July 8, 2009
Bin Laden been in Los Angeles
Last week, Steve Coll, who has spent the past decade digging deep into the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, wrote on the New Yorker’s Think Tank blog that the question of whether bin Laden had ever been in the United States had finally been answered. Coll wrote:
The question of whether Osama bin Laden has ever visited the United States, a subject on which I have expended an unhealthy amount of energy in the course of various journalistic and biographical research, has now seemingly been settled. Osama was here for two weeks in 1979, it seems, and he visited Indiana and Los Angeles, among other places. He had a favorable encounter with an American medical doctor; he also reportedly met in Los Angeles with his spiritual mentor of the time, the Palestinian radical Abdullah Azzam.
This settling of the debate, Coll says, is thanks to a new forthcoming book by Osama’s first wife, Najwa bin Laden, and his son, “Growing Up bin Laden.”
“Not a particularly consequential experience, perhaps,” Coll wrote, “but surely one that has a life in Osama’s memory and imagination—and another indication, among many available in his life, that he should be understood not only as a self-isolating radical imbued with millenarian religious narratives, but also as a modern and globalized figure whose experiences and outlook belong very much to our age.”
Thanks to LAObserved for the link to Coll’s piece. After the jump, an excerpt from a bound galley of “Growing Up bin Laden” and a classic “South Park” clip mocking Osama: