Mullah Meets Megaton


Maybe they're cavemen. Maybe they like hiding below grade because it's easier to look up women's burkhas that way. One thing is for certain: The first thing Osama bin Lady and Saddam Insane started doing when they heard our B-1s buzzing overhead was drop to their knees, bury their noses in the sand, and stick their asses in the air like tunneling weasels.

If I've learned anything from the degenerate fantasies of Hollywood, it's this lesson from the movie Caddyshack: Strange is the man who's willing to chase vermin down a hole. No, instead of burrowing down after the two biggest bastards in 21st-century history, we dropped firecrackers on them from 30,000 feet. These little bangs may have caused their grandchildren to titter with glee. But our feeble explosives--the mightiest one in the arsenal is called a "daisy cutter"!--didn't penetrate Osama's fortress of limestone at Tora Bora. And our "bunker busters" didn't burst Saddam's 50 meters of reinforced concrete, either. So both of these maniacs remain alive, sucking the teats of mountain donkeys, faxing Al-Jazeera with calls for the end of Christendom.

It's been fun chasing these guys around on whirlybirds, playing video games with air drones, sending in the Special Forces on horseback. Really, we've all enjoyed it. But having thought the matter over for a little while, I guess I'm ready to kill these bastards dead. It's not a stretch to say that most of our men and women in uniform would be home this Thanksgiving eating candied yams if we'd gone after these monsters with the right weapon the first time: the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP). Used proactively around the world--in Afghanistan and in Iraq, in Tehran and Damascus, in Yasir Arafat's West Bank clubhouse and the basement rec room of the House of Saud--these nuclear devices can be the conversation stopper in our country's dialogue with Islamic extremism.

For those of you who spent your childhood in Barbie's Malibu Dream House and never launched a model rocket or stuffed an M-80 into a prairie-dog hole, here's how the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator works. The device can either be a guided, air-dropped bomb some three or four meters long, or a modified missile. Instead of kabooming several meters above the ground, the RNEP bores several meters into the earth. When the weapon expresses itself (as peacemongers might put it), the energy of the explosion (Quakers: read, the nuclear discussion) pulses downward, annihilating (rearranging) the pesky hideouts of America's enemies. The collateral benefit? The radiation remains safely underground, just like it does at Prairie Island. Within a day, walking through Baghdad's own ground zero would be about as dangerous as getting a dental x-ray. (For the record, I doubt a dental x-ray would help Saddam's mother separate his remains from the ashes of overcooked mutton.)


There's only one problem: The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator doesn't exist. And if Saddam sympathizers like Martin Sabo and Betty McCollum have their way, they never will. These co-chairs of the Committee to Reelect Osama bin Laden voted in July to deny our president's proposal to devote $23 million next year to the research and development of the RNEP and battlefield mini-nukes. (Perhaps, the Democrat party would prefer to allocate those funds to subsidizing self-esteem workshops for laid-off librarians, or adding tofu to school-lunch menus. Frankly, the liberal agenda is so kooky these days, I don't even know how they plan to squander our taxpayers' money.)

Thankfully, just last month, senators like Stormin' Norm Coleman voted to protect tactical nuclear weapons development in the Department of Energy budget. Perhaps if the Senate negotiating committee agrees to include solar paneling on the Washington Monument, the House will capitulate. After all, $23 million is a small price to pay for, like, eliminating the greatest war criminals in recent history from the face of the earth.

Though we missed our first chance to make a good impression, there's still time to introduce Iraq's bachelors of butchery to America's nuclear family. The sound of the first atomic weapon burrowing into an underground Parcheesi Palace in Tikrit will be the last we'll hear of remote-controlled antipersonnel attacks and nighttime ambushes. While the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator remains stalled on a blackboard in Los Alamos, we have another nuclear weapon poised to terrorize the terrorists. This equalizer is the B61-11, which has an explosive yield of .3 to 340 kilotons. (Hiroshima's Little Boy weighed in around 13 kilotons.)

Now, using a tactical nuclear weapon is a matter of grave moral consequence--that being another phrase for the kind of easy decision that has the consequence of putting a lot of immoral people in graves. Let me just say that we all think it was sporting to allow Saddam's boys to walk home from the battlefront and take up a productive career in pilfering everything that wasn't bolted onto the rolling tracks of an American M-1 tank. Colin Powell trained our generals well in the art of leaving the coliseum at halftime (he must have learned it studying military history at the Sorbonne.) But as every parent knows, there's a time and a place to scare a kid into soiling his shorts. And being that our president and his administration are seemingly the only adults left on the international stage, who wouldn't be happy to see the belt come out of the trouser loops?

This, I need not tell you, is a region of the world that's quite comfortable with stern punishment. So I'm going to suggest the nuclear equivalent of a couple of lashes--with each one weighing in around a kiloton. First Baghdad. Then Kandahar--or whatever rocky hillocks Osama is using to shield his bullocks. These strikes will be nothing like the terrible two-fer we were forced to unleash in Japan so many years ago. Instead, they'll be a natural extension of our conventional battlefield arsenal, with each strike so rigorously targeted that the neighbors across the street may not even wake up. Not wake up, that is, from their dreams of a peaceful, moderate homeland that embraces the United States as a rigid but loving father figure.

Tough love wouldn't be love if it weren't tough.


The Lyon has been silent for a few months now. Meanwhile, this free weekly--content-free, that is--has squandered perfectly good tree pulp. They've rolled out the welcome mat for our nation's uninvited houseguests; they've tried to beat our peace officers black and blue. (And these tree-humpers call themselves environmentalists! The "mental" part is true, at least.) I personally believe the paper's staff is angling for press office positions in the next Gus Hall campaign. Observing the writers here as they champion yet another futile five-year plan--all the while lighting a daily votive candle for Saint Wellstone--is a little like watching a Tom & Jerry sight gag. Tom keeps stepping on the front end of a rake and the pole end keeps jumping up to smack him in the face. For me and Jerry, at least, the joke continues to be hilarious.

You want to know what else is funny? What the editors here do with the e-mail broadsides you all have been firing at the sinking ship of these East German holdouts. Your intelligent notes of support for this column may not be turning up on the letters page, but, believe me, they're piling up in a big metal tray on the publisher's desk. Copy your proposals for where the next RNEP should drop to [email protected]. I'll be busy penning a condolence card from all of us to Mrs. bin Laden.