Jewish World Review Dec. 10, 2001 / 25 Kislev 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- 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