The state of TIAH
September 11th, 2006
Alternate Historian's Note: We've been through this twice before – we mean no disrespect. The function of alternate history is to examine important events through the prism of what might have been, and the events of this day could have been very different if different actions were taken, or different people had taken them. The purpose of our writing about this particular event is to both entertain you and to make you think. Please keep that in mind as you read on.
in 2001, the Air Force scrambles fighters into the air after the Federal Aviation Administration lets them know that 4 and possibly 5 planes have been hijacked simultaneously. When it becomes obvious that one of the planes is headed to New York City and not on a landing pattern, the two pilots trailing it are given the order to take it down. One of the pilots, Major Arnold Krugman, uses his plane as a flying barrier to force the airliner over the water, where his partner is able to shoot it down with an air-to-air missile. The two pilots barely have time to catch their breath from this encounter before they are forced to do the same to another plane that was following the first. Pilots following the other hijacked planes also shoot down their targets over Pennsylvania and Washington before they can reach civilian targets. As a nervous America comes to grip with how narrowly they avoided the most devastating attack on the US since Pearl Harbor, the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden of Al-Qaeda takes credit for the plan, and challenges America with the threat of more attacks in the works. President Al Gore, hailing the heroic pilots who brought down the airliners and mourning the passengers on board those planes, says, “America will never allow little men who imagine themselves to be strong to dictate how we live our lives. This bin Laden may think that he can make our country quake with fear because he can delude people into giving their lives up for his cause, but the United States will soon show him that no one attacks us and survives.” As he was giving this speech, soldiers from the Army's Special Forces were infiltrating the camp in Afghanistan where bin Laden was hiding. After a brief gun battle, they were successfully retracted from the country with all their targets eliminated. President Gore, speaking on national television a few days later, announced simply that, “We got him.” Headlines the next day spoke of nothing else, and Gore's popularity, somewhat tattered after the election difficulties of the previous year, rocketed into the 90 percentile range. Even Republicans acknowledged Gore's masterful handling of the situation; one of them, Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, went so far as to leave his party and caucus with the Democrats, giving them a majority in the Senate. Elections the next year gave President Gore's party control of the House, as well, and the Democrats hailed the restoration of their power after 8 years in the minority with a promise of fairness and bipartisanship. With the Republicans chastened by their electoral defeat, America faced the future united more than it had been since World War II.
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