Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Rumsfeld threatens to bomb Afghanistan (or whatever) even if bin Laden is handed over. OK, it is now time to state the obvious: Bush does not want bin Laden turned over to the US alive. As I suggested yesterday, there is that little problem of evidence, but there is also the question of what he could reveal about the CIA aid he received over the years, the problem that there might well be more terrorism and hostage-taking specifically aimed at securing his release. And so on. So comments like Rumsfeld's, or Bush's, may well be deliberate, to make sure we're not ever embarrassed by getting what we say we want.

Not that Afghanistan could turn him over if it wanted to at this point, since he disappeared into the mountains.

I'm told that the Afghan populace really don't like the "Arab Afghans," the Muslim Arab loons who helped them "liberate" the country and stayed for the women. You'll notice there is no suggestion of even one Afghan national involved in any of bin Laden's alleged plots.

Today's announcements were all a little odd, like reading one of those documents released under the Freedom of Information Act with all the important parts blacked out. Bush makes a public plea for Arab states to help us secretly (some secret), while Ashcroft says that the terrorists were helped by some foreign state or states, which he won't name.

The state most likely to go into civil war over all this is Pakistan. Isn't it nice to know that it's a nuclear power?

Well, my friend may lose his job at US Air, but according to the papers there are plenty of businesses thriving right now, and he should clearly get into selling flags, guns, or Nostradamus. The first person who figures out how to combine the three should make out just fine.

For days I've been meaning and forgetting to say this: perhaps the creepiest statement to come out of the administration is not any of Bush's nonsense but a considered remark of Colin Powell that other nations are either with us or against us. This is not a cliche, this is a threat.

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