Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Where in the World is Osama bin Laden"? Morgan Spurlock looks fit, and is no longer supersized


"Where in the WORLD is Osama bin Laden"? Somebody could earn $25 million if they knew, perhaps? (Film website is this.)

Well, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock looks trimmed down, lean and mean from his “Super-Size Me” experiment (that almost killed him), although he may be a bit grayer (especially with beard) and a little bald on the pate. The movie opens with some amusing animation about becoming a Dad, as his wife has learned she is expecting before he starts his worldwide hunt. In fact, the very end of the film will show some autobiographical attachment parenting. An important theme is that parents all over the world should share the same desire for safe and stable political world that can accommodate religious and cultural differences.

He even takes some personal defense training, before his worldwide jaunt. He finds Egypt, supposedly a center for Muslim moderation, anything but a “democracy” with Mubarek in power for 25 years. The United States, he says, gets in bed with thugs when their on our side. We supported the Shah of Iran. We supported Osama and local freedom fighters in Afghanistan with the Soviet invasion. We supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war.

He moves on to the West Bank, and finds that the Palestinians say that they have no use for Al Qaeda, and that the struggle is over the expropriation of land, not about religion. He walks the walk in Jerusalem. At this point, he has presented “The Base” as a franchise out to kill you, like McDonalds (SuperSize).

He finds Saudi Arabia to be like another planet, and the film shows a lot of on location photography of the city streets, and of the shopping malls and of the veiled women in them. At this point, he is getting the feedback that, had the United States not invaded Iraq, Al Qaeda would have died in Afghanistan. It tends to colonize wherever there is dissent against western occupation. So Iraq proved to be a new nest.

He finally visits Afghanistan, Tora Bora (where he goes on an “Adventuring” hike down a canyon and is reassured there are no land mines), and then Pakistan, “the Land of the Pure.” Global jihad has become an “idea” like economic globalization, people say. Even if Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahri were killed, it would make no difference.

I’ve heard from a private source that OBL attended a “family meeting” in Karachi (the coastal city) in December 2000 about the time that the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore. It seems conceivable that he could have fled the country completely through the Indian Ocean at some point.

April 23: Correlated post on Graham Allison's article and on Ayman Al-Zawahri's tape, here.

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