It's April 4, 2003. The U.S. has precipitated an illegal, immoral war in the Middle East. Here's one vision of what may happen...


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The U.S. will find itself bogged down in a long, horrifying battle for Baghdad. World condemnation will mount by the day.

The Iraqis won't use chemical weapons. The U.S. will continue to assert that either there's no longer a central command to tell their forces to use such weapons, or field commanders are heroically defying orders. Virtually no one outside the U.S. will believe that.

Guerrilla war will continue throughout the rest of Iraq. The U.S. will accuse Iran and Syria of aiding the guerrillas. Iran and Syria, expressing fear of a U.S. attack on them, will mass armies on their borders.

While the U.S. is thus distracted, Islamists will seize the opportunity they've been waiting for to assassinate Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf (possibly on the same day). Afghanistan will slide further into chaos. Pakistan will be taken over by Islamists who enjoy wide popular support. Its new rulers will barely be able to keep straight faces when they "denounce" the Taliban and al-Qaida.

The governments of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan, perceived as U.S. allies, will be overthrown via military coups that clearly have the backing of the people. In both Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the authorities will smile benignly on demonstrations calling for Osama bin Laden to assume power. Orchestrated though the demonstrations may be, there will be no doubt that they reflect the popular will. Bin Laden won't risk surfacing, but there will be widespread speculation that he's calling the shots in both countries.

Israel's repression of the Palestinians will reach new extremes...and provoke a military response by a newly daring Jordan. Israel will strike back at Jordan, and other Arab states will join in the fray.

Four more years for George W. Bush, anyone?