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Jewish World Review Jan. 6, 2002 / 20 Teves, 5762

James Lileks

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Consumer Reports

The second year of
this jangled millennium -- 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 ten years."

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 bin."

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2002, James Lileks