If America was hit with a WMD?

My SO is Mr.Conspiracy in the flesh and he’s always telling me things about our world that sometimes I :rolleyes: too and sometimes I wonder if he’s onto something.

Tonight we were talking about the “terror alert” we hear about all the time these days and about what would really happen if America was hit with a WMD. He told me he read
this article by General Tommy Franks in which he states


Your thoughts?

I’m more afraid of

more than anything else. Using an attack to justify militarization will result in a helluva lot more terrorism - only it’ll be domestic.

If THAT happens, the terrorists win. It won’t be THEM who take away our freedom and independence, it will be kneejerk reactionaries who believe that we must militarize to protect ourselves. There is no basis for this case.

Will we be attacked again? Yes. With WMDs? Probably, at some point. Does that mean we need to militarize? No.

You might want to start with this old thread; it has some discussion from when this article (I’m pretty sure they refer to the same article) was first released.

Leaper, thanks for the link.

I have no doubt that the more attacks we suffer, the more freedoms and rights we will lose. It’s clear that the gov’t is getting away with, for now, holding US citizens without access to lawyers (Jose Padilla) only because of 9/11. When another attack comes, it ain’t gonna get better.

From Zagadka

You seem convinced that “We will be attcked again, probably with WMD’s?”

You then declared victory for the terrorists. But according to you, they won’t be responsible for taking away your freedom. It will be the “kneejerk reactionaries” who will be responsible.

I used a number of lozenge shaped boxes with arrows to represent your thoughts, but your reasoning and conclusions did not come together too well.

As you might be aware, mass murder could easily be achieved by using a number of nuclear weapons transported via ship containers, over a million come and go to the USA each year.

Perhaps you had better not read an article about speech by Iranian Official Hassan Abbasi, a [Revolutionary] Guards intelligence theoretician, who teaches at the Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Hussein University:


Unfortunately, there is probably no getting around the fact that some group or cult will, probably within our lifetime, commit mass murder on an enormous scale to further what they believe to be their cause.

I suspect this will happen within 10 years, no matter what policy is followed by the western so-called democracies.

If that happens I will thank God for being born in my country: Weak, small (at least in population), and, the most important thing, far, far away from Europe, North America, and Asia… who knows perhaps we’ll survive.

Lots of people are more worried about “losing our freedoms and rights” than they are about surviving the attacks that are likely to kill them. If you are dead, what good does it do you to know that you still have all your freedom?

The basic assumption has been that all rights are absolute, and if one Jose Padillla is abused, than all Americans are in danger.(wasn’t it JKF who said “if one man is not free, than no man is free.”) JKF was right, of course, but ONLY because he was living in a rational world where there was no danger that one man could destroy western civilization.

In “the good old days” of the Cuban missile crisis, there was real danger–but it was controllable. Today, we have to face a new reality.
Since Sept 11, we have to face the fact that one man (or 19 men) each with a vial of bugs or a dirty bomb can destroy a capital city, and with it the economy that keeps a country functioning and our freedoms protected.

So how can we cope, and keep both our liberty and our Western values? I suggest we re-define our “absolute” rights:Individual freedom is vital, but society’s needs come first.Some individuals are going to suffer unfairly, for the good of the whole . This is a radical (and dangerous) break with 200 years of democracy.

Perhaps the only example that we have is in the world of top-secret espionage.We have always been willing to accept that the CIA has its own rules.(think of typical spy novels)Spies use secret listening devices without court permission, they kill enemy spies with secret exploding briefcases, and use secret interrogation methods, etc. Civil rights never applied to spies(at least in the novels). If you were an evil KGB agent, then you were likely to get blown up by the good CIA agent. We have always accepted this, because none of us average citizens ever felt threatened personally, and we trusted the CIA to keep our nuclear secrets safe from the evil Russians.

We can still maintain our American ideals,as long as the number of people who suffer like Jose Padilla is kept nearly as low as the number of KGB agents followed by the CIA–i.e low enough that the vast majority of citizens don’t feel threatened.
It’s a slippery slope, and it’s going to be a long, and very,very slow slide. The question is : can we trust the innate decency of American society to keep us from going the way of Nazi Germany.
Personally, I think we can,as we have in the past.When faced with massive social upheaval during the Depression, we elected FDR–we didn’t declare martial law. So if we have to face massive social upheaval after the destruction of Wall Street, (say, a dirty bomb)–we will face another test, and can survive it.

Unfortunately, that same CIA tried to assasinate Castro, who was pissed enough to plop USSR nukes in his country.

Then they propped up Contra, who became one of the leading drug traffickers.

Nah, we need a better way.

Any individual who suffers wrongly in the nameof injustice, we all suffer.

No one said all rights are absolute. Most of them are relative. The issue here is the degree of the violation. You are suspected of being a traitor, you are arrested, you go to trial and then you go free or to prision. Beating the hell out of you is an abuse.-

They weren’t good days, and you are citing the worst days of all: The world at the brink of nuclear war. The destruction of a capital city pales in comparison.-

You are saying nothing new there. Hegel and Marx said it, Hitler and Stalin applied it, we know the results. The only thing that you got wrong is that the “break” (that you propose) isn’t radical, it happened in all democracies to a greater or lesser degree. It’s dangerous though.-

First of all, most of those examples happen only in the movies. Secondly I can accept that the KGB guys are the bad guys, but that the cia is the good guy? Give me a break. Finally I don’t accept different rules fo security organazations, all the contrary, as they have the monopoly of force, they should be held at a greater accountability.-

Brave words. I hope you remain as valiant when your love ones are “dissapeared” for the safety of us all.

Actually, since 1977 or thereabouts I’ve been anticipating the day when some terrorist organization (the one I initially visualized was a domestic terrorist group akin to the Symbionese Liberation Army) sets off a nuclear weapon in New York, London, or Paris, and then the contest between freedom and security would be on for once and for all.

By and large I think we had a reprieve for no particularly obvious reason except sheer luck, followed by a low-level terrorist event (9/11) when it did occur. And so far, although there was the expected & anticipated rush to security and loss of freedoms, there has been a responsive groundswell of sentiment on behalf of freedom.

Ultimately I’d rather live free up until the day they target my block or my building, rather than be protected from terrorism by a government that pokes its inquisitive nose deeper and deeper into my business to make sure I’m not a terrorist myself, and which, if it decides I might be, whisks me off somewhere without a trial and subjects me to intensive and unpleasant interrogation techniques.

Nor need the decision be so stark. There are things that can be done on earth to mitigate the likelihood of terrorism, although those aren’t the things we’re doing right now.

The US was hit by a WMD. Four of them to be exact. Three hit their intended targets, one was prevented from reaching it’s intended target, but did still manage to cause civilian casualties. Some 3,500 people died that day. Oh, you mean a WMD like we see in the movies all the time?

I really can’t see our reaction being all that much different than it was on 9/11 all the time. There’d be a bit of a panic, the US would announce who they felt was responsible, where they thought they were, and state that they were going to proceed to bomb the crap out of them using whatever weapons happened to be handy. The rest of the world might or might not panic at this, depending upon what type of WMD was used against the US. If the US got nuked, well, then, tain’t nobody gonna say nuthin’. Seriously. At that point, everyone in the world is going to say, “Dear God, they’ve really pissed the Yanks off this time, I just hope we’re nowhere near their target.” That’s it. Meanwhile, whomever’s in charge of the US at that point is only going to use a nuke if they’re absolutely certain, (and I mean, “Here’s a satellite image of Osama reading a newspaper in downtown [insert villiage name here] taken ten minutes ago.” certain, not “We’re fairly sure, but not 100% positive that Iraq might have something they’re not supposed to have.” certain) they know where the guilty party is. Otherwise, they’ll proceed to bomb the crap out of whomever using conventional weapons while blathering on about how we’ve got nukes and we know how to use 'em (and calling various world leaders whom we trust and telling 'em that there’s no way we’re going to use nukes).

Domestically? Yeah, they’ll be some abuses to civil rights and erodings of our basic freedoms for a time, but unless someone manages to pull off multiple detonations of high yield weapons simultainously, you’re not going to see the widespread imposition of marshal law (though that could happen in a biological attack, since it would be necessary to help contain the outbreak of whatever), but we 'Merkins are nothing if not fat and lazy, and if those measures are still imposed on us after we’ve smashed all obvious signs of the attackers organization, then we’ll start bitching and moaning loudly for their repeal. Already some members of Congress are urging the repeal of the Patriot Act, that might gather strength if the US were attacked again, since it didn’t do anything to protect us.

Yes tuckerfan we mean like the WMD that we see in the movies all the time. Like, for example, the big alien ray gun (from independence day) that blew up all important cities, or the Death Star, or a Romulan warbird, or the bomb that oblitarated Nagasaki and Hiroshima.-

Wow! And here, all this time I thought that they needed two bombs to hit Nagasaki and Hiroshima. And since those cities were obliterated, that means no one there survived and that there’s nothing left of those cities today, right?

I’m sure folks in Bali used to think the very same thing.

When I said “the bomb” I meant the genre (atomic bombs) and not the quantity. Perhaps I exagerated with the use of the word obliterated, URL=http://www.gensuikin.org/english/photo.html]you decide

Why does it have to be a WMD? For the show? Tim McViegh and Terry Nichols killed a bunch of people in one quick blow, but they weren’t Muslim extremists and it was just fertilizer, so I guess that doesn’t count. There weren’t a lot of people or much planning involved with that incident either, but they only killed 168 people so I guess that doesn’t count. By the way I saw a flatbed with a half ton of ammonium nitrate outside of the Piggly Wiggly a few weeks ago.

I was riding through a small town nearby the other day and happened to ride by two well heads. It occured to me that they were both fairly isolated and a couple of jackasses could easily pop the pump off of one of them and dump a couple of 55 gallon drums of any industrial chemical or pesticide in one of them with little effort. Mayhem would ensue.

Terorism does not take a lot of effort, just a little creativity. It’s chep and easy and almost cannot be defended against. Also, Muslim extremists do not have the market cornered on it.

To the extent that so much of Islam (and extremism) appears to be tied to holy cities, what happens if the U.S. response (I understand this would almost certainly never happen, it’s a hypothetical) is to drop a nuke on Mecca, Medina, Qom, etc.?

If you hit Mecca (or anyother city) with a nuke, you’ll be considered as barbarian as the Taliban, you will loose all moral justification and I will sent a big check to Al-qaeda so that they can send you all to hell.-
Of course, you will never drop a nuke on an innocent city.

Of course we would. We’re a nation of Christian fundamentalists, remember; no better than the Muslim fundamentalists we are fighting.