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Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2002 / 7 Tishrei, 5763

David Silverberg

David Silverberg
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Dispatches from the future: Sept. 11, 2003 | Two dispatches from next year's Sept. 11 anniversary landed on our desk this week. We can't determine which one is accurate so we present them both.

SEPT. 11, 2003, NEW YORK Scientists believe they have now located the epicenter of the nuclear explosion that destroyed this city last week. It was believed to be somewhere around mid-town Manhattan.

Federal officials now estimate that the nuclear device that immediately killed an estimated 200,000 people and injured an additional 2 million to 3 million was smuggled into the United States by a variety of means over the past year. It was then likely assembled on the site.

"We are convinced that Iraq provided this device to the terrorists and I intend to pursue the culprits to the source," vowed President Bush.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein denied any responsibility for the nuclear explosion and challenged the United States to find a link to Iraq. "Any effort by the United States to use this explosion as a pretext for attacking Iraq will be met by the firm resolve of the Iraqi people," he said.

Responsibility for the explosion was claimed last week by al Qaeda operatives in an interview on al Jazeera television. "This was in retaliation for the brutal and unprovoked American assault on Afghanistan in 2001," said the statement by an unidentified al Qaeda spokesman. "Our jihad against crusaders and Jews continues."

Speculation of a pending American nuclear strike against Baghdad mounted in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, but world opposition to such a strike mounted as well.

"The United States may be charging that it was Saddam Hussein who provided the nuclear device to al Qaeda, but until there is hard evidence, no military action is justified that could impact innocent Iraqis," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from Geneva.

SEPT. 11, 2003 BAGHDAD Iraqi President Ahmad Chalabi took the oath of office here today, vowing to bring "peace, stability and democracy to long-suffering Iraq."

Chalabi, speaking in the name of the broad coalition that took power in the aftermath of the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, said he would build a federated Iraq free of terror that provided autonomy to Kurds, Turkomans and both Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

"It's time that Iraq took its rightful place among nations, not as a rogue state bent on terrorizing its neighbors but as the enlightened scientific, economic and technological leader of the Arab World," he stated in his inaugural address.

The change of regime was widely hailed by American allies in the Middle East, most notably King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who said that it was long overdue and would finally bring stability to the region.

U.S. and British troops, accompanied by Turkish, Kurdish and Turkoman allies, continued mopping up actions in the Baghdad region.

Special operations forces and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons experts continued unearthing, dismantling and destroying vast quantities of NBC materials. "Saddam had enough here to destroy the region and its people several times over," said one inspector. "It went way beyond deterrence - he was clearly intending offensive actions."

U.S. pathologists continue to examine Saddam's body, found in his presidential palace. "We think he died the way terrorist Abu Nidal did," said one U.S. agent in Baghdad. "He committed suicide with three or four shots to the head and chest."

The U.S. Central Command yesterday brought the campaign to a conclusion with a dispatch sent to the White House: "Saddam Hussein has been destroyed."

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JWR contributor David Silverberg is managing editor of The Hill. Comment by clicking here.

08/11/02: 'Go ahead, make my day'
06/20/02: InfoTech: Lieberman leaps into high-tech
06/13/02: Pentagon Perspective: Getting ready for the big changes
05/23/02: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Intelligence
05/16/02: Crusaders and cannons vs. rockets
04/26/02: The future of civilization --- and those activists who seek to undermine it


© 2002, David Silverberg