January 2008: Bells tolled across the continent of Africa in honor of ailing Vice President Richard Cheney, the former Haliburton executive who channeled that company's expertise into building his "Infrastructure for Africa" project. Nelson Mandela held Mr. Cheney's hand and dabbed at tears as he told his new friend the new Pan African superhighway will be named in Cheney's honor.
The ailing vice-president insisted on being carried in a litter to the worksite of one of the thousands of wells Haliburton is digging across the poorest continent, each one an hour's walk away from the next. He could hear some of the 2,788 American Conservation Corps volunteers as they planted rows of genetically modified shade trees along the roadway and worked compost into the arid land. "Imagine a world in which these 3,000 young Americans died in some war instead of blessing the earth. Instead of trillions for war, you invest billions for peace," Mr. Mandela told him, "The world was blessed to have you."
In Iraq, the almost bloodless coup against Saddam Hussein and his sons orchestrated by White House staffer Paul Bremer continues into its second year without major violence. The Iraqui parliment sends word of "a second Runnymeade". Iraqui generals, kept in place following the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, kidnapped the Iraqui high command and held them incommunicado on an island in the marsh district of Southern Iraq until a transfer of power and plea bargain was arranged for atrocities committed during the Hussein regime. "No one can predict the unintended consequences of war," President Bush commented. "There are so many things that could have gone wrong."
Here at home, the president continues to dismantle the so-called "War on Drugs" as a "failed policy" that "did more harm than good." The president has spoken from the "bully pulpit" of his struggles with substance abuse "to fill the emptiness inside." He and his daughters continue their surprise visits to small town AA meetings and treatment centers.
An unnamed source in the French government confirmed rumors that the French have nominated President Bush for the Nobel Peace Prize, "in light of his just anger tempered with precise restraint following the atrocities of September 11th". They point out that the president resisted using military overkill in response to the attacks, and instead used law enforcement techniques backed by rapid response military teams in the hunt and capture of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts. "Like ze cowboy hero!" Parisians enthused, waving American flags at a memorial benefit for American victims of the attacks. "He shoot straight and risk everything to protect the innocent, les enfants. Le mot juste, le coup precise et juste!"
New Orleans continues to rebuild under the guidance of the president's "brain trust" of engineers and civic planners from the Netherlands. A series of sea gates and barrier islands will eventually protect the Crescent City in ways tested and proved over hundreds of years along the Zuider Zee.
In Afghanistan, NATO troops move in cordons through the mountains along the Pakistani/Afghan border, with infantrymen and cavalry forming a forward line of defense against Taliban incursions, while engineers rebuild each village's infrastructure "behind the line". "Our goal is to build the necessities for a society with no place for al-Qaeda and the Taliban." Most of al-Qaeda's fighters have reportedly filtered back to Saudi Arabia, while their declared enemy, the Saudi royal family, appears to be instituting a panicky series of reforms, including a promise of investment "to make Palestine bloom like Israel" and redistribute the wealth from oil revenues "along Islamic lines".
In Sports, the Dodgers announce plans to return to Brooklyn, while the Designated Hitter was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.