Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2002 / 10 Kislev, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

He's Ba-ack! | By now I'm sure you've heard that the audio tape of Osama bin Laden released by Arab television channel, al-Jazeera, has been determined by government experts to be, in all likelihood, genuine. Not only that, but they say it was probably recorded in the last couple of weeks. So Osama is alive. "He's Alive! ALIVE!" as Dr. Frankenstein might have said. On the tape Osama praises recent terrorist attacks and threatens new ones. He calls Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell nasty names. He calls British Prime Minister Tony Blair "Bush's lackey." Authorities tell us we must be on the lookout for additional terrorist action by Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.

I find it very interesting that this audio tape of bin Laden should come out just about the time we're getting ready to wage war on Iraq. The timing is just too good to be written off as mere coincidence. To my mind, it's a purposeful distraction thrown out at us in order to delay any further action against Iraq. And it speaks volumes as to an Iraq, Al-Qaeda connection. Although Saddam Hussein may not himself be an Islamic fundamentalist, he is clearly in league with them and in support of their Jihad against the West. The Islamists in turn use the Iraqi hatred of the West to their advantage in waging a holy war against "the infidels."

So, after about a year of not knowing whether Osama bin Laden was dead or alive, it appears he is alive -- at least his voice is alive. But why just an audio tape? Why didn't they make a video tape of bin Laden? There are several possible answers to that one.

One possibility is that Osama is very sick and looks like hell. Rumors have been circulating for a long time that he had some incurable disease which required constant medical attention. If he's hiding somewhere where he's unable to receive that necessary treatment, then his condition might have worsened to the point of affecting his physical appearance. Naturally, he wouldn't want his followers to see him in a weakened state.

Another reason why he didn't appear on video might be that he is somewhere where he has no access to video equipment. If he is hiding under rocks in some remote area in Pakistan, then he might be able to get an audio recording out, but making a video would prove difficult, if not impossible.

Maybe he doesn't show himself on camera because he has a really big zit on his nose. You know, an ugly red one with a white head. Boy, something like that could really spoil Osama's looks. Or perhaps there isn't any Osama anymore except for his voice which his followers keep in a little bottle.

Then there's the possibility that part of his face was blown off at some point during the Afghanistan war. Being a villain with extremely high self-esteem, it would seem conceivable that if that were the case, bin Laden would never want his war-torn face to be photographed and beamed out to the entire planet. It is an odd footnote of history that most mad men intent on taking over the world never seemed to lack for high self-esteem -- or gullible followers.

Another reason might be that after all the evil he's done, he just can't bear to show his face in public anymore. He's sooo ashamed. Or maybe he's just gotten real shy all of a sudden. "Please don't take my picture. I hate the way I photograph!"

But I think the real reason bin-Laden doesn't appear on camera is because he's had a sex change operation. Yep. I think Osama done skedaddled over to Transgenderstan or some place and had the surgery. Let's face it -- he's been leaning that way all along anyway. Always wearing those dresses-- kissing other guys. And what about that weird little butterfly tattoo on his ankle? Dead giveaway. From now on he'll be known as Osama bin Ladenette -- and his merry men. Not that there's anything wrong with that, you understand. Oh, no. I wouldn't want to come off sounding homo-terrorist-phobic or anything.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby