Don't Panic! December 05 2001
Terror tips for the terrified
Where is Osama bin Laden hiding?
The U.S. State Department is offering a $25-million reward for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden. If this column helps you find him, you'd better share the reward money with me or else I'm gonna go all Operation Enduring Whoop-Ass on you.
The most popular theory is that bin Laden is hiding in one of Afghanistan's many caves. According to Vice President Dick Cheney — who knows a thing or two about hiding — bin Laden is holed up in the Tora Bora area of the White Mountains in Afghanistan near the city of Jalalabad and the Pakistani border.
So why don't we just go there and get him?
Well, apparently bin Laden has a small, fierce, loyal army with him at Tora Bora ready to wage Wora Wora on anyone coming near the Dora Dora. It's been said that the Arab and Chechen al-Qaeda troops believed to be with bin Laden are ready to fight to the death rather than surrender.
In addition, Fort Jackass is protected by dense forest, concealed, tunnel-like entrances, anti-aircraft weapons and a prominent "Beware of Dog" sign. Its occupants also are under strict instructions to say, "Sorry, wrong number" if anyone telephones asking for bin Laden.
If we find the cave where we think bin Laden is hiding, we'll probably try to flush him out with fire, bombs or chemicals rather than send troops in. I'm no military tactician, but since bin Laden and Co. claim to be such devout Muslims, I think we could draw them out by dropping ham into the caves through the air vents. Weapons-grade ham, of course.
The most annoying thing about all this is that we don't know with any certainty where bin Laden is. Tora Bora is a just a hop, skip and a donkey ride from Pakistan. He could try to escape there. Adding another wrinkle to the search, the Northern Alliance Foreign Minister said late last week that bin Laden was hiding with Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Kandahar.
There also are reports that bin Laden has several look-alikes parading around Afghanistan as decoys. And with 1,000 or so U.S. Marines now based in Afghanistan, being a bin Laden decoy might just be the most thankless job on Earth.
Coming next week: Where the hell is Dick Cheney? E-mail your war questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.??