Analysts who have reviewed Osama Bin Laden's latest tape have confirmed that the terrorist leader is, as one unnamed intelligence expert put it, "into the rock classics of the '70s and '80s." Clues abound on his most recent recording -- or, as he refers to it, "my newest side." And he's like other aging rockers passing their genes to the next generation: he has at least one seriously hot niece (although with 53 brothers and sisters that was statistically almost inevitable).
"I have sworn to only live free," says Bin Laden in a thinly veiled reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd's best-known song. He is then heard saying in a sotto voce aside, "and this bird you'll never change." The Skynyrd reference is consistent with a quote from Christian Parenti's fine book The Freedom: "Fallujah is Alabama in Arabic." That's why, as voters recently demonstrated, Iraq is a red state.
Bin Laden has been known to use other Skynyrd references. He allegedly made a deal at Tora Bora with those "outsourced" Afghan military warlords by using these words: "Gimme three steps, and you won't see me no more." Almost as an afterthought, he then added "but gimme back my bullets."
The terrorist has also apparently been listening to a lot of Bon Jovi, whose influence in his latest tape is unmistakable. He boasts that he will die rather than be captured, adding: "I'm an outlaw. On a steel horse I ride. I'm wanted, dead or alive." He then praised cartoon demonstrators for running "wild in the streets" before mocking Bush and vowing to be the "last man standing."
What '70s act will be the next infatuation for the man his followers call "Shaykh Osama"? The CIA is speculating that it will be Meat Loaf. Could they be right? Will he soon be promising his martyred followers that they'll be rewarded with "paradise by the dashboard light"?
Damn! I wish Ronnie Van Zant were still alive. He and the rest of the boys could put a good Alabama posse together and hunt that bad boy down. Until then, we can take comfort in the fact that whenever Osama addresses his followers from now on, some wise guy in the back row is going to shout out: "Free Bird!"
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