Living the Good Live
So he wasn't in a cave after all. Osama bin Laden, master marketer of mass murder, loved to traffic in the image of the ascetic warrior-prophet. In one of his most famous videotapes, he chose gray rocks for a background, a rough camo jacket for a costume and a rifle for a prop. He portrayed a hard, pure alternative to the decadent weakness of the modern world. Soft Westerners and their corrupt puppet princes reclined in luxury and sin while he wanted nothing but a gun and a prayer rug. The zealot travels light, his bloodred thoughts so pure that even stones are as cushions for his troubled sleep.
Now we know otherwise. Bin Laden was not the stoic soldier that he played onscreen. The exiled son of a Saudi construction mogul was living in a million-dollar home in a wealthy town nestled among green hills. He apparently slept in a king-size bed with a much younger wife. He had satellite TV. This, most of all, was fitting, because no matter how many hours he spent talking nostalgically of the 12th century and the glory of the islamic caliphate, bin laden was a master of the 21st century image machine.
No Hollywood filmmaker ever staged a more terrifying spectacle than 9/11, which bin Laden conjured from a few box cutters and 19 misguided martyrs. When the Twin Towers collapsed, he became the real-life answer to the ruthless, stateless and seemingly unstoppable villains of James Bond fantasy. It was necessary then, to find him and render him mortal again, reduce him to mere humanity - not just as a matter of justice but as a matter of self-defense.
They could have captured him, but that would lead to the hassle of putting him on trial. Besides, what if he revealed his long connection with the CIA and US officials? Can't have that. So the kill order was given, along with a quick disposal of the body, mafia-style (as in “sleeping with the fishes)."