Two Sides of a Vanity Coin

Originally posted at American Thinker.

It’s both pathetic and eye-opening to see a spectacular legend sitting on the floor wrapped in a blanket, reviewing fuzzy images of himself on TV.  In recently released images, a pre-mortem Osama bin Laden, remote in hand, looks like a homeless guy in a squalid shelter, not a terrorist mastermind planning and driving tactical decisions from a Pakistani command and control center.

The compound in Pakistan where al Qaeda’s operational chief was killed by US Navy SEALs delivered “the largest trove of intelligence ever obtained from a senior terrorist leader.”  From the captured cache officials released five very enlightening “video clips of bin Laden taken during the raid, most of them showing the al Qaeda leader, his beard dyed black, evidently rehearsing the videotaped speeches he occasionally distributed to his followers.”

 The videos expose Osama bin Laden’s nefarious plans, half-truths, and pre-recorded messages, which “condemn[ed] US policy and denigrat[ed] capitalism.”  As an added bonus, the video also revealed evidence of bin Laden’s vain personality quirks.  One of the terrorist mastermind’s idiosyncrasies appeared to be a disproportionate obsession with personal image, which is a trait eerily similar to his foe and ultimate deliverer of justice – a guy with a similar name who “jealously guards his [own] image” while reading off a Teleprompter.

No sane person would argue that the most significant benefit from the confiscated videotape is intelligence.  However, an unexpected profit gained from the collection is insight into a President who, like Osama, somehow morphed into a mythical being but whom, upon closer inspection, is slowly turning out to be nothing more than mortal flesh.

Both Osama and his rhyming foe Obama have been buoyed along with religious fervor by cult-like followings. In both cases, the foundation upon which the adversary’s iconic status has been built is based on philosophical ideas, alleged oratory skill, and reputations cultivated by fictional imagery rather than tangible reality.

Although Barack’s popularity was gained for reasons different from the homicidal activities that catapulted bin Laden to the height of notoriety, as it turns out the guy who finally gave the thumbs-up to kill the al Qaeda mastermind also happens to be equally concerned with physical appearance and public perception.

A larger-than-life phantom up until the very end, Osama evoked worldwide fear; yet in one segment of the confiscated videos he is seen to be a feeble, gray-bearded, vulnerable old man, subject to the cold, holed up in a disheveled room, wiling away the time by watching videos starring himself.

One official said: “The videos make clear that bin Laden remained active in al Qaeda’s terrorist propaganda operations, especially in shaping his own image. It is improbable that this kind of footage would be anywhere but with bin Laden… [who]… jealously guarded his image.” The only thing missing was a couple of Greek columns.

Nevertheless, it’s obvious that President Barack Obama would never be caught sitting on the floor of an untidy room, shivering beneath a blanket and watching a CRT television set featuring reruns of his INVESCO Field speech.  However, 7,000 miles away from Pakistan in Washington DC, in Barack’s world he makes certain to be tightly scripted and avoids media disasters through fastidious styling and assistance from a high tech Teleprompter.

Osama’s surprising obsession with how he looked was showcased on the tape when the fearsome commander of worldwide terror’s scruffy beard showed up gray in one shot and black in another.  The same sort of self-consciousness would be on evident on a time-lapse display of Barack’s short-cropped hair change from Monday morning black to Friday afternoon salt-and-pepper. Barack Obama’s ongoing albeit subtle weekly transformation helps the world better understand the sort of Narcissistic obsession that gripped the al Qaeda leader who, when not planning to blow up the world, was carefully dying his beard.

Terrorist tendencies aside, concern for outward appearance and public image takes up residence in a certain type of person, and both Osama and Obama embody the trait. So, after 10 long years, Osama bin Laden, a man who practiced speeches, loved watching videos of himself, and whose chest hair sometimes didn’t match his chin hair, in an ironic turn of events, was justly relegated to the annals of history by a equally big-headed nemesis decked out in designer duds.

Even still, the world is well aware that Barack Obama adheres to diametrically opposed philosophical goals from his now-deceased archenemy from Abbottabad. Yet who would have thought bin Laden, living in compounds and caves among goats, camels and fellow terrorists, actually rivaled Barry in the narcissism department?

 In the area of egotistical conceit, the duo’s pervasive self-absorption extends far beyond ideology and political leaning, because both men share a surprising character trait: prior to bin Laden’s assassination, rivals Osama and Obama were like two sides of a vanity coin.

Cartoon by Richard Terrell of Terrell Aftermath

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