Let's think about that supervillain, Osama bin Laden.
The story goes that he's the leader of a group, Al Qaeda, which targeted the World Trade Center's Twin Towers on 9-11-01.
Osama was already wanted by the FBI, but his page has never been updated to include this, his supposedly biggest crime, because he's never been indicted.
The Defense Department claims that Osama said regarding WTC:
"I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for."
And in November, 2004, CNN reported that Osama said his goal was to bankrupt the United States:
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations."
What has Osama received for his efforts?
- He's unindicted for the crime he's most famous for;
- Beyond his wildest dreams, he sees three skyscrapers collapse due to his attacks, when his airliners only struck near the top of two of the buildings
- the U.S. plunged into not one, but TWO wars against Asian countries because their leaders were supposedly guilty by association with Al Qaeda (This reminds me of one of the great movie lines, from The Princess Bride: "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is, 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'"
- his name rhymes with the last name of the President of the United States, and in a tired moment can easily be confused with it. (Note: when this piece was originally published, I myself made this mistake, once referring to "Obama" when I meant "Osama.")
- he suckered U.S. politicians of both parties to strip us of basic liberties that have defined the culture of the English-speaking peoples for a thousand years
- and succeeded in effectively bankrupting the country - the U.S. is now faced with either a small recovery followed by unprecedented inflation followed by chaos, or a severe depression that has to get much worse before it gets better.
It is almost too incredible to believe, which is why some people do not believe it. They doubt whether Osama is really alive or whether he was really responsible for 9/11. They suspect the "real" Osama is a long-dead convenient scapegoat, or still continues to be a CIA asset.
I don't know the truth. But the information coming to us from mainstream and official sources cited above tell us that Osama is very lucky.
And, that he is succeeding in his goals.
In a recent interview posted at his website, investment writer Richard Maybury says,
New Axis is a term I coined in 1996, harkening back to the Axis in World War II. It refers to Washington's current enemies — the governments of Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, China, Sudan, Serbia and groups in Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan [e.g., Osama], and elsewhere.
"The important point for investors is that for Americans the war is a problem, but for the New Axis it's a solution. The New Axis is undoubtedly delighted to see the U.S. trapped in the Iraq and Afghan tar pits, and if Washington tries to withdraw, the New Axis will undoubtedly hit us again to sucker us back in."
It's a grim picture. We must also realize that these countries and groups are not unified with each other against the U.S. They won't conspire together to destroy the U.S., but they will work on their own, and sometimes silently cheer other's efforts, to diminish U.S. power and influence in their regions.
At the same time, Maybury's prediction puts us in a bind. The "Islamic extremists" Osama purportedly represents do not want to "kill us all" so much as to bankrupt our country to reduce U.S. power and influence in Moslem lands.
So what if we got out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of what Maybury calls "Chaostan?"
We might be hit with another terrorist attack, for the sole purpose of luring us back in!
But it is more than worth the risk. The U.S. economy wasn't destroyed by 9/11, but it was destroyed in large part by our response to 9/11. 9/11 was a terrible tragedy, and another such attack would also be a tragedy, but it would come at a lower cost in life and dollars than the several thousand dead and tens of thousands wounded in our wars.
If we refuse to police the world any longer, the savings in lives and treasure would be enormous. What would hurt most is the blow to national pride, but that can recover - just as it did after Vietnam. Maybury sums it up best:
"When the French empire ended in the 1960s, did France disappear? When the British empire died, did Britain die? In fact, both countries are much better places today, without their grossly expensive empires. America will be the same, but getting from here to there will continue being tumultuous for many years. Americans will adapt, with difficulty, just as the British and French did."
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.