2002 was, as the President warned us, a "war year." Now that it's over
and the world is a safer place, it's time to revist the highlights of the
second year of this jangled millennium.
January 6: Pres. Bush annouces that US forces have landed in Somalia.
"This won't be like Afghanistan," he warns. "I want to make that very
clear." Commentators immediately cautioned the Administration against
thinking it could repeat the easy victory in Afghanistan. One reporter asks
Sec'y Rumsfeld how the US will fight this war, since the Northern Alliance
is not participating; Rumsfelt replies by fixing the reporter with a
wordless, bemused stare that lasts 47 minutes, and is broken only when Helen
Thomas asks when MacArthur will smash through the Chinese lines.
Another pundit notes that the US' previous experience in Somalia ended
in dozens of dead Americans. "Somalia," he says, "has never been known as
the grave of empires, but all that could change if, in fact, the US is drawn
into the quagmire of a land war as it was in Vietnam." As soon as he says
"Vietnam," a bell rings, announcing that the pundit is the 100,000 person to
believe that a reference to that conflict is regarded as insight; he gets a
big turkey and a trip to Miami Beach.
Jan 27: Mohammed Abdul, a Saudi travelling under a Finnish passport with
the name Sven Amudson, attempts to blow up a plane using C4 packed into a
tooth filling. He is subdued by passengers when he tries to light his tongue
on fire. The FAA promptly requires all passengers to open their mouths at
the security check point and have their fillings probed with metal sticks.
Amtrak reports record ticket sales.
February: Air Force Cessna single-engine planes, dropping cherry bombs
and bottle rockets and pieces of Lego that hurt like heck when you step on
them, pacify the entirely of Somalia. US special forces destroy seventeen al
Qaeda camps, and a division of French soldiers occupy Mogadishu and secure
the city for a new coalition government. "We asked the French to help," said
a State Department official, "because we can't stand their guts, and we hope
their failure here to organize this miserable mess shuts them up for a good
March: Osama bin Laden is found running a convenience store in Detroit;
neighbors were suspicious when the local store changed its name from 7-11 to
9-11. There's a shootout, but bin Laden escapes.
April 1st: The US still insists that Iraq is not a target, but notes
that Sudan still harbors many al Qaeda terrorists. April 2nd: the government
of Sudan purchases several aircraft and bombs itself into submission. The
terrorists are handed over via a bucket brigade.
August 15: British intelligence, learning that Iraq is not five years
away from a nuclear bomb but six minutes, dispatches a tuxedo-clad agent who
defuses the entire Iraqi arsenal with one second left on the timer display.
September 12: Abdul Mohammed, a Yemenite travelling under a Korean
passport with the name Lee Park, attempts to blow up a plane using
explosives packed in a false leg. The FAA requires all passengers to have
their limbs sawed off before boarding.
October 7: the Senate finally passes a stimulus package. October 8:
statistics show the economy grew .01 percent the previous quarter. Pundits
immediately begin celebrating the Daschle Recovery to the Bush Recession.
November: the election season comes to a baffling conclusion: in every
open Senate and House seat, Rudy Gulliani is a winner as a write-in
candidate. (He also sweeps the governorships, city council and school board
elections all across America except for Berkeley, where - in a stunning turn
of events for this most liberal of cities - he is elected dogcatcher.)
President Bush says he is prepared to deal with the new Rudyment, as the
government has been renamed.
December 25: Osama bin Laden is captured by "Fat Tony" Piccolo and his,
ah, associates while attempting to smuggle uranium into the United States.
"Speaking as a member of the Criminal-American community," Fat Tony says,
"we may be ethically challenged, but we're still patriots. Besides, only a
mook with a deathwish tries to move merch through JFK without giving us a
cut." Asked what happened to the famous terrorist, Mr. Piccolo shrugged and
grinned. "Bada boom," he said, "Bada
JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.