Yesterday I heard my friend Jim Miklashevski of NBC News ask Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld if it was proper to attack retreating Taliban troops — troops which were not fighting, but running.

I know Mik, and I know he was trying to draw out of the secretary the answer that Rumsfeld did in fact give, which is … Hell yes it's proper. They haven't thrown down their guns. They haven't surrendered. They are running to regroup so they can continue fighting, and so it is right and proper for us to blow 'em to bits until they say 'enough' and surrender.

So count me in with the defense secretary, because we have to find bin Laden and we have to kill him and all his henchmen. I know I've said this before, but don't think the Pentagon reporters are so dumb. They're just trying to get the defense secretary to answer as bluntly as they know he is.

This brings up the issue of what to do when we arrive at the cave where we know bin Laden is hiding. Do we smoke him out? Put him on a helicopter? Fly him to New York for trial at the federal courthouse down the street from the World Trade Center? Or do we convene an immediate, secret military tribunal, convict him and execute him? Or do we drop 15 bunker busters down the pie hole of that cave and announce to the world that bin Laden is a casualty of war?

The answer, students, is number three. Bin Laden should be like all those other nameless, faceless Taliban killed by our bombing campaign … not like that poor bastard who was dragged out of his ditch by the Northern Alliance and shot. He is getting way too much sympathy in the world and at the New York Times, and we should not afford bin Laden the same.

By the way, is it a horrible thing that Northern Alliance soldiers are killing the Taliban? No. The Taliban were skinning people alive. If a few stragglers get shot while the Northern Alliance takes a city like Kabul, it is one of the world's smaller problems.

I know this sounds callous, but I remind you of September 11. Some 4,500 of our friends and neighbors committed the crime — in bin Laden's mind — of going to work in America. It was horrible, and it will remain horrible. So let's get on with this stuff in Afghanistan and get it over with.

That's My Word.

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