The Islamic Bomb: Osama bin Laden is Just One Head Removed from a Nuclear Weapons Seeking Hydra

At Slate this week, Christopher Hitchens uses his gift for tart summing up to give the following obituary to Osama bin Laden:

It seems thinkable that he truly believed his own mad propaganda, often adumbrated on tapes and videos, especially after the American scuttle from Somalia. The West, he maintained, was rotten with corruption and run by cabals of Jews and homosexuals. It had no will to resist. It had become feminized and cowardly. One devastating psychological blow and the rest of the edifice would gradually follow the Twin Towers in a shower of dust. Well, he and his fellow psychopaths did succeed in killing thousands in North America and Western Europe, but in the past few years, their main military triumphs have been against such targets as Afghan schoolgirls, Shiite Muslim civilians, and defenseless synagogues in Tunisia and Turkey. Has there ever been a more contemptible leader from behind, or a commander who authorized more blanket death sentences on bystanders?

More contemptible? Perhaps not. But George Bush comes to mind as similarly contemptible. He’s another example of the type (someone who led people “from behind” and authorized “blanket death sentences on bystanders”).

So let’s not get too smug and self-righteous here.

But Hitchens’s point is still well taken. Osama bin Laden hiding in the bosom of a nuclear power—and apparently with the knowledge of at least some elements of Pakistan’s military—is a darn good example of a civilian-casualty-indifferent “leader from behind.”

Here’s how Hitchens concludes his obituary:

The martyr of Abbottabad is no more, and the competing Führer-complexes of his surviving underlings will perhaps now enjoy an exciting free rein.

And those new would-be Führers have their eyes on the prize: Pakistan’s 60-100 nuclear weapons. Osama bin Laden’s discovery in the bosom of Pakistan should be a wake up call to how close Pakistan is to flipping wholly over to al Qaeda, not a signal for therapeutic closure.

And let’s not forget Iran. Osama bin Laden was just one head on a nuclear weapons seeking hydra.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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16 Responses to The Islamic Bomb: Osama bin Laden is Just One Head Removed from a Nuclear Weapons Seeking Hydra

  1. Still glad he’s gone.

    • santitafarella says:

      I am too, but I guess I’m attacking the cult of personality that adheres to media coverage (Osama v. Obama). I was glad, for example, when George Bush was taken away from the White House in a helicopter in January of 2009. I watched the copter drift into the haze and distance with elation. Obama had won something. But Goldman Sachs was still Goldman Sachs, Fox News was still Fox News, and the lobbyists were still lobbying.

      And, in this instance, al-Qaeda and Iran are still seeking an Islamic bomb to destroy Israel with a single blow (or wreck havoc in other Western countries with acts of nuclear terrorism on our major cities).


  2. concerned christian says:

    Sometime you go overboard, saying that George Bush is just as contemptible as bin laden is a good example of bad reasoning.

    • santitafarella says:


      A million Iraqis have died as a direct consequence of George Bush’s rush to war in that country. And he launched into that war with the religious conviction that innocents would die but that God would sort that part out. It was a Hegelian gesture through and through. The human psyche is very good at dehumanizing (or simply ignoring) outsiders. Bin Laden and George Bush, in their religious dehumanizing of “the other” (those who are not Muslims or Christians), is something all people do to some degree or another.

      What Bin Laden and George Bush represent is something deeply human about us: the ability to kill without compunction the kafir (the nonbeliever, the outsider). Bin Laden was probably not a clinical psychopath, but he was a person in the grip of a Hegelian-style ideology (as is George Bush).

      The problem is how to keep weapons of mass destruction (and the helm of leadership) from such people.


      • concerned christian says:

        First, Bush did not go to Iraq to kill a million people, he went to defeat Saddam, and most of those killed were killed by bin Laden’s goons.
        Second, if you you call someone contemptible based on the number of people killed due to someone’s action then Roosevelt, Truman, Churchill and even Woodrow Wilson will be more contemptible than bin laden!!!

    • santitafarella says:

      Well, you make good points, but George Bush is no Winston Churchill.

      As for what makes a person uniquely contemptible, that’s still a tricky question when you think about it. In Bin Laden’s case, I think what makes him contemptible is his smug religious insularity and utterly unwarranted epistemic confidence in the Quran; his hypocricy and attention to image; his grotesque ethic toward women, gays, and Christians; and his public appearance of callousness toward all kafir—killing them without the least regret. But I’m not sure that these are uniquely contemptible traits. A lot of people in history, from numerous ideologies, have had them.


  3. concerned christian says:

    agree on both points, George Bush is no Winston Churchill, and Bin laden when you take into considerations all the bad things you mentioned about him is contemptible.

  4. conservative says:

    It’s incredible how liberal atheists ALWAYS have to put down and demonize a Western leader, if he’s a conservative. You’re doing this, Santi. Now, I don’t think you’re evil, but I do think you’ve been influenced by the forces of evil, and you don’t realize it. More than eight years of anti-American propaganda and portraying Bush as an imperialist, have taken their toll on many people.

    Let’s look at this honestly.

    Bush, a Christian out to kill “the heretics”? You’re kidding. Bush was talking like you guys. “Islam is a peaceful religion”. He and Tony Blair said that about a dozen times. His spokesman Ari Fleischer said after 9/11, that the terrorist attacks had nothing to do with Islam. They all went out of their way to excuse the dark and fanatical dogmas of this religion.

    You’ll never hear any politician make such an effort to separate Christianity and Jesus Christ from the inquisition or other negative things done by Christians. Isn’t that true, Santi?

    George W Bush didn’t go to war to kill “heretics”. He went to war to get rid of Saddam Hussein and to let a few guys do business with the oil in Iraq. They wanted access to the oil and they got it. They are probably worried that the Saudi royal family can’t hold on to power for too long, so they need a backup of oil reserves. And it’s also greed, of course.

    You said that one million people died as a result of the Bush administration’s war in
    Iraq. At least 250,000, mostly children, died during Bill Clinton’s embargo on Iraq.
    Clinton bombed Iraq and made sure the UN enforced the embargo, and he used the same slogan, “weapons of mass destruction”. How about that, Santi? But you don’t say anything about Clinton doing this for the same reason, he was preparing the war for the guys who wanted to get access to the oil. It was only a matter of time. No, it’s only Bush and the conservatives, according to the official propaganda. See, this is what I mean by cultural communism. It’s this hypocritical double standard that the media, university professors and pop culture are encouraging. They innoculate people with the false idea that the conservatives are the bad rich guys, and liberals are the “poor” and self-righteous activists who supposedly fight to stop injustice and exploitation.

    This is so hypocritical and ridiculous, I can’t believe so many people buy this crap.

    It’s time to get real and realize that we are fighting a cultural war, and that Islam is fighting and almost winning it, and they don’t even need terrorism to win.

    • santitafarella says:


      Aside from fundamentalist controlled Islamic nations getting access to nuclear weapons—which is a real hazard to humanity’s future—Islam isn’t winning much of anything and is a marginal ideology that is in crisis. In a few decades, Arab oil won’t even be able to finance it anymore. The broken wheel squeeks loudest.

      And two wrongs don’t make a right. Say what you will of Clinton and Gore, they didn’t launch a war (and if Gore had won the presidency in 2000, we wouldn’t have gotten caught in Iraq). Bush’s response to Iraq was disproportionate to the threat. Containment would have been far preferable to the past decade (which has seen a million Iraqi dead and the Shiite takeover of the country). Bush played into Iran’s hands and depleted our national treasure. What a fool! And I bet you voted for him—twice.


  5. conservative says:

    Despite all the mistakes and screw-ups, Bush did do some good things.

    He started operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan to get bin Laden, and destroy the Taliban. But he and the entire Western alliance didn’t go all the way, because the new constitution in Afghanistan still doesn’t guarantee freedom of religion, in fact freedom of conscience. There’s is still terrible persecution against people who convert to other religions and especially against Afghani Christians. Even people who don’t want to have any religion are not protected by the current constitution.

    You want to know why this is happening? Because Western leaders have used the same approach that you have. Let’s respect their religion, let’s not interfere with their dogmas no matter how dark and primitive. It’s the “multicultural” liberal mentality, to respect their culture no matter how inhumane it is. So when they stone women or murder people who have religious beliefs different from islamic dogma, we just have to “respect” and ignore that.

    The moral relativists and left wingers who are anti-capitalist and anti-Christian, have made it easy for Islam to stay violent and rigid. That’s why there has been no reform in Islam even now, because the multicultural liberals encouraged Muslims to stay this way. In fact, they even attack and demonize those of us who draw attention to the aggressive and arrogant attitude of Islam and Muslims living in the West.

    In Europe, politically correct legislation is used by the Muslim lobby to persecute people who speak freely and who criticize any aspects of Islam. In 2008, Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Neckshot, was arrested during the night by several policemen because he drew cartoons making fun of Muslims. The policemen put the cuffs on him, and even confiscated his computer and flash memory cards.

    Last week, a Danish court has found a leading expert on the Islamic religion guilty of “racism” for his comments about Muslims, the latest ruling in an ongoing battle between free speech and Islam in Europe. Lars Hedegaard was charged with racism under Denmark’s hate speech law after telling someone at a gathering about the problem of rape committed against Muslim girls by male relatives.

    “Of course I made clear that I was not talking about every Muslim man in the country or in the world. By the way, I was not talking specifically about conditions in Denmark,” Hedegaard explained. Hedegaard said it’s a fact that can be backed up by hard evidence. But in Denmark, that doesn’t matter. Under Denmark’s hate speech law, it doesn’t matter if what you said was true. It doesn’t matter if it is factual — if it offends someone, you could be charged.

    This is the monstrous “masterpiece” of communists and politically correct liberals.
    Their “hate crime” legislation is now being used by Islamists and the secular politicians who are acting as their inquisition. They are destroying the freedom of their own people and are giving Islam the status of official religion, since no criticism of it is allowed. This is the beginning of the end for Western civilization.

    Europe is about to re-enter the Dark Ages.

    Doesn’t THIS shock you, Santi??!

    • santitafarella says:


      I would like to not be associated with the political correctness of Europe on this matter. I don’t endorse, for example, what you say here: “It’s the “multicultural” liberal mentality, to respect their culture no matter how inhumane it is. So when they stone women or murder people who have religious beliefs different from islamic dogma, we just have to ‘respect’ and ignore that.”

      I hope I don’t respect or ignore such things. And, though an agnostic and a liberal, I am neither anti-capitalist nor anti-Christian (unless your definition of such things requires one to be a follower of Ayn Rand and the member of a fundamentalist church to not be “anti” these things).


  6. conservative says:


    Obama said in his speech about Bin Laden that he was not a Muslim. There are many Muslims who say that as well.

    I know you agree with them. But I want you to think about something.

    If he was not a Muslim, then why did some of them insist that he should have had a Muslim funeral?

    It’s like some Germans after WWII insisting that if Hitler would have been killed in action, then he should have been given a Catholic funeral.

    There’s another thing too. Many “peaceful” Muslims who are NOT terrorists and who reside in Western nations have staged angry demonstrations in support of bin Laden. In London, there were many Muslims, including women who prayed for bin Laden’s soul on the street and shouted anti-American slogans. According to the brainwashed retards at the BBC, those folks were not dangerous at all, but the BBC and other mainstream media called the English people who protested in support of the US and against the Muslims, “extremists”.

    How can they claim to be fair and on the side of justice? They are on the side of Evil, and they are betraying their own countries. They are going to find themselves living under sharia law, and then the Muslims will massacre them. The leftist liberals are digging their own graves. Not that it bothers me, if they want to do that, I won’t stop them. I believe in freedom of the will. But they are digging my and other people’s graves too. That’s when I’m going to stop them. If they try to do that here, and they already are, then I’m going to do what I can to stop them.

    • concerned christian says:

      Bin Laden is considered a Muslim martyr by many in the Muslim world including Egypt, they have prayers for him in many Mosques, and demonstrations attacking the Americans for killing him.

    • santitafarella says:

      Of course Bin Laden is a Muslim. It’s ridiculous not to identify Bin Laden as a product of the Islamic tradition. Bin Laden came out of Islam in the same way that the persecutors of Galileo came out of Christianity and George Bush and Tertullian came out of Christianity.

      The large-scale religious traditions all have blood on their hands—as does atheism. It’s ridiculous to distance a religious or irreligious tradition from the people it actually produces.


      • concerned christian says:

        Yes he is a Muslim but to treat him as a great Muslim martyr not as a great Muslim villain is a slap in the face of everyone who lost a loved one in one of his terrorist acts that was directed mainly at civilians.

  7. conservative says:

    A Hamburg judge has filed a criminal complaint against Chancellor Angela Merkel for “endorsing a crime” after she stated she was “glad” that Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces. Meanwhile a new poll reveals that a majority of Germans do not see the terrorist’s death as a reason to celebrate.

    The political and public fallout following Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement on Monday that she was “glad” Osama bin Laden had been killed was among the most hotly debated topics in the German media this week.

    Politicians, including those within her own center-right coalition, said that no death was cause for celebration, and reproved the remark as un-Christian and vengeful.
    But Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann went even further. He alleges that the chancellor’s statement was nothing short of illegal, and filed a criminal complaint against Merkel midweek, the daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported Friday.
    “I am a law-abiding citizen and as a judge, sworn to justice and law,” the 54-year-old told the paper, adding that Merkel’s words were “tacky and undignified.”

    In his two-page document, Uthmann, a judge for 21 years, cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the “rewarding and approving” of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a “homicide,” Uthmann claimed. The violation is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine.

    While the judge’s reaction may seem extreme, his sentiments are apparently shared by 64 percent of the German population. That was the proportion of Germans who said bin Laden’s death was “no reason to rejoice” in a poll published by broadcaster ARD on Friday.

    The chancellor has declined to withdraw her statement, but the outcry prompted government press spokesman Steffen Seibert to defend her on Thursday. “The reason for her happiness was the thought that this man would no longer pose any danger,” he said, adding that her statement had been reported out of context.

    This is more than just politics, it’s insanity. And keep in mind Santi, that it’s not the conservatives who have made this possible.

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