But consider the following episode occurring in a fictional land, not unlike our own:
The President's poll numbers are down. He's getting slammed in the media for everything from his cabinet appointees to the price of gasoline. Practically every word of his mouth is a complete and utter contradiction of a previous campaign promise. Even one of the most popular public figures in the media is able to force his hand on a fiasco surrounding his place of birth. A victory by the other side is all but assured in the next election (if they can just pick the right candidate and get one whiny ignoramus to shut her hole for ten minutes) in the wake of policy after failed policy, a skyrocketing mountain of debt, rampant unemployment, and a completely untenable illegal immigration problem.
What's the President to do? How can he get the American people behind him again? How can he capture the "hope" he promised to every living soul in this nation? And more importantly, how can he distract the citizens of this country from the real issues plaguing the nation?
How about he takes out the most vile, reprehensible mass murderer in modern American history?
A plan is hatched in the darkest, most secret corridors of the White House. The President will do in 24 hours what couldn't be done in the past ten years – the terrorist mastermind responsible for the most deadly attack on US soil will be captured or killed. Within a day, acting on "information" from the CIA and Military Intelligence, as well as a few clues from an unknown source known only as "The Courier," the compound where the terrorist has been hiding for seven years is located – in a fortified lair an hour's drive from the capital of an allied country. Then, an elite, covert strike team is "hand-picked," and sworn to the utmost secrecy – even from their own immediate commander. The invasion is planned, scrutinized, and given the green light within 24 hours of its inception. Shadowy black helicopters descend on the compound, and even though one of them crashes within yards of the target, no alarm is raised, no defensive fire is encountered, and no members of the strike team are even slightly injured. The target purportedly used a woman as a human shield, and yet he is swiftly dispatched by a single shot from one of the elite soldiers. Either the other denizens of the compound meet the same fate, or flee into the night.
Within the same 24-hour frame, the body of the world's most infamous terrorist is examined, transported to an aircraft carrier 1000 miles away from the strike zone, the DNA tested, (against what is never explained) and, once his identity is "confirmed," it is subsequently dumped into the sea according to a religious ritual that experts say is not only untraditional, but offensive as well. Not one shred of evidence remains to prove such an event even occurred – the "strike team" is, of course, sworn to the utmost in secrecy; no names or details of the operation can ever be released to the public in the name of National Security. The President immediately goes on the air and informs the public that the man responsible for 3000 American deaths, as well as holding the entire nation in a grip of fear and panic, is no more. A cheer is heard reverberating across the country. Citizens dance in the streets and exalt his name in chants and song.
But there are no pictures. No eyewitness accounts. No testimonies given by the combatants of either side. No video, no physical evidence, no declassified documents, and most importantly, no body. The body of the most feared, hated, and wanted terrorist of the modern age simply no longer exists.
There is not one shred of proof that this event even occurred, except the words of a President and his Administration desperate to hold onto their waning power.
Sleep soundly in your beds, America.
All is well. All is well.