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Selling Osama

A raft of anti-bin Laden kitsch has washed up on the Internet. Hurry up and buy.

11:01 PM, Jan 10, 2002 • By BO CRADER
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EVERY GENERATION has its war, and every war has its merchandise. During the '70s, Americans supported our nation with "Ayatollah is an Assahollah" T-shirts. During the Gulf War, some patriots bolted "Bomb Saddam" license plates to their Camaros, while others used anti-Saddam condoms, confident that, as the directions suggested, the prophylactic would "Help Prevent Unwanted Mistakes Like SADDAM HUSSEIN." As for me, I swapped Gulf War trading cards.

The war on terrorism is no different. Heeding President Bush's mantra, "fight terrorism, go shopping," American entrepreneurs have dedicated themselves to providing affordable, high-quality anti-Osama merchandise to help consumers do their part to make the world once again safe for freedom.

Osama T-shirts come in almost limitless varieties. "Kill Osama," "Osama dead or alive," and "Osama, Public Enemy Number One" seem to be the most popular this season. More subtle enthusiasts might appreciate the shirt featuring Osama's head centered in a set of crosshairs, or the "Osama: Preferably Dead." Any enterprising Internet researcher can find a number of other variations on the theme, not all of which are suitable for print.

Those who wish to take a more active role supporting our troops might want to pick up Osama-Pin-Laden, an Osama voodoo doll replete with "six sharp pins and demonic literature." As the website OsamaPinLaden.com suggests, "Operation Stick-It-To-Him" allows Americans to participate in the war on terrorism without the hassle of joining the military or going to Afghanistan. No mere "doll" or "toy," Osama-Pin-Laden is a "bona-fide, home-brewed 'Psy-Ops' . . . weapon of war!"

Or you can teach your kids to beat terrorism with the Osama-Pinata. Various reports describe four different varieties of Osama-Pinata--for example, one features Osama in battle garb. Businessweek Online reports that after being hawked under-the-table near the Mexican border, they are now readily available at JJ's Party House in McAllen, Texas, for about $30.

The Arizona Republic reports that Osama bin Laden two-ply toilet paper, which features the FBI's most wanted man, is now available at wipewithbinladen.com. Similarly, the Osama bin Laden Urinal pad allows men to "have yourself a session . . . relieve all your aggression. . . . Be the terminator . . . with your urinator."

An Osama desk-top punching bag can be purchased at poobl.com. Poobl, an acronym for Piss On Osama Bin Laden, also features window decals of a character, well, micturating on Osama bin Laden.

Puckeruposama.com offers padded stadium seats with Osama's visage, allowing you to support our troops while enjoying the luxuries of sporting events--and it includes patriotic quotes from George W. Bush.

Life-size bin Laden targets (available at ihateterrorism.com) make shooting practice a breeze--choose between the standing, full-color version and the close-up with a bull's-eye on the terrorist mastermind's forehead. At ihateosama.com you can print your own Osama dart board in full color for free.

Out-of-work dot.commers have been doing their part as well. The Bin Laden Target Game allows chairborne rangers to point-and-click their way to victory in Afghanistan. Spec Ops: War on Terrorism provides desk jockeys the opportunity to fire-rush a terrorist camp, rescue hostages, search the caves of Tora Bora, and then "interrogate" Osama with their fists. For arcade-style fighting action, go to Bad Dudes vs. Osama bin Laden.