Future history: VT DAY! OSAMA BIN LADEN CAPTURED ALIVE, WAR ON TERROR OFFICIALLY ENDS!
OK, Osama hasn’t been captured yet. Still, it’s a pleasant thought, far more pleasant than him being killed. Not that such a fate would ill befit him, (live by the sword, die by the sword,) but Bin Laden the martyr would inspire terrorism for decades, if not forever. And frankly, I’d like to go back to the eighties where terrorists killed one or two Americans a year, instead of Americans being blown up daily in the dusty streets of Iraq. Is there some way that the war on terror could end and we could return to the pleasant days of the eighties? Maybe. The future in known to no one, anyone who confidently predicts the future in any specific way is a fool or a liar. We are not doomed to fight a “war of civilizations” for centuries, there are paths out if this mess. Here is my speculative path…
Somehow we muddle through the rest of the Bush years without a bigger mess developing. There is an election in the US, a new president takes office. I don’t know who, it doesn’t matter. Just someone who knows that a serious course correction needs to be made if we are to end the war on terror. Someone with the courage and insight to take the bull by the horns and actually try something different.
The new president (played by Harrison Ford in the movie no doubt) is sworn in. That very evening he gathers the joint chiefs of staff. “Gentlemen” he says, “I have a very simple plan. Listen carefully. I want the entire focus of the US military to be on one goal. You are to capture Osama bin Laden alive. Whatever resources it takes, however much money it costs, no matter how many American soldiers die in the process, you are to work with each other to accomplish this goal. There will be no excuses accepted, if you aren’t up to the task, I expect your resignation on my desk forthwith. This is the most important task the American military has ever been charged with, our children’s future depends on this mission.” Granted, I can’t see any of the spineless, pork munching, lobbyist groupies in Washington, (Republican or Democrat,) ever demonstrating this kind of leadership; but it’s my fantasy so bear with me.
So the military does the job: heroic firefight on live TV as special forces swarm into some cave in Mundanistan or such. Osama makes a last dash for freedom in a white Ford Bronco, Navy Seals shoot out the tires, Osama’s gun jams as the vehicle is swarmed by Marines and soldiers, and he is dragged kicking and screaming into a Marine Osprey and whisked away to Washington. Dancing in the streets in the USA , people around the world breath a big sigh of relief, extremists in caves sweat and watch their cave entrances nervously.
So what then? Historically peasant revolts such as Al Qaeda were easily exterminated after their leaders were captured and executed. Our hero in the White knows better though, times have changed, and the peasants now are armed with RPGs and assault rifles instead of pitchforks. Not to mention the perfection of Japanese Kamikaze tactics to dreadful heights. Fortunately, historically there is another solution that has been applied in such cases, the Geronimo solution…
What the hell? Yes, that what people will say when the president gets on TV, formally announces the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Well, at first they will just be cheering too loud, but then as the president explains Osama’s fate, it will get quiet. Osama will not be tried. Shock, horror, amazement. No, Osama and representatives from all the factions and nations in the Middle East are going to be sat down at a table and forge a peace plan for the region. All of them, whether they like it or not. Because Goddamit we’re the greatest country the world has ever seen and were tired of this crap and were going to end it. And I’m talking Israel and Palestine and the whole shebang here.
Would it work? It could. Michael Savage and his likes would scream their lungs out claiming we are surrendering to the terrorists. Some misguided Americans might even plot to kill the president, there’s certainly historical precedent for that. Palestinians would get a state of their own. Israelis would somehow adjust to having actual borders just like every other nation. Globes and maps would have to be updated to include Kurdistan. Would terrorism end? Of course not, but a lot of wind would have been taken out of its sails. And the world could get back to killing itself slowly with oil abuse.
And what would be Osama’s fate? I mean, obviously we can’t just let him go. He would live out is days in a specially constructed prison in the White House basement. Cut off from friends and family, chained at all times, with only taunting guards for company. He deserves worse, but the last thing the world needs is Osama the Martyr.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and it is central to illustrating the post. Credit: Lumpen Magazine.)