Oct. 3, 2001

The War on Terrorism:
A Look Back From 2002

By Roy Rivenburg
Gone But Not Bin Laden: Everyone wants to know how America’s war on terrorism will play out. So our time-traveling journalist boarded Caltech’s experimental time machine (now protected by a time-travel sky marshal) and ventured to the year 2002. Upon return, he filed this report:

-- October: Reconnaissance planes spot Osama bin Laden riding a white camel through southern Afghanistan. As ground forces move in, bin Laden leads U.S. troops on a slow-speed camel chase before finally surrendering.
-- November: To head off possible retaliation for bin Laden’s arrest, U.S. officials order extraordinary security measures at home. For example, the FAA grounds Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and all taxicab passengers must now pass through curbside metal detectors before hailing a cab. The latter causes so many delays that passengers must arrive at a curb three hours before they actually need a cab.
-- December: The military’s authorization to shoot down wayward civilian airplanes is expanded to permit the shooting of ‘‘any private vehicle carrying the Backstreet Boys, Dennis Rodman or Bill Maher.’’
-- January: Disneyland beefs up its security by making Goofy and Pluto become bomb-sniffing dogs.
-- February: Prosecutors unveil their case against Osama bin Laden, charging him with the Sept. 11 hijackings, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the suicide attack on the USS Cole, running a red light in Des Moines in 1982, the assassination of President McKinley in 1901 and writing the script for ‘‘Waterworld.’’ Bin Laden pleads not guilty, saying he was chipping golf balls outside his vacation cave in the Afghanistan Hamptons at the time.
-- March: In an embarrassing mixup, FBI agents acting on President Bush’s pledge to ‘‘eradicate evil’’ storm a Las Vegas hotel and arrest motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel.
-- April: To no one’s surprise, the Los Angeles jury hearing bin Laden’s trial deliberates a full 10 minutes before acquitting him. Outside the courtroom, a jubilant bin Laden vows to find the ‘‘real terrorists’’ -- but only because he wants to congratulate them.
-- June: As a goodwill gesture, the government gives bin Laden a limousine once owned by the late Bill Maher.
-- July: After bin Laden’s car plunges off a cliff because of a flat tire caused by a sidewinder missile, the news media resume nonstop coverage of Gary Condit.

NRA Sharpshooter of the Week: An Indiana man was shot to death by his father, who mistook him for a squirrel while hunting.

Quote of the Week: From Jimmy Dean, 73-year-old sausage king and singer, in Esquire magazine: ‘‘Being a Baptist won’t keep you fron sinning, but it’ll sure as hell keep you from enjoying it.’’

Mark Your Calendars: The world’s largest ham biscuit (720 pounds) will be baked at the Trigg County Country Ham Festival in Cadiz, Ky., on Oct. 13, which also happens to be the first day of the Fire Ant Festival in Marshall, Texas.

Celebrity Birthday Bureau: Cheerios debuted 60 years ago on Oct. 1, after cereal scientists had experimented with more than 500 recipes and 10 different shapes and sizes.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Woman With Four Legs Opens Dance Studio!’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline, also from you know where: ‘‘Skiing Squirrel Dies Trying to Break 196-mph Speed Record!’’

Unpaid Informants: Ann Harrison, Wireless Flash News Service, Associated Press, Mark Kellner.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate