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$39.99 video game pits Bush against bin Laden

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Crass commercialism of the holidays isn't new.

But it may have reached a new low at a store that offers a game exploiting one of the worst tragedies in the history of the United States.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, where more than 2,600 people were killed, has been reduced to a 99-cent hand-held video game in which President Bush fights al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

It is being sold at the 99-Cent Depot, in the Twin City shopping center at the Jersey City/Bayonne border.

The packaging of the game console, which features "Bush vs. Laden" and three other games, includes an anti-Semitic caricature of Bush as a white bird holding an assault rifle opposite a smiling bin Laden holding an airplane in one hand and a bomb in the other.

The packaging also depicts Bush and bin Laden as cartoon boxers.

"It is so funny let's play together," reads the package, which also has images of the World Trade Center, the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan and the U.S. Capitol.

When Carl Cappi, of Jersey City, and Maryanne Russell, of North Bergen, saw the game on the shelf Tuesday night, they were outraged.

"My first reaction was to say, 'What are you guys, crazy?' That should not be a joke or a game," Russell said. "Why would it even come into this country?"

She wants the game taken off the shelves, where about 25 copies remained Wednesday.

But an acting manager at the store, who refused to give his name, defended the right to sell it, saying the U.S. "is a free country."

The price on the package says $39.99, but shoppers were not snatching them up Wednesday, even with the $39 discount.

"Ain't (bin Laden) bad? Why would you advertise a bad man?" said Jessie Baskerville of Jersey City. "I wouldn't let my child play that. Bush would lose anyway; he still can't find (bin Laden)."

The store's acting manager said the game is not an endorsement of terrorism, and that shoppers can decide whether or not to buy it.

Source: Houston Chronicle

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Article publication date: 1 Nietzschôse Ray80 (16 Dec 2007)

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