OK, then...when do we lose Washington DC?

Given that:

  1. 9/11 occured

  2. The little misadventure downtown today (a false alarm)

  3. We’re about to piss off every Islamic militant more than they were before

  4. It appears to be impossible to prevent terrorist groups from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction

  5. Washington DC is target number one

how long does everyone think it’ll be before there’s a major attack on Washington DC? The sort that cuts the heart out of the city and leaves more than 1000 dead.

I’ll reserve opinion for the moment.

But I put this in IMHO to let the speculation run wild.

What’ll it be? When? And what will the response be, both short term and long term?

I feel it will happen in my lifetime. I’m 35.

Although, it seems it will be the second time the world is horrified by something of this magnitude. Isreal would be the first victim of any terrorist based nuclear detonation.

Someone recently told me that it is depressing to think the most important people in Washington now are named:
Bush, Dick and Colon.

My personal guess is that after the next election, when I hope George Jr. is sent back to the ranch, cooler heads will prevail and the entire world will concentrate more on random acts of terrorism by fanatics. At that point, I think it will be more possible to ward off major terrorist attacks - using global cooperation.

In the meantime, I wouldn’t be comfortable living in DC - but I don’t really think it is any more of a target than any other major US or European city.

I predict about two hours into the Chance Chili Cookoff.

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly was the little misadventure downtown?

There was a truck on a bridge.

I was going to use a morbid WAG of within a year. But the thought is so dreadful. Of course, I hope never.

We had two ‘suspicious’ packages. One near the 14th street bridge and one near the Eastern Market Metro station. The bridge was shut down and anyone approaching the Pentagon ended up being searched. Snarled up traffic for hours.


<yawn> Package, shmackage. We had a hand grenade at one airport and a grenade launcher at the other this week. Call us when you have a real threat.

AcidKid: :smiley:

I don’t know if Washington CD is more of a target than any other American city, but I think its definitely more of a target than a European one! A lot of Europe is not really supporting the US right now, and, it seems to me at least, the US is pissing people off (internationally) with their insitence on attacking Iraq. A lot of terrorists seem to be specifically anti-American - although they have problems with other countries, it is the US that is the centre of their anger.

As for the OP - IMO, A couple of years, at best, will see a serious attempt at something on the scale of WTC, if not a success. Whether in Washington or not, I don’t know.

One of my coworkers is so concerned, she’s trying to talk her family out of a vacation to DC.

I told her not to worry, but take the whole family. That way if something DOES happen, they’ll all go together and nobody will be left to feel guilty about letting the others go.

Oh, really? Is that why Britain arrested a half dozen people in regards to grenades and other desctructive toys at airports? How about that apartment-turned-ricin-factory in London? The Moscow theatre hostage crisis?

I’m pretty sure you meant “the idiots running the United States government right now are pissing people off with their insistence on attacking Iraq”, and not implying that the average American walking the street thinks this is a good idea, or is at all eager to start a war over anything. After all - Bush & Company will have the finest protection in the world. It’s the average citizen who will suffer and die in a terrorist attack, not the president, just as it’s someone else’s children who will die in urban fighting in Bagdad, not his kids. So, in the future, can you be just a little more specific as to whether you are assigning this war fever to the administration, or to the United States population at large? Yes, some of us are feeling a little raw around the edges these days and there are quite a few of us here in the States who would have no problem with considering alternatives to actual shooting.

Of course they’ll try to attack Washington again. Will they succeed? I don’t know. But it IS the capital and some of these guys seem to be determined to bring down a target even if it takes more than one try (The WTC in 1993 then again in 2001).

Just what in Washinton will they try to hit? Well, the White House and the Capitol are the big targets, but also arguably the best defended ones. I don’t think the loss of either would bring us to our knees (in fact, the White House was destroyed in 1812 and rebuilt). It WOULD make us really pissed off. The Pentagon, of course, and it makes a huge target, but it survived having a fully fueled jet smash into it, not sure what else you’d need to destroy it. Knock some walls down, kill people - I dunno, maybe that’s enough for these fanatics.

Those items aside - there’s lots of historically and culturally significant sites in and around DC. I mean, it would really hurt to have the Smithsonian attacked, as just one example. Or the Lincoln Memorial. Imagine if the Washington Monument was knocked down. Not to mention just the disruption and chaos you could cause in a decent-sized city, the people available to kill there, and any attack would disrupt the Federal government at least in the short term.

(I don’t, however, believe that some of these fanatics understand that on a day-to-day basis government operations in this country are decentralized. State and local governments would keep the lights on and the toilets flushing, and each state has its own police force and militia and can act independently if necessary. The United States would NOT come to a screeching, helpless halt if DC suffered a major disabling attack. You can’t knock out DC then expect to come ashore and have the population surrender. Ain’t gonna happen.)

More likely, since the most obvious targets have been “hardened”, they’ll attack somewhere else. Sure, they’ll keep trying DC or NYC, but Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and certainly Houston and Dallas (being in the shrub’s home state) should not become complacent. Dubuque, Iowa isn’t the sort of city NYC is, but if they can blow up a chunk of a city in the center of the continental US… well, it’s harder to get to, as opposed to sneaking in New York via a rubber raft from an offshore vessel.

In short, if we defend the biggest cities and DC really well, they’ll move elsewhere. We can not defend everything all the time. To some extent, we just have to deal with the risk of being alive in this world.

My appologies, Broomstick. I did not mean to offend.

Of course I meant “the idiots running the United States government right now are pissing people off with their insistence on attacking Iraq”, I have no illusions that the average american agrees with this. Unfortunately, though, it is the politicians point-of-view that most of the world sees on a day-to-day basis, and a lot of that is the President, saying “Lets go to war, no matter what”(well, ok, thats an exaggeration, but it is a bit of the feeling I get from it). I read these boards almost every day, and I have a sense of what the "Average American"thinks, assuming that this board is a good representative population, which I think it is. I also get a sense of what non-Americans think (including myself and my friends and family), and that seems mostly negative towards the US and its government regarding Iraq. Sadly, the American people seem to feel the same way, and its government isn;t listening. I don’t think the same couldn’t happen here (I am pretty sure Chretien couldn;t care less about what I think), but right now the United States is centre stage.

Oh, and about London, and other targets - its no secret that England is in support of the United States, and as such, on the “world stage”, they are one and the same. London is an easier target (distance-wise) than is Washington DC, or any other American city. With freer travel across Europe, I suppose England could be attacked just as likely. When I discounted other “European cities”, I was thinking about Paris, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Moscow, etc. I am admitting right now that I am not following all the details of every country’s stance on this, but from the little I know, these seem to be unlikely targets right now, especially in comparison to the US and England.

I am getting the sense that I might anger you or someone else more if I continue, and I will be away for a couple of days, so I won’t be able to respond immediately to any misunderstandings. Once again, I apologise if I have offended anyone - that was not my intent and I hope I have explained my point of view adequately.

:sigh: I should know better than to get into a political discussion lilke this - I never know how to say things properly and I either sound mean or stupid.

My Wag, I do not think we will ever lose DC. I personally don’t think it is impossible, but if terrorists had a nuclear device, capable of some sort of detonation with a mushroom cloud and the whole nine yards, I do believe it would have been detonated already.
A dirty bomb maybe? That will have few reprocussions with loss of life, it will mostly be a huge mess to clean up.
One thing I do think will stike terror into Americans eyes, would be if School busses across the nation started to be blown up, or some other such catastrophy on a mass scale. God forbid that happens, but that would be worse IMHO than a dirty bomb being detonated on the Washington monument steps…

I hope nothing happens to Washington. I wanna go to college there! :frowning:

I think any nukes the Arabs get will be used on Israel first.

trustno1, you are treading on fairly dangerous ground by stereotyping all Arabs like that. :dubious:

… just so long as they don’t take out the Air & Space Museum.

I don’t know about DC specifically - I’d bet that less than two years will pas before a nuke or bio incident somewhere in or near the district.

I’m a lot more worried about other scenarios though. I’m thinking of what others have mentioned here (exploding school busses - - - shudder) in the way of smaller scale, but widespread incidents.

All in all, however, I’m 10,000% more worried about the continual loss of my civil rights in the name of security in these United States of ours. I’m a lot more concerned about fighting the efforts of Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Ridge than I am worrying about the actions of Mr. Bin Laden and his ilk.

I don’t think it perpetuates a stereotype to speculate that an Arabic A-bomb would be used on Israel…they have been attacked rather regularly by Arabs from the moment the country was founded, after all. :frowning: