Monday, October 08, 2001

Bush Deploys Strike Force 2000 to Afghanistan

President Bush sent a message to the ruling Taliban government of Afghanistan yesterday when he deployed approximately 75 members of the Pittsburgh Panther Strike Force 2000 to the Middle East. Prompting the move was the Taliban's refusal to give up suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Bush saw the move as a way to complement ongoing air strikes.

“Last year's success of Panther Coach Walt Harris' football team leads me to believe that those gridiron warriors have the ability to tackle the Taliban. With victories over Kent State, Bowling Green, Rutgers, West Virginia, Boston College, Temple, and Penn State, the Panthers proved they were a force to be reckoned with, and I have no doubt that, once reassembled, this group can defeat any opponent. So as of midnight November 1, Strike Force 2000 has been sent to the Mediterranean Sea and is on standby, ready to attack at a moments notice,” Bush declared.

Panther Strike Force 2000 will most likely be led by former Panther quarterback John Turman. Turman threw bombs last season and had one of the highest efficiency rating of any play caller in the country.

“In the last forty-eight hours we've been debriefed on fighter plane usage,” Turman reported. “Considering the skill and accuracy I have shown at throwing 34 oz. footballs, there is no reason why we won't experience similar success with 200 lb. bombs.”

Strike Force General Walt Harris has said that while early speculation has Turman at the helm, he has not ruled out the two current Panther Quarterbacks Rod Rutherford or David Preistley to lead fighter planes when Bush calls on the force.

“Obviously, Turman has got experience on his side as he led us to victory against Penn State. But you can't count out Priestley or Rutherford. While Rod has more of a ground game, we're still letting him handle the reigns of F-18 fighter planes. He's a natural at avoiding enemy fire and is probably our most skilled pilot in a dog fight,” Harris declared. While there is controversy about who will lead the team in the air, there is better certainty about the ground game. Former Panther and current San Francisco 49ers running back Kevan Barlow is a lock for tank general as he has been barreling over defenders all year long in the NFL. Last year's back-up Nick Goings is also expected to see action.

On defense, Strike Force is hoping to continue last year’s dominance. Two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Week Bryan Knight is being sent to combat the mountainous Afghani terrain and sack Bin Laden in his cavernous protective pocket.

“This is probably the most difficult assignment of my career,” Knight admitted. “I had my hands full with Penn State's line last year where the average weight was 310 lbs. Now I've got to combat approximately 44 tanks whose average weight is 4.8 tons. While this will be a challenge, I know if I just keep up with my scouting reports and work on my foot work, I'll be able to get behind enemy lines.”

In addition to Knight's defensive prowess, Strike Force will have the defensive security of free safety Ramon Walker, who will be guiding Panther missile defense systems.

“This is perhaps America's most balanced war team since LBJ deployed the Green Bay Packers to Vietnam in 1968,” Bush boasted. “Strike Force has all aspects of battle covered, and I know 1997 Big East Coach of the Year Walt Harris will have this team ready for war. These 75 men are truly American Heroes.”

While Bush is confident in the Force’s ability, college football commentator Craig James is not so sure.

“There is no doubt that this team had its successes last year, but traditionally Pitt has not been successful on the road. You're talking about a team that has not won in the Carrier Dome in the last eight years. If the Panthers can't destroy Syracuse's 12 man front 430 miles away, how are they going to be successful against the Taliban's 10,000 man front 74,000 miles away?” James argued.

Regardless of criticism, Strike Force will be deployed to the Middle East and will be ready to “strike” at a moments notice.

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