What if the kid’s a spy? OK he doesn’t seem to be all that diabolical, but
Johnny “soon-to-be-on-Oprah” Walker could be a secret agent. Remember the movie “War Games?” Maybe the kid’s in over his head. Try this: Walker has an affinity (or maybe an obsession) with Islam and volunteers to infiltrate the Taliban. (It’s much more exciting than playing paintball on weekends.) He studies with a Holy Man. (He needs to learn how to blend in.) He leaves the Holy Man in a hurry. (The CIA dispatches him.) He’s filthy. (Al Jolson ring a bell?) He doesn’t give a whole lot of info when captured. (Winks and nods to the military until he gets his handler notified.) No treason charges? Hmmmm.

I come by this conspiracy-theory talent honestly. My uncle is Markus Wolf, the old Cold Warrior enemy of the United States. He was The Man Without a Face, Le Carre’s model for Karla, who brought down Willie Brandt’s government while he was head of foreign intelligence for the former East Germany. When his spies were getting arrested in the west he had no idea why. So he read the western press and found out exactly how they were being noticed. And then he changed that! (His spies were observed doing excessive window-shopping. In the eyes of the capitalist west, that was grounds for suspicion. They never buy things… they must be communists… and they were.)

So what IF Walker is a spy? Let him give us the intelligence he was able to gather. And if he’s not? Well hell. Let’s get our special-ops into the Middle East pretending to be spiritually lost gen y’ers and we can HAVE some American Intelligence in the Arab World. Don’t you wonder about the scenarios of infiltrating Al Qaeda? Hamas? The PLO? It’s nearly impossible. So why not young American boys? Wouldn’t they be more trustworthy to us than Northern Alliance and Taliban types who seem to switch sides at every corner? Are we going to set up a “government” of Afghan and Taliban elitists who have flip-flopped more than once? You bet. So why not let Walker come home, treat him like we would treat all other busted secret agents and hope that he was a spy. We’ll never know the truth about him. I want my story to be true. Don’t you? Because it gives me hope that we can actually infiltrate these strange-to-us cultures and eliminate terrorism. Can’t we have democracy, a free press, all our civil liberties in tact AND some silence? Walter Cronkite recently said we should videotape everything but keep it under lock and key for a year. What? Not see every video, know every detail, hear every “expert” spouting minutia 24/7 RIGHT AWAY? Unheard of. Un-American. But he might be right. These19 terrorists who killed our innocents, were what they call in the spy trade, sleepers. They have infinite patience. Why can’t we? When we saw Bin Laden’s first tape, CNN featured a geologist who new exactly where the cave was. The next Bin Laden video message had a giant map behind him. The latest one has a burlap sack in back. No more caves. No more clues! So please. Can ‘t we just SHUT UP for a minute, be patient and win this thing before we spin this thing?

Part of me was glued to Bin Laden’s latest videotape. But part of me wishes we had shoved it deep into John Ashcroft’s desk drawer until Walter Cronkite said we could all stay home on a Friday night, order pizza and watch it together. Anchovies ok? I can hardly wait to see how this thing ends!