RSS

Why Bin Laden’s porn stash is important

16 May

It was revealed over the weekend that the Navy SEALs who took out Osama Bin Laden also came across a stash of pornography in the terrorist leader’s hideout. That struck me as a pretty big event but some people put it right up there with the release of the white iPhone in the “why is this news?” category. (By the way, “why is this news?” is internet code for, “I don’t care about this particular topic and I don’t know why anyone else does.”)

Whether you care or not about Bin Laden’s alleged porn stash is up to you, but it certainly is news in the strictest sense of the word. It’s said the victors of war get to write the history, but journalists are supposed to be there to prevent that from becoming too skewed to one side’s favour. In the case of Bin Laden, it’s important that the life of our era’s most dangerous terrorist be documented properly because, like it or not, he inspires other people.

Bin Laden’s philosophy was a militant – and many would say twisted – interpretation of Islam combined with a vicious hatred of the West. He ranted on numerous occasions about the supposed depravity and debauchery of American culture, including this gem from a 2002 letter:

Your nation exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools, calling upon customers to purchase them. You plaster your naked daughters across billboards in order to sell a product without any shame. You have brainwashed your daughters into believing they are liberated by wearing revealing clothes, yet in reality all they have liberated is your sexual desire.

Being in possession of pornography would thus make him look like a giant hypocrite. As Republican stalwart Mike Huckabee noted the other day, exposing such hypocrisy to the Muslim world is “brilliance” on the part of the U.S.

Naturally, there is suspicion that the discovery is just a little too perfect, that perhaps the CIA or U.S. military planted the porn or made up the story in an effort to discredit Bin Laden. That wouldn’t be crazy, since the CIA had previously tried to make the al Qaeda leader and Saddam Hussein out to be gay porn stars.

Whatever the case may be, it’s vital the truth be known. If it can be proven that Bin Laden was, in fact, a hypocrite who watched and collected pornography, then his ideological position is – like Huckabee said – tarnished. While that may not have any effect on his most ardent supporters, who will likely always believe the issue was concocted by Americans despite what the facts show, it could have some pull with fence sitters or sympathizers.

On the other hand, if it turns out the U.S. made the whole thing up, Bin Laden’s ideology could attract sympathy. His criticisms of the American government being underhanded and deceitful would only gain currency.

Either way, it’s not a trifling issue. It’s not a celebrity or a politician who has been caught with porn, it’s an ideological figure who inspires people to kill. Hopefully the journalists who are on this issue take it seriously and don’t give the authorities who are reporting it a free pass. Fortunately, as Wikileaks has amply demonstrated, the truth usually has a way of coming out.

By the way, at least one expert says the porn discovery – if real – wouldn’t be at all surprising. Adult entertainment is apparently the Muslim world’s dirty little secret, she says. Indeed, porn is hardly a Western phenomenon. According to the best estimates I’ve seen, South Korea and Japan are actually the world’s biggest per capita consumers, with the U.S. well behind the likes of Finland, Brazil and Australia. Porn is hardly an American “disease” – it’s one of the most global phenomena there is.

Advertisements
 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in sex, terrorism, war

 

3 responses to “Why Bin Laden’s porn stash is important

  1. Russell McOrmond

    May 16, 2011 at 7:36 am

    “It’s not a celebrity or a politician who has been caught with porn, it’s an ideological figure who inspires people to kill.”

    This sentence makes me uncomfortable, given people have been motivated to kill by celebrities and ordered to kill by politicians.

    I guess I would be far more comfortable to at first lump all such leaders together, and separate them by whether they inspire/order people to kill. That is itself less hypocritical than arbitrarily separating based on whether they are officially just celebrities, politicians, or religious leaders : as well as whether they are the “right” religion or “right” political persuasion.

    I agree it is useful to take someone who pretended to be a religious leader, who had followers based on religious beliefs, and expose them as simple political figures or economic opportunists. This is true of Osama Bin Ladin, as well as other religious leaders in the west and elsewhere.

     
  2. torontoworker

    May 16, 2011 at 7:59 am

    All men are pigs? So say 99% of my office. I am the 1% who disagree. (I am the only male in my office.)
    This poll 99% correct i was told…

     
  3. bwalzer

    May 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I doubt that the porn will bother those that support Bin Laden’s violent attacks on western ideas and institutions in the Middle East. The people in the videos are sex workers. Religious fundamentalists generally place such people in their own special category. It is clear that Mr. Laden was not talking about sex workers in his letter.

    It is not just religious fundamentalists that engage in this sort of double think…

     
 
%d bloggers like this: