One Year in the War on Terror
Once upon a time there was a superpower. It was rich, strong and exceedingly complacent. Security within this superpower was lax. Foreigners from friendly or hostile nations could cross the country's border at will. In fact, illegal aliens routinely entered the country, ran up hospital bills, received welfare, got free schooling for their children and went about unmolested. On one occasion a band of illegal aliens boarded civilian airliners, hijacked them and crashed them into two skyscrapers and the superpower's main military headquarters (the Pentagon). The vulnerability of the country to foreign infiltration, subversion and terrorism was undeniable. Yet this vulnerability could not be corrected. The government, whether controlled by Tweedle-dee or Tweedle-dum, encouraged the illegal aliens with amnesties, privileges and a weak border patrol. The government was so thoughtless it even issued a student visa to one of the deceased suicide hijackers.
In response to being attacked by terrorists from Arabia, the superpower adopted security measures that were more cosmetic than effective. Nearly a year after the terrorist hijackings, in order to demonstrate the inadequacy of airport security, journalists successfully smuggled weapons onto airliners. News of this exploit reached the government and the general public. But nothing was done. The superpower's foreign trade and air traffic was so enormous that tight security proved unworkable. Cargo ships landed each day with countless shipping containers. Automobiles, trucks and trains crossed the porous border at five thousand entry points. Though air traffic was down, thousands crowded the nation's airports. The great superpower craved movement, speed and convenience. Its massive economy, unlike anything the world had ever seen, ran on oil and optimism. Heaven forefend that anything should happen to the oil supply. As for the nation's optimism, there was little concern from the witless multitude. Puffed by an army of clowns and pundits, corralled by a mysterious plunge protection team, slyly maintained beyond its natural span by a great troll named Alan, the Frankenstein's monster of economic optimism lurched, clunked and stumbled through market crash and recession with insane assurance.
Disallowing any augmentation of the basic tools of national security, as these would hamper liberty and economy, the great superpower decided on a course of offensive action. As a well-foddered, famous wise one once said, "The best defense is a good offense." Therefore the vaunted war machine of the superpower, long neglected for reasons of economy and optimism, was hurled into action against the remote badland sanctuaries of terror. Camels were shredded, bolt-action rifles were captured and harems were liberated. The chief goblin of global terror disappeared in a puff of smoke like the ancient jinni of 1001 Nights. The one-eyed mullah of Taliban fame shook hands with oblivion.
Was the terrorist network defeated? The superpower's vast strategic brain, with smoke curling from its several ducts, could not compute the answer. How can one estimate a thing that remains unseen? Hidden terrorist cells were hard to find among so many illegal aliens, immigrant enclaves and the numberless clients of the litigious ACLU and National Lawyers Guild. Shortcut expedients could hardly be employed by a regime beholden to liberalism. Expelling illegal aliens by the boatload would produce shrieks and screams of "racism." The three evil furies of political correctness would be unleashed. Raging at sexism, class oppression and racism, the furies would call down destruction upon the "fascist" military-industrial complex and its evil designs against women, the poor and non-whites. How could the "conniving fascists" possibly survive?
Realizing its weakness, the great superpower decided to stick with its offensive strategy. Now was the time to strike hard and strike first. Since terrorists could not be stopped at the border, since their devilish operations could hardly be anticipated, their sources of support and supply had to be pulverized one by one. And that meant a gradual expansion of the war to a group of mean little states known as "the Axis of Evil."
The first monster in this "Axis" was the cruel Sultan of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. Many noticed there was something new in his gloating smile. Grave intelligence about the Sultan's plans and capabilities filtered back to the smoldering Pentagon. Fearful whispers were heard in the upper political reaches. Having greased down their upward-pointed hairs, with eyes bulging and lips sealed, the superpower's military analysts collectively looked as if they had swallowed a toad. One of them secretly confessed to a friend, "I am tired of being scared all the time. When this war ends I am going to retire."
As often happens when security is porous, there were leaks from the great ship of state. Pentagon secrets poured out of an underside gash, not unlike the one that sank the Titanic. Little secrets, hints, clues and plans flooded the front pages of the newspapers. A proposed military operation against the cruel Sultan - a military operation of great size and scope - was revealed. Tactical nuclear missiles might be used against Baghdad's military command centers and weapons storage areas. Paratroops might be dropped near Baghdad itself.
The world was upset by this news. Why should a superpower with global reach attack a little Arabian nobody like Saddam Hussein? Fearing for the price of oil, the Europeans and Japanese protested. No attack on the Sultan of Baghdad should be undertaken, they croaked in unison.
The superpower held its cards close. "No decision has been made," said officials X, Y and Z. But at long last the intention to attack the Sultan of Baghdad was made perfectly clear. Secret meetings were held and white-faced senators emerged only to soften their opposition. Snotty foreign governments choked on their own criticisms after reviewing secret documents about weapons of mass destruction built in the desert. Horrible rumors circulated on all sides. The Prime Minister of the Chosen People publicly told of a deep Arabian conspiracy to manufacture and distribute nuclear weapons to a vast terror machine. A Pentagon hawk named Richard Perle, known for his sharp beak, revealed that, "Mohammed Atta [of the suicide hijacking squad] met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad prior to September 11. We have proof of that, and we are sure he wasn't just there for a holiday." [See Italy's business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.]
The British prime minister announced his plan to publish a secret dossier on the Sultan of Baghdad. This created a stir within intelligence circles where it was feared that sources of information might be compromised. Many whispered that Saddam Hussein could spread destruction and panic far and wide. It was said that he did not care about his personal survival, that he would unleash his weapons against the complacent superpower and die in a blaze of glory. In doing this he would be the father of a mighty revolution.
With each passing day the Eye of Mars looked out upon the Arabian desert. The vultures gathered as the bombers warmed their engines. Even the dove of doves, Secretary of State Colin Powell, joined the hawkish chorus. Speaking of Saddam to a snippy foreign newspaper, the great dove said, "The resolutions he's violating are not American resolutions, but United Nations resolutions. There are nine, and he has violated them all." Then Powell added, "The United Nations, the international community, every European nation should be outraged."
"The East is red," sang the schoolchildren of Mao's China; but not with outrage against the Sultan of Baghdad. Instead, the East is red with outrage against "American hegemony." And the kleptocratic Russian Bear, ever generous to China and Iran's nuclear ambitions, is also red. In a variation of the famous poem we might suppose:
Red is the East
Where comes the Sun;
Baghdad has brought forth
An atomic bomb.
The Mother of All Battles did not give birth in 1991. Perhaps the time is at hand. The dream of Saddam, the dream that envisions the destruction of a great superpower, has not faded from his sick mind. One year into the War Against Terror the complacent superpower is forced to push its pawns in his direction. Perhaps the next stanza will read:
Red is the Middle East
With the blood of millions.
The oil is stopped -
Say good-bye to trillions.
About JR Nyquist
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