what a Samoan is, but what in the world is a bindle? It turns out it's a small pack, similar to those carried by hobos. It can also mean a small envelope containing a narcotic or the narcotic itself. Thus, I'm certain we've been on the lookout for someone pretending to be a Samoan hobo who pushes drugs.

Already you can see how these clues would have us searching for radically different-looking people.

Another potential bin Laden disguise, drawn from the letters in his name, seems a little closer to reality. It's "Am a bad Nile son." Thus, our intelligence operatives no doubt have been on the hunt for someone pretending to be a delinquent Egyptian male. Bin Laden is a Saudi, but Egyptian may be close enough for government work.

Speaking of anagramatic results that include the word "bad," we find Osama bin Laden may have opted for this disguise: "A bad Amos Lenin." I haven't checked the genealogical chart of the famous Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, but I'm sure he must have had some obscure relative named Amos. And I'm certain bin Laden is not above identit

y theft. Another potential disguise, drawn from our anagram maker, is "a maiden on slab." Although it's not immediately clear what this might mean, I'm guessing it's some street-slang reference to a young prostitute or, perhaps, a young woman working at a barbecue joint that sells slabs of ribs.

Because I have such confidence in our government's ability to look under every conceivable rock, I'm sure our operatives have checked out hookers and rib-joint workers in their hunt for bin Laden. Not to do so would have been irresponsible.

Anagramatic results provide not only clues to potential disguises but also descriptions of the character of the person sought -- sometimes with accompanying advice about how to react to such a bum.

Thus, we find that the letters in bin Laden's full name also spell out this excellent suggestion: "abandon a slime." As the Northern Alliance overran territory previously held by the Taliban and bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, many people took that advice to heart.

Speaking of al-Qaida and the Taliban, another anagramatic result of bin Laden's name results in a good description of both groups: "A snide, anal mob." Now, you want to be careful saying that to their faces, but it's true.

Similarly, you want to be careful calling bin Laden "a bad menial son" in his presence, even though that's what the letters in his name, rearranged, also spell -- just as they spell, "Lo, a bad mean sin." (If that one doesn't give you pause, you're just not paying attention.)

The anagram approach to searching for sleazebags also can provide action advice once you find him or her. In the case of Osama bin Laden, the suggestion is right on target: "Slam a bad one in."

I couldn't have spelled it out better myself.

JWR contributor Bill Tammeus' latest book is "A Gift of Meaning." To order it, please click on title. To comment on his column, please click here.

11/19/01: Flying with damaged trust
11/02/01: Recent, recognized research is a hard nut to crack
10/31/01: Many paradoxes in life
10/25/01: Newly found planets show the cosmos is still strange
10/19/01: Just getting caught up
10/17/01: It was a time for tea and sympathy
10/08/01: What makes an authentic patriot?
10/04/01: It's OK to twist and shout
09/17/01: One precious life among many
09/13/01: Remember who we are
09/11/01: Sometimes all children need is shelter from the storm
09/05/01: Couldn't run or throw, but a hero just the same
08/28/01: Lesson for the scientific faithful: Some theories come with strings attached
08/27/01: When waste in space is a waste of space
08/21/01: In complex world, we lack tools to carve out understanding
08/09/01: Visited while asleep by gang of magical mischief makers
08/03/01: Recognizing the limits of one's capacity
07/27/01: We are more than the sum of our work days
07/12/01: Some stars, like some people, never shine
07/11/01: Our deeply embedded need for order
07/03/01: Not-so-famous tour explores not-so-rich neighborhoods
06/28/01: Driven to tell the truth about golf and government
06/25/01: When poetry becomes destructive
06/21/01: We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a word from deep space
06/14/01: Theory of revolution explains why some things get lost
06/11/01: Shamanic gewgaws
06/06/01: Charity begins at homes with lemonade stands
05/30/01: When are wars worth dying in?
05/23/01: Cruising along that bumpy highway
05/09/01: If you're in the write mood, wish the U.S. happy birthday
05/07/01: Killing McVeigh will wound us all
05/01/01: Dubya reinforcing negative GOP stereotypes?


Reprinted by permission, The Kansas City Star, Copyright 2001. All rights reserved