The Strange Saga of Osama and Obama

They are the two men who changed the course of the history of the United States and the world in the new millennium: one by his capacity for evil, the other by his incapacity to comprehend it.  The saga of Osama and Obama begins at the dawn of the 21st century.

In September of 2001, Osama bin Laden slaughtered thousands of Americans in New York, Washington, and in the skies, undermining the nation's sense of security. The Twin Towers were a symbol of the soaring power of the unchallenged United States following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Osama didn't have to leave his Afghan hideaway to accomplish his "feat."  He sent no clunky missiles in an effort to dent the impenetrable power of fortress America as Saddam Hussein had attempted with his Scuds against U.S. troops during the Gulf War.  He relied on a small group of Muslim fanatics with box cutters and the schedules of U.S. airlines servicing a booming economy.

In response to bin Laden’s outrage, then President George W. Bush launched the War on Terror.  In 2008, Americans chose Barack Hussein Obama to be their first post-9/11 elected president.  That his surname, Obama, rhymed with Osama and had the unusual names “Barack Hussein" attached to it is only a coincidence.  The resemblance, however, was not lost on the future president when he lunched with a political consultant in late September of 2001.  Before them was a newspaper with Osama bin Laden's photo.  "Hell of a thing isn't it?" remarked the consultant. "Really bad luck.  You can't change your name, of course.  Voters are suspicious of that kind of thing."

Voters seemed to be more suspicious of Obama’s association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom the Wall Street Journal called a "passionate proponent of the view of America as the world's leading agent of evil and injustice,” than his Muslim roots.  The association with fiery preacher and his friendship with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers did not deter the American people.

Perhaps Barack Hussein Obama’s amazing rise was the result of some deep wound in the American psyche after such a direct hit on its pride that still smarted seven years later.  

On May 2, 2011, Obama killed Osama, or at least he took responsibility for the action, while watching it on closed-circuit deep in the heavily-fortified White House Situation Room -- but his incapacity to call out evil during his presidency weakened America's power in the world and gave birth to an even more malicious Al-Qaeda offspring -- the Islamic State.

“Like most children of divorced parents, he felt a loss, for he was no longer as intimately involved with his father’s family… he keenly felt his lack of status, genuinely suffering from his father’s lack of personal love and care.”  These words were written by Omar bin Laden, one of Osama’s 20 sons, regarding his father's relationship with his grandfather, but they could have easily been written about Barack Obama, whose autobiography, titled Dreams from My Father, aptly describes the importance of his Kenyan progenitor's absence.  Both men’s Muslim fathers died prematurely:  Osama’s in a plane crash at age 59, Obama’s in a car accident at age 46, thus precluding any reconciliation with their feelings of abandonment.

Osama bin Laden’s father was fantastically rich and had many wives. Since Osama was not among the first born among 50 sons, he received little attention from the busy patriarch before he died.  He was raised by a stepfather. Unlike his brothers, who studied abroad, Osama stayed in Saudi Arabia and thus remained  “the most provincial of the bin-Laden boys.”

Barack Obama was raised in multicultural Hawaii and in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation.  It was with Obama’s Indonesian stepfather that the future president first came in contact with Islam, at the time in Indonesia, a much more tolerant version than that of Osama’s Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden, living in the birthplace of Islam, found meaning in its message and gravitated towards the works of Sayid Qutub, “widely considered the father of contemporary jihadist thought.”

Four and a half years younger than Osama, Barack Obama was drawn to the writings of Malcom X of the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist group that prepared for a race war in America and believed that Christianity was the religion of slavers.  Malcolm eventually left the NOI for the more traditional Sunni form of the religion and made the Hadj to Mecca. Obama wrote:

If Malcolm X's discovery toward the end of his life, that some whites might live beside him as brothers in Islam, seemed to offer some hope of eventual reconciliation, that hope appeared in a distant future, in a far-off land.  In the meantime, I looked to see where the people would come from who were willing to work toward this future and populate this new world.

That search led Obama to a hybrid multicultural and polyreligious concept of world harmony that included an idyllic image of Islam based on his formative years in Indonesia and his emotional attachment to his Muslim forbears.  For his “vision,” the president won the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after taking office and spent the next eight years trying to create it.  He failed miserably, further undermining the post-World War II order that Osama Bin Laden’s atrocity had shaken.

The youthful quests of these two highly educated, self-confident men led them to two opposing views of Islam.  Bin-Laden's followed the literal words of the Quran: only all-out war on the unbelievers would bring the peace of Islam to the world.  For Obama, Islam was a religion of peace.  Later it became his "responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."

Osama became an evil man of action -- Obama an immoral man of inaction.

Osama, with few troops, no country, and no official title, declared war on the world's greatest superpower in 1996 and took action:  the Khobar towers, the USS Cole, the U.S. embassies in Africa, the WTC, and many more acts of terror.

Obama, commander in chief of the world's most powerful military, did everything to appease America's enemies:  the withdrawal of troops from Iraq which led to the rise of ISIS, his failure to act when Syria's Assad crossed his red line of chemical weapons use, the nuclear deal with Iran, and many more acts of rendition. 

Osama always told the truth about his beliefs -- Obama told half-truths and lies about Islam.

Let us contrast just a few of their statements from Osama's letter to America and Obama's Cairo speech.

On each other’s civilizations:

Osama: It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind.

Obama: As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.

On religious pluralism:

Osama: The religion of Jihad in the way of Allah [is] so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme. It is to this religion that we call you: the seal of all the previous religions.

Obama: The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam.

On war and peace:

Osama: Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge.

Obama: Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.

President Obama told the world "that Islam has always been a part of America's story."  In fact, the first country to declare war on the United States was Muslim Tripoli. Following the early conflicts with the North African Barbary States, historian Bernard Lewis wrote (The Crises of Islam, p.69) that there was little contact between the two civilizations until the post-WW II oil boom.

The United States is now in a third historical phase of interaction with the Muslim world.  We have been savagely attacked by "Radical Islam," a phrase Barack Obama refuses to utter, while being besieged by Muslim propaganda. By taking an active role in the latter and by failing to decisively combat evil, Barack Hussein Obama has advanced the cause of Osama Bin Laden.  Yes, the president "killed" one mass murderer, but he has enabled the formation of tens of thousands of ghoulish assassins who believe that it is their religious duty to enslave non-Muslim women and who can look an infidel in the face before slowly slicing off his head.

The author is a “self-made multiculturalist” who has lived and worked in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. He blogs at The Multicultural Conservative: Conservative by Nature – Multicultural by Choice.