Blood Brothers: Could Osama Have Been Tamed?

From the beginning, America cast a spell on Mohamed's brood of children.

Osama's favorite TV shows included "Bonanza" and "Fury," which appealed to him since it featured a troubled orphan boy who goes to live on a ranch and tamed wild horses, especially a black stallion named Fury. Osama later became passionate about horses, owning as many as 20 on his own ranch south of Jeddah.

Later, he took his half-brothers to cowboy and karate movies while he attended boarding school in Beirut. Osama bought fancy cars, including a Lincoln and a Mercedes sedan, wrecking one of them when he drove too fast.

But after falling under the influence of Islamic scholar-teachers and becoming religious, Osama rejected Americana and Western influences.

He would not let his own children drink from a straw because they did not exist during the time of Mohammed, refused to let them put ice in their drinks because it would soften them, and banned Tabasco sauce because it was an American product.

Coll writes that Osama may have once traveled to America to get medical attention for one of his sons. The experience reportedly was not pleasant — sitting in an airport lounge, waiting for their connecting flight with his fully-covered wife Najwa, other passengers stared at them and took pictures.

The Charming Bin Laden Brother

Salem, on the other hand, embraced the freedoms, luxuries and attitude of the West.

A show-off who wore blue jeans, T-shirts and a leather jacket, Salem was proud of his farting skills, once passing gas in front of the governor of Riyadh, telling him, "I just farted, Prince. Don't you fart sometimes?"

Lacking any sense of modesty, Salem wanted to videotape his hemorrhoid surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. When the hospital refused, a friend brought a Polariod camera and Salem later created a multimedia show of photos set to music which he showed off at parties.

And he loved pranks, once dumping his American business partner and a colleague out of a Jeep in the middle of the night in the middle of the Saudi desert.

The American got his revenge by dropping Salem off in the middle of Harlem one night with no money in his pocket. Hours later, Salem sauntered back in to the hotel with two new African-American friends, telling him "Bob, you do have a sense of humor."

America was a shopper's paradise for Salem. He paid stores at his local shopping mall in Florida to stay open late to accommodate his impulses. For one party, he bought up all the Dom Perignon in Panama City but ran out so he sent a pilot to Columbus, Ga., to pick up a few cases and fly it back.

He used to ship home dozens of Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals, five thousand cases of Tabasco sauce and vast quantities of the kids' drink Mello Yello.

The ultimate extrovert, he once paid a bandleader at an Oscar party in Los Angeles to let him sing "House of the Rising Sun" in seven languages. And he often flew members of the family to Las Vegas to gamble and drink while staying at Caesar's Palace, tipping dealers with thousands of dollars of chips.

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