Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What If?

This week’s edition of New York Magazine features suggestions about how the world might be different today if the 9/11 attacks had not happened. I would like to indulge in a slightly different version of this unhelpful fantasizing: what if we had reacted differently to 9/11?

On September 18, 2001, Congress rejects President Bush’s proposed “Authorization for the Use of Force,” describing it as too vague and unconstitutional, as it grants the executive branch authority reserved for Congress. Instead, in a bipartisan effort, Senators Lieberman and McCain offer a resolution to declare war on the government of Afghanistan pending approval of the United Nations Security Council, which is granted unanimously on September 20; Congress declares war on September 21.

A coalition of international forces, cobbled together by the valiant efforts of Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Secretary of State James Baker, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Russia, Pakistan and 26 other nations, commences an invasion of Afghanistan on October 7. The Taliban evacuates the capital Kabul on November 12.

On November 20, Taliban leader Mohammed Omar is captured by tribal leaders near Kandahar, where he has been living disguised as a woman wearing a burqha. He is stoned to death for violating the Koran’s dress code.

On December 5, 2001, acting on a tip, the coalition forces descend on a mountainous area of Afghanistan known as Tora Bora; after intense fighting, Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as 43 other Al Qaeda members, are surrounded and captured. The world is shocked to discover that Bin Laden, reported to be 6-foot 7, is actually 5’6. He is transported to the The Hague in The Netherlands, where he is charged in the International Criminal Court with Crimes Against Humanity.

On January 29, 2002, President Bush delivers the State of the Union Address: “My fellow Americans, I recognize that the 2000 election was fraught with unresolved problems which led many Americans to question the legitimacy of my administration. I recognize that it is a matter of essential national security that the American people have confidence that their leader was fairly elected. Therefore, I am pleased to announce my support for a new bill in Congress entitled The National Election Standards Act of 2002. Among the many important safeguards of this act are the establishment of non-partisan state election offices and money to purchase a nationwide supply of electronic voting machines which will produce a paper record for verification." Bush also announces the purchase of the World Trade Center site from Larry Silverstein and the creation of the September 11 National Monument.

Following the CIA’s recommendation, on June 2, 2002, President Bush authorizes a strike on a suspected terrorist encampment in northern Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and 39 followers are killed. On June 17 Osama bin Laden is sentenced by the ICC to life in prison.

By August 1, the United States has finished the preliminary trial process of some 800 captives from Afghanistan held at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Finding sufficient evidence to charge only 48 detainees with criminal activity, the rest are released.

In October 2002, the United States presents evidence to the United Nations that Iraq is maintaining an active illegal weapons program. In November 2002, the Security Council rejects the first draft of Resolution 1441, stating that “dire consequences” is too vague. U.N. weapons inspectors arrive in Iraq on December 2, 2002.

In January 2003, President Bush delivers the State of the Union Address, detailing the amounts of banned chemical and biological weapons Iraq is suspected of harboring and alleging that Saddam Hussein recently attempted to purchase uranium from Niger.

Three days later, Ambassador Joseph Wilson publishes an Op-Ed in the New York Times revealing that Vice President Cheney had personally sent him to Niger to investigate the claim, for which he had found no evidence. The White House promises an investigation.

On March 2, 2003, Vice President Cheney holds a press conference to announce his resignation, stating that he not only withheld from the President Ambassador Wilson’s report, he actively encouraged the inclusion of information he knew to be false in the SOTU. On March 19, Cheney is arrested in connection with the shooting death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in a hunting incident, but is later released when the police rule it an accident.

On March 23, Cheney is photographed entering a rehab facility.

On April 2, 2003, UN inspector Hans Blix formally reports that Iraq no longer possesses any banned biological or chemical substances and no trace of active weapons programs can be found.

During the summer and fall of 2003, the United States engages influential European nations as well as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates to request that Saddam Hussein resign, based on charges of atrocities against Shiite Muslims and Kurds. The Arab League adopts a resolution to support the forced exile of Saddam Hussein on November 14, 2003, if Israel will pull back to pre-1967 borders.

On November 22, Israel declines to give up occupied territories. On November 23, President Bush expels the Israeli ambassador.

On November 25, former Vice President Dick Cheney is videotaped wearing only a t-shirt, digging holes in his Jackson, Wyoming estate and shouting, “I know the weapons of mass destruction are here somewhere. Fucking liberals! Yarrrrrgh!”

On November 26, the website YouTube is founded.

On December 3, Hussein says he will accept exile if Israel will retreat to pre-1967 borders. Israel declines. On December 5, President Bush suspends all US aid to Israel. On December 8, Israel reverses itself and announces a plan for a withdrawal from all occupied territories. The Arab League gives Saddam Hussein 21 days to report to one of a small handful of countries who have agreed to give him asylum.

Saddam Hussein arrives in Bahrain on December 24 and asks for asylum. Some 500,000 UN troops arrive in Iraq on December 27

On January 1, 2004, Palestine declares itself a sovereign nation. Formal diplomatic ties with the United Nations and the United States are established, and diplomatic relations between the US and Israel resume, though President Bush cautions that US aid to Israel is “under review.”

Iraq holds its first open elections in nearly 30 years on March 3, 2004. The United Nations begins a phased withdrawal of occupying forces.

In November, 2004, President Bush and Vice President Olympia Snowe, replacing former Vice President Dennis Hastert, who declined to run for a second term, win a narrow victory over Democratic nominee John Edwards.

In March 2006, a certain blogger makes his Metropolitan Opera debut as Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, a last-minute replacement for baritone Mariusz Kwiecien. In September, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) loses a primary challenge to Jonathan Tasini.

In November 2008, Democratic candidate Al Gore and his running mate Jon Stewart defeat GOP candidate John McCain. In one of his first official acts as President, Gore nominates Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court, following the sudden tragic death of Justice Alito from a heart attack.


Quinn said...

Can I live in your fantasy world? Please?

little-cicero said...

Oh, so I'm the one who's living in a fantasy world?

I wonder, since just the right terrorist shows up in just the right place at just the right time according to your instructions, would you mind telling me where to look for all the left socks I've lost over the years? I'd also like to know where Elvis is living.

Future Geek said...


My favorite part:

"“My fellow Americans, I recognize that the 2000 election was fraught with unresolved problems which led many Americans to question the legitimacy of my administration. I recognize that it is a matter of essential national security that the American people have confidence that their leader was fairly elected."


Also, you missed the part where president Bush says: "Our world is facing an ecological crisis that is unprecedented. Global warming and the associated problems will be a bigger threat to US national security than Islamic extremism in the next century. Therefore, I have proposed a wide ranging set of environmental protections, and the FBI is investigating the office of the Vice President for fraud in the conduct of his energy task force."

Gino said...

well, at least you find an alito supreme court vacancy tragic.

Time said...

What if LC was not a bigot? Talk about a fantasy world.

Andy said...

Yeah, for issues of length, I had to leave a lot out. You know, especially the part where Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) was discovered humping an Irish setter.

Little Cicero, we know where Osama bin Laden is. He's in the vicinity of Pakistan and Afghanistan, north, west, south, and east somewhat.

DJRainDog said...

Now, Time...I've said, I think, more harsh things to little-cicero than anyone else on here, but I have always stopped short of calling him a bigot. Ignorant, yes, as he has yet an awful lot to learn, but he's obviously an ambitious (if somewhat lazy) thinker, and I like to think there's always hope.

little-cicero said...

Time, if you are so angry that you have to leave irrelevent comments calling me a bigot to keep from exploding, I would advise that you invest in a stress ball.

They're pretty cheap and they work like majic- plus when you're done you can throw it at people who make you angry.

Jeff said...

I think you forgot "In March 2007, pigs are seen flying over midtown Manhattan."

kr pdx said...

In one of his first official acts as President, Gore nominates Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court, following the sudden tragic death of Justice Alito from a heart attack.

wait wait wait I'm confused.
I thought only evil conservatives used that untraceable but tidily-timed heart-attack assassination method (see also: Ken Lay)


You skipped bird flu. I only remembered because of this article, which was just forwrded to me to warn me to supply my family before they run out:

So, people who work for large corporations will have a better chance of surviving a possible pandemic. Is this a setup for a massive biological-attack conspiracy theory implicating Corporate Power, or what? (I can see that it is perfectly logical for them to stock up; it makes lots of business sense. But isn't one probable result that the pandemic tilts humanity "conservative"?)

Andy said...

Ken Lay was not assassinated; the conservatives assisted in the faking of his death and smuggling him out of the country.

Two things: global pandemics may be necessary to the healthy evolution of the human species. This is one of many ways that modern medicine is very damaging to overall human health, because it perpetuates weak characterstics that nature is trying to filter out. And no, the population will not "shift" conservative even if it played out as you suggest, because the Holy Spirit will still be around to bring people to the higher level of consciousness that is liberalism.

little-cicero said...

THAT is Darwinism.

Matthew said...

An interesting fiction you have going on there, Andy. ;-)

Zeke said...

your world is strange and unlogical and just as sad. But at least you admit it's fiction. we all have the right to write it, I just hope your a bit more grounded in the end.