Amid all the angst over Iraq and the War on Terror, I never hear anybody talk about what our enemies are thinking, yet any military commander knows that to know the enemy - his intentions, fears and internal dissensions - is vital intelligence. With that in mind, let's just say that in 1861 some guy from the future was able to go back in time and tell Confederate leader Jefferson Davis what would happen if he went forward with the South's prosecution of the Civil War. "Well, Jeff," he goes on, "you can attack the Union at Ft. Sumter, but the war will last four years, slavery will end, hundreds of thousands of Confederate soldiers will die, not to mention all the Union soldiers and civilians, mostly your Southern neighbors; including women and children. Your land will be taken from you, your political power stripped, you'll end up in jail, Abe Lincoln will become a sainted figure, and the South will take 100 years to 'rise again.' " Unless Davis was out of his mind, a vivid portrait of the war (use Ken Burns's documentary) would surely have made him realize that the very essence of what he DID NOT WANT is what he would - and indeed did - get.
The same might (or might not?) be said of Adolf Hitler contemplating World War II, or the Kaiser before World War I, or any number of wars. Hannibal may well have chosen not to take his elephants over the Alps, for instance if he knew the Romans would salt Carthage and he'd be forced to swallow poison.
Okay, so it's the summer of 2001, and this guy in the time machine is allowed into Osama bin Laden's compound and shows him what will happen if he launches those planes into the World Trade Center and other locations. "Do what you want, Osama, but here's the deal," the man says. "The Americans under the Republicans are not like they were under the Democrats. They won't send some drones into the desert and kill camels. They will invade Afghanistan, defeat and unseat the Taliban, capture Kabul, and install a friendly government. These people telling you they will lose like the Russians did, or like the Rudyard Kipling poems describe British and Russian misadventures - the Great Game of the 19th Century - are as wrong as wrong is."
Osama scratches his head.
"What will happen to me?" he asks.
"Well, you will become a fugitive, living hand to mouth in a cave someplace in the freezing mountains of Pakistan, only Pakistan will side with America. You will have to rely on the loyalty of local villagers, that is until they accept money or somebody whose family you killed turns, and they in turn give you up. At any second a drone missile will blow you up without you knowing what hit you. Your chances at survival won't be good. The Taliban will become a rag time group blowing up a few cars and whatnot, but they will be essentially irrelevant."
Osama looks strange.
"Furthermore, and maybe worse, the Americans will consider you relatively irrelevant, too. You'll occasionally make a video tape (long after DVDs have become the thing, but you won't have access to that technology or much of anything). Nobody will take you seriously. Your advisors will tell you people do, but, well, sorry, they won't. Oh, most of your top commanders will be killed, mostly by these drone missiles the Republicans, I mean the Americans, have at their disposal.
"In 2003, George Bush will invade Iraq. In what will go down in history as one of the most brilliant military campaigns ever waged, he will destroy Saddam Hussein within a month or so and take over the country. There will be backlash and a lot of violence will occur, but your biggest allies will be the American Democrat party?"
"Some guys named Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, John Murtha . . ."
"Are they Muslims?"
"Well, no, their infidels?"
"Then why will they root for me?"
"Well, that's a good question, but it really won't do you any good because after a few years the Republicans, I mean the Americans, will achieve victory in Iraq. They will turn the place into the beginnings of a democracy. Iran will be very bitter, but with an American military next to them they will be marginalized and it probably will lead to a student revolution turning THEM into a democracy - that's in the future so far so I can't give that to you for sure but it's starting to look that way."
"But won't the Arab street explode?"
"Well, that's what all the liberals said would happen, but they were, well, wrong."
"They will love the Americans?"
"No, but the average Arab will recognize they are the winners, probably the winners of all history, and people tend to jump on bandwagons."
"What if I nuke an American city?"
"Well, can't say, but you got to understand. Even though the Americans will blow you away in Afghanistan and Iraq, people will say they fought with one hand tied behind their back."
"They will beat me with one hand tied behind their backs?" Osama asks.
"Yeah, pretty much, so if you managed a nuke they'd probably just turn the whole Mideast into fire - blow up Mecca and Medina, just take it over, and worse, the Chinese would be their ally. They'd be really mad because they've got a lot of investments in America and would not much like you blowing 'em up. Can't advise it."
"So, let me get this straight," Obama. "The absolute opposite of what I WANT will be what I ACTUALLY GET?"
"Hey, you said it, not me."
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism