The arrival of Ramadan two weeks ago did see a cutback in American bombing, but this magnanimity was due more to the success of the Northern Alliance than to any American deference to Muslim sensitivities. But now there has been a new call for a pause in the war, this time from the International Olympic Committee.
Though not many might remember it, the last time a superpower waged war in Afghanistan, it resulted in a boycott of the Olympic Games in protest. The protest was led by the U.S., and the games in question were Moscow in 1980.
The Russians argued that in their war, they were simply trying to defend a friendly regime in Kabul against militant Islamic terrorists. Sound familiar? But since one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter (just ask Ronald Reagan), the United States supplied and armed the mujahedeen, including Osama bin Laden, who eventually took power, then fought among themselves.
Now we're trying to throw out the dominant faction of that former ad hoc alliance and hoping the Stinger missiles we passed out in the '80s don't come round to shoot us in the butt.
Anyway, now the IOC, those moral purists, are seeking a cessation of hostilities during the upcoming winter games in Salt Lake City. Their request doesn't seem to be going anywhere; perhaps they should stick to their time-honored tactic of bribery.
The IOC believes a pause in the fighting would be in the Olympic spirit. They point out the ancient Greeks stopped their wars during the Olympics. (They also required all participants to compete in the nude; imagine that on NBC!)
How's this for a compromise: Scrap the games in Salt Lake City, move them to Kabul, continue the war and include terrorist-style events in the games themselves. That way everybody can participate.
Think of the new and exciting individual and team events.
· The Solo Suicide Bomb Blast: Competitors try to kill the most spectators with their own choice of method and venue. Judging based on originality, efficiency, artistic and political interpretation and degree of difficulty.
· The Two-Man Truck Bomb Relay: Similar to the Solo Suicide, but restricted to the use of trucks and not requiring self destruction. Unfortunately for the United States, we recently executed our best potential medalist.
· The Downhill Rhetoric Slalom: Competing representatives race from one media outlet to another, ratcheting up their aggression until violence is inevitable. With such a strong field of competitors, the medals are up for grabs in this one.
· The Team Mutual Assassination Event: Competing teams simply try to kill each other.
· The Jet Plane Steeplechase: Riding on commercial jets, numerous teams from competing nations must take control, maneuver and crash their jets into a variety of differently valued targets, ranging from monuments, on the low end of the scoring scale, to office towers or even the Olympic Stadium for a bull's-eye! All must be done while dodging a series of obstacles, including airport security, pushy flight attendants, sky marshals, defiant passengers, anti-aircraft artillery and F-16s. Unfortunately, in this event the host country does not necessarily enjoy a home-field advantage.
Not only would these events be a big hit with the television audience (especially if we can include that bit about competing naked), they would also more accurately reflect the international spirit of competition we see in our world today.
Of course, there will be those who fear the prospect of witnessing death and destruction would cut down on Olympic attendance. But hey, it works for NASCAR.