By Matthew Hennessey
If I was an American soldier that has served or is currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, I would give myself a well-deserved pat on the back today. While it was a relatively small group of elite Navy SEALs that stormed Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout and killed the Miserable Bastard, I would know that my own sacrifice contributed mightily to this mission’s success.
If I was President Obama, I wouldn’t take too much of the credit for this victory. Luckily, his advisers seem to have intuited this path. It simply wouldn’t do to act as if the credit for a thing like this belongs to any one man or any one set of policies. I would sit back and let others give me credit.
If I was Ayman al-Zawahiri, I wouldn’t throw a wild party celebrating my unexpected promotion. I would instead contact my attorney and instruct him to begin revising my will. I would also reach out to the obituary writers at al Jazeera to make sure that they had the details of my wretched little life correct.
If I was a newspaper editor, I would dispatch my reporters to Mike Moran’s house in Rockaway Beach. I would tell them to ask the firefighter, who lost his brother John and twelve of his Ladder 3 colleagues on September 11, 2001, if he regrets never getting a kiss on his royal Irish ass from the now-ventilated bin Laden.
If I was a Hollywood producer, I would immediately begin casting next summer’s blockbuster, The Hunt for Bin Laden. The SEALs team would be a reflection of our national diversity, our stoic character, and our commitment to all that is good. Denzel Washington would be the commander; Benicio del Toro his trusted officer-in-charge. I’m sure we could find parts for the Harold and Kumar guys.
If I was the director of that film, I would insist on hiring members of the 60s generation as my generals: Peter Fonda, Martin Sheen, James Brolin. This would underscore how far we’ve come from the crippling national embarrassment of Vietnam.
If I was Ward “Little Eichmans” Churchill, Michael “Farenheit 9/11” Moore, or Jeremiah “Chickens Coming Home to Roost” Wright, I’d take my phone off the hook for a week or two. If I was a 9/11 “truther,” I would make an appointment to have my head examined. If I was Toby Keith, I’d think about writing a sequel to my butt-kicking 2002 masterpiece, “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue.”
If I was a widow, orphan, or survivor of 9/11, I would light a candle and say a prayer for my lost loved one. I would tell my children the horrible story of what happened that day, and its lasting legacy on me as an individual and our nation as a whole. I would urge my children to never forget the pain, the heroism, and the pure evil at work that day. I would tell them this so that they could tell their children, and their children’s children, and so on.
If I was an author, I would immediately begin assembling the history of the decade since 9/11. It is eerily appropriate that the perpetrator met his end just before the tenth anniversary of that black day. I would seek to write a meaningful history, one that put into context the tragic arc of a war that began in the skies over Shanksville, PA.
If I believed in curses, I would remind the world that the so-called Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” has twin corollaries: “May you come to the attention of powerful people” and “May you find what you are looking for.” I would post on my Facebook page that, by these measures, bin Laden was thrice cursed. I would expect a lot of “Likes.”
If I was a virgin in paradise, I would be lifting weights, trimming my beard, and preparing for the arrival of my first victim: the misguided, murderous, and thankfully now dead, Osama bin Laden.
From the May 18, 2011 issue of the Irish Echo.