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Published on Friday, November 9, 2001
Sunday Night Warfare, or Where is Howard Cosell When We Really Need Him?
by Dennis Hans
 
Editor’s note: Fall is a particularly busy time for sports fans, what with the NHL and NBA underway, college and pro football in full sway, and the baseball season coming to a climax. As a service to those fans unaware there’s a war going on, the cast of Monday Night Football has graciously consented to go back in time to Sunday, October 7, and set the stage for an Afghan war about to kick off.

(Cue theme song by Hank Williams, Jr.)

Are you ready for some warfare???!!!!
It’s the Afghans and the Cowboys
Here on Sunday Night
All my rowdy friends are comin’ over tonight

Al Michaels: Hello from Kabul and welcome to Sunday Night Warfare. We think we’ve got a good one for you tonight, with the Afghan Taliban playing host to the Washington Cowboys. Dan Fouts, this looks like a classic matchup of a high-powered offense and a proud, pesky defense that bends but doesn’t break.

Fouts: That’s right, Al. The Cowboys feature a relentless air attack. In recent wars they’ve dominated Western Conference also-rans Grenada and Panama and won big on the road in Iraq and Serbia. But if the Cowboys come in over-confident, they could be in for a rude awakening.

Michaels: Everyone agrees the Afghans have the greatest home-field advantage in the Eastern Conference. Sparked by their vociferous fans, they upset the Soviet Union’s mighty Red Army in the 1980s. Dennis Miller, it looks like they’ll need all that and more in this war.

Miller: What?

Michaels: The Afghans have their hands full.

Miller: Sorry, Al. I never thought I’d say this, but I was actually distracted by the Taliban cheerleaders. The Mummy flashes more flesh than those gals.

Michaels: Let’s go down to the ground and Melissa Starks, who thinks there’s a lot more to this war than offense and defense.

Starks: That’s right, Al. This one could be decided by special teams, which would suit the Cowboys just fine. The Army Rangers and Navy Seals believe they can fence in and gang tackle Osama bin Laden, the world’s most elusive, indiscriminate and evil terrorist.

Michaels: Eric Dickerson, trace for us the trail that led bin Laden to Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Dickerson: Al, our friends in Saudi intelligence recruited Osama in 1980 to fight the Red Army in Afghanistan, where he blossomed into a perennial all-pro. After the war he settled in Sudan, where he plotted a world-wide war against the Infidels. In 1996 he was acquired by the Taliban for draft picks and a pharmaceutical plant to be bombed later.

Michaels: Thanks, Eric. Tonight’s aerial shots are courtesy of the Bud One Airship. Budweiser: the official beer of the World Warfare League.

Miller: Call me sentimental, but the sight of Old Glory hovering high in the sky brings a tear to my eye.

Michaels: Actually, Dennis, “Old Glory” is the nickname not for Bud’s blimp but our flag.

Miller: I stand corrected, babe.

Michaels: No portion of tonight’s battle may be rebroadcast without the expressed written permission of ABC and the WWL. Dan, last week the Cowboys picked up the Northern Alliance off the waiver wire. Who are these guys?

Fouts: The rag-tag remnants of the warlords and warriors who whipped the Soviets, then celebrated their victory for the next several years by shelling, raping, pillaging and murdering on a grand scale.

Michaels: Ouch.

Miller: Hey, babe, don’t put down my pillagers.

Fouts: In 1996 the Taliban swept in from Pakistan, swept out the warlords and imposed order -- a rather oppressive order, especially for women and girls.

Michaels: And what role will Northern Alliance fighters play in the current war?

Fouts: Even though they won’t be wearing Cowboy uniforms, they’ll function as Washington’s offensive line. If they open gaping holes in the Taliban’s ground defense, this war could be over early. At that point, the Cowboys would turn Afghanistan over to the exiled king, other Pashtun notables and “moderate” elements of the Northern Alliance.

Miller: Pillage time!

Michaels: Dennis, what do you make of the Cowboys rookie coach?

Miller: Talk about your baptism of fire. Georgie Boy hasn’t been battle-tested since he led the Midland Oilers to the Texas Little League title in ’78.

Michaels: I know you’re not sold on his humanitarian food drops.

Miller: Who appointed Betty Crocker commander-in-chief? Call me old school, but I subscribe to the Al Davis philosophy: “Just win, baby.”

Michaels: Al Davis wouldn’t worry about collateral damage.

Miller: Hey, even Betty Crocker knows you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Fouts: Who better than a chickenhawk like Dennis to hatch the egg analogy?

Michaels: The stage is set and the warriors are ready. We’ll be back with the opening bomb after this word from our sponsor:

Long-distance call to Mullah Omar to negotiate the transfer of bin Laden to the courts of Norway or some other neutral nation: eight dollars.

Indispensable international police work to shut down terrorist cells: three billion dollars.

Short-sighted war built on alliances with and concessions to repressive governments and murderous groups to help us capture or kill terrorists: 72 billion dollars.

The lives of innocent civilians, regardless of nationality, in a world more perfect than our own: priceless.

For everything else there’s MasterCard.

The End

Dennis Hans (HANS_D@popmail.firn.edu) is a freelance writer whose essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Post (Canada) and online at TomPaine.com, Slate and The Black World Today (tbwt.com), among other outlets. He has taught courses in mass communications and American foreign policy at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg.

©2001 by Dennis Hans

###

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