August 2, 2005
The Sacrifice and the Reckoning: The Event
San Diego, California. August 6th, 11:36AM
THE TECATE TRUCK was just like all the other Tecate Beer trucks that went back and forth daily at the border crossing, except that it was not owned by Tecate. The driver of that truck spoke fluent Spanish and the truck was always loaded with Tecate. In time the US border guards got used to it. The difference was that this truck had, at its center, a narrow, hollow space shielded with thin sheets of lead so that no ambient radiation would escape.
It had cost The Base over $150,000 to convert the truck at a garage in Ensenada a year before. That was little enough when it came to securing the device which had cost the same group more than $10 million in Russia in 1997. In any event, the truck did its job and passed without incident over the border and into the United States at Tecate, California on August 6th. Dates were important to The Base, and this date was especially significant. After all, what could be more significant than the day on which Hiroshima was destroyed?
After clearing the border the Tecate Truck followed Highway 94 north to it's merge with Highway 8 at La Mesa, California, and then drove west towards Highway 5. It pulled off the road at a rest stop where it picked up a technician in a Tecate uniform who was carrying a case with the necessary electronics and a couple of weapons. After that, the two men followed the road thought the heart of San Diego. It got off the freeway in downtown and quickly made its way to the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway. It's total travel time from the border to downtown San Diego was just over an hour. It was running close to schedule. It was about 11:30 in the morning.
The truck pulled over and parked along North Harbor drive and the technician took out some binoculars and scanned the harbor beyond the Navy Region Southwest Complex whose entrance was less than 100 yards away. Intelligence was correct. The USS Ronald Reagan was in its home port and riding comfortably at anchor.
The technician opened his case and took a wire that ran from the back of the truck along the floorboards. He plugged it into a jack in the simple switching device in the case. He looked at the driver and smiled. The driver smiled back. They both began to recite a prayer in Arabic while looking over the San Diego harbor. At some point in the prayer, without really thinking about it, the technician threw the switch. In the next instant, at the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway in San Diego, California on a warm August morning, a miniature version of the Sun appeared on the surface of the Earth.
During the following brief moments, everything within a quarter mile radius of the truck was heated to a temperature equivalent to that found at the center of the sun and became, essentially, vapor. Beyond that, for about four miles, every living thing was blinded, then incinerated and crushed to death. This included all the exotic animals at the San Diego Zoo, a myriad of birds, reptiles, cats, dogs, fish and marine and plant life. It also included about 500,000 men, women and children. Those that survived close to, but outside of, this killing zone came quickly to wish that they too had died.
The blast not only destroyed most of downtown San Diego but the Navy and Marine bases, along with capital ships, cruise ships returning from Baja, and civilian and military airplanes as well -- including those on close approach.
Beyond the immediate blast zone, the 250 mph wind and 700 F. heat created a moving vortex of flame. From this a firestorm soon formed and grew to engulf all flammable structures for a distance of ten miles. The light from the blast in the first few moments blinded all who had happened to be looking in that direction for a radius of 15 miles. The cloud that rose up over what had been San Diego to a height of 12 miles was visible from Los Angeles, 120 miles to the north. Along with many of its citizens and buildings, communication with the San Diego metropolitan area evaporated, but the cloud hovering above it left no doubt as to what had happened.
Of the 3,000,000 people in the San Diego area, it was later determined that nearly 60% had been killed or severely injured. But that took a number of years to determine. The number who survived but were exposed to radiation that shortened their lives is still being worked out today.
By any scale of measurement, the August 6th destruction of San Diego by the Islamic members of The Base was a very good day for The Base and for it's vision of a Muslim dominated world.
It was to be the last very good day for The Base, for Islam, and for the world for quite some time.
As a target San Diego had several things to recommend it. It was, first and foremost, a city and as such home to millions of Americans. Since killing Americans in wholesale numbers was one of the goals of The Base, San Diego qualified. But San Diego was not normally thought of as a "first-tier" target; that "distinction" was reserved for New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. As a result, local security was more likely to be lax within the city limits. After all, there had been no attacks on American soil since September, 2001.
At the same time, San Diego sat on a west coast port of considerable military significance and held a number of navy and marine bases within its limits or close by. Hence, The Base could be assured of destroying a significant number of capital military assets along with a goodly number of soldiers, sailors and marines. Destroyed or crippled in the attack were the Naval Air Station at North Island, the Naval Amphibious Base at Coronado, Naval Station at San Diego, the Naval Base at Point Loma, the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot, the US Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, the US Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, the Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation, and SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command). Taken together in terms of men, material, assets and experience, it was the greatest strategic disaster for the United States Military in history. The military loss was, in many ways, the least of it. Taken in all its enormity, the destruction of San Diego was the greatest disaster ever suffered by any nation in history.
Up to that point.
There would be greater disasters. In other nations. And it would not be long before they would begin. It took only 40 minutes from the moment of the explosion for the military to move to DEFCON ONE. It would be some years before it changed this status.
Within 18 hours of the killing of San Diego, while the United States and the world reeled in panic, grief, elation, and disbelief; before even the first images and on-site reports began to proliferate over the airwaves and across the internet, US diplomats in capitals around the world delivered terse previously drafted notes warning all nations to avoid seeking to exploit the disaster in any respect. Special attention was given to the Russians and the Chinese, underscored by personal calls from the President of the United States. Iran received neither notes nor calls.
The surviving US carriers with their support groups already at sea dispersed to different stations in accordance with plans long settled at the Pentagon. All military bases at home and abroad went to war status, again according to Pentagon plans. The armed forces in Iraq were recalled to their bases and prepared to launch Operation Stick.
Soon after the US military had finished its initial preparations, a long sequence of numbers was sent via the underwater ELF and VLF broadcast systems to all US Ballistic Missile Submarines on station throughout the oceans of the world. This sequence of numbers was repeated at regular intervals for four hours. Then it stopped.
Upon receiving, decoding and verifying this sequence of numbers, each submarine released a small microburst signaling buoy to the surface to confirm it had received the signal, then moved at top speed to the designated location. Once on station, it waited, along with the rest of the world for a second, much shorter, string of numbers to come to it through the water. It would not wait for very long.
To be continued....
Note: This essay continues a long project begun last October called "The Sacrifice and the Reckoning." The overall shape of the project involves thinking about the unthinkable and what would come after in terms of the human, economic, political and social shape of the United States and the World. For a variety of reasons it is proving to be much more difficult to compose than I originally thought, but I will endeavor to add to it in the weeks to come.
Posted by Vanderleun at August 2, 2005 9:46 AM
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My God, Gerard. How can you see this and remain sane? Just to read it is horrifying. To be able to imagine it first before putting it down is amazing.
It certainly needs saying. One can only hope similar visions are in the heads of those who are supposed to provide our security.
Today is my 55th birthday and Gerard, you have given me, in this essay, the most valuable gift I've received in some years: a tool for digging heads out of the sand.
Thanks so much for this brilliant work, and for stewarding God's gift with such care. This is what blogging can be.
You are very welcome. I deeply appreciate your words and value your sentiments.
Oh, yes, happy birthday. Many more for you and for all of us, every one.
Thanks a lot! My family and I live about 3 miles from the intersection of Broadway & Harbor Drive. I think we are going to take a trip to the desert (on the other side of the mountains) early on Saturday morning.
Thanks Elegato. You can see that I used a variant of that graphic as an illustration. A great addition.
Sorry, Tom. It had to be someone's city. If it is any comfort I'll be about 1,000 miles away on Saturday. Not that that would make a lot of difference in the long run.
It could just as likely be Atlanta or Las Vegas.
What I wonder though is why al-Qaeda hasn't pulled something like this off yet. I'm sure increased security since 9-11 and the distractions in Afghanistan and Iraq have helped, but still...
Do they lack the skills and resources or have they thought it through--especially in the light 9-11--that the American retaliation would likely be so devastating (see GVL's part 2...) that even they prefer to keep their terrorism in the car bomb range?
What is most frightening is that it's so plausible.
Definitely hits home.
A ground burst results in tons of fallout. What are the prevailing winds that day. It could leave a massive radiation footprint over the entire southwest. Say goodbye to livable conditions for a few weeks for survivors in outlying areas.
Maybe fallout shelters will make a comeback.
Joseph Farah, who heads the G2 online intelligence service, says that the terrorists have already smuggled nukes into the U.S. and are just waiting for an appropriately symbolic time to strike:
"Again, according to captured documents and captured al-Qaida leaders -- and some defectors -- the plans are to detonate multiple nuclear weapons in major U.S. cities -- either all at once or over a period of days. You can guess most of the prime targets -- New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. The only surprise, according to my sources, is that al-Qaida's list is not based on the cities with the most population. The list is based on where most American Jews live."
Should this come to pass, the internment of the Japanese will be a tea party in comparison. There won't be a mosque left standing in the US, and any apologist for the Muslims will probably be summarily arrested if not killed.
THEN, everybody that thought glassifying the Middle East was the solution will get their wish. This is a scenario where MAD doesn't work, because as long as the infidel dies, the Islamikazes will get to the afterlife. What's worse they don't care if we hold their civilians hostage to their behavior. In fact, they would just as soon see the civilians die, because they are not pure.
If this occurs, religious toleration will go out the window in this country, and Islam will be declared illegal and persecuted out of existence. And because people in rage and grief tend not to make fine judgements, anyone with brown or black skin will be at great risk of their lives and freedom.
You're not scared enough, Gerard.
What were you doing in 1956 and 1957?
My dad was sending us kids around to warn all the neighborhood kids not to eat the snow, some of those winter days (he ran a fan pulling air through an ordinary filter paper, and checked the radiation every day, so knew when the fallout clouds had drifted over from Nevada to our little southern town).
Rain? Don't drink the milk for a few weeks.
Snow? Don't eat the snow, either.
I'm not going to write down where the terrorists would put the bomb instead of where you describe, to create fallout that would be an order or two of magnitude worse, but it's public information.
I'm not going to write down what common material to wrap around a bomb, to make it a doomsday device spreading fallout that will stay dangerous for years instead of weeks, but it's public knowledge. They made a movie ....
Or read Philip Wylie in his blacker moods, from the 1950s.
Fifty years ago, this was news. Where the HELL was everyone back then ....
Wylie, and others, for those who missed this issue the first time around:
But think ahead and beware, while fearing the atomic bomb fallen in the wrong hands.
The tools being created now for surveillance and control, for homeland defense, will in fifty more years also have fallen into other hands and be used for other purposes.
What sanity is there in building tools that when they do pass into other hands -- as they always do -- they can threaten the whole world?
"... only a madman would give a loaded revolver to an idiot." -- Frederic Brown, "The Weapon"
"People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it.... Predicting the future is much too easy, .... predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better."
-- Ray Bradbury, "Beyond 1984: The People Machines"
Pakistan was the only source for an islamic bomb, freely given. It is doubtful if any significant danger continues to exist from that source. It appears that the General had a reading from the Good Book. The former Soviet Union remains a danger for misappropriated tech, radioactives and an actual weapon. With the number of intelligence agencies watching the illegal weapons trade and "no questions asked" cash rewards, this is an unlikely source. For a number of reasons, i.e., nuclear fingerprinting etal, sale of radioactives by someone like the French is unlikely as they would be ID'd as the source post explosion - a terminal identification. Iran and the Arabic countries remain the most likely source for a completed device or the necessary radioactives.
Note that "dancing in the streets" will undoubtedly also be a terminal act. The last enemy who killed our women and children was the American Indian - regret it or not, they remain only as an endangered species.
>an unlikely source
Proof of concept, however, exists. One such attempt has been stopped. The only one?
"1994 (Dec) The largest amount of smuggled nuclear-weapon usable material discovered to date was found in mid-December ... two simple, unlined metal canisters, labeled in Cyrillic script... The take was 2.7 kilograms of enriched uranium-about 87.7 percent uranium 235."
my 1st reaction to this was to be amazed at the quality of the writing. On further review, I am depressed by the simple plausibility of the scenario.
The BUA crowd in DC is busting our balls, and we're going on, like sheep, into the slaughterhouse.
I urgently want to read the next part of this, if only because Iran, Saudi, Syria et al. ALREADY deserve what's coming in your story.
Pardon me. Your most-likely-case extrapolation. Because I'm afraid this IS what's most likely to happen. Does Bush think he can't do anything to stop it UNTIL they nuke us? If he does, perhaps he's right.
John Bolton is the appropriate ambassador to the UN for times like this. Protecting american interests, period. Nothing else.
Is this scenario inevitable? It seems to be a simple extrapolation of Al Qaida's activities through the Clinton years into September 2001. Bush's spoiling operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have pushed the timetable back a bit, but as long as the Saudi donors are raking in the oil revenues, Al Qaida is in business.
Perhaps forbidding all muslim students from taking courses in engineering, science, physics, electronics, and other technical areas would be a wise move. Sure, they can take such courses in muslim countries, but why help them learn how to kill us more efficiently?
Absent a significant attack on American soil, Bush's current operations are running at about the limit of current American political will.
A second significant attack will remove all limits on that will.
A whole lot of people I know at Marina Cortez on Harbor Island would be lost in that one, as would most of the personal landmarks of my beloved hometown.
And you're correct in your assertion that there would not be an intact mosque to be found.
That includes a certain barrier-island, thirty miles South of Houston.
Sloop New Dawn
I agree with Vanderleun. There is insufficient political will to do any more than what the President is presently doing. With Saddam being one of the worse modern tyrants and violations of the 1991 cease fire clearly documented, almost half of Americans are disapproving of the Iraq War and few are willing to sacrifice for the GWOT. I don’t see President Bush attacking Iran to stop their acknowledged intent to bomb Israel with nuclear weapons much less attack a country or area for a supposed future attack on the US. Actually, I’m more concerned about a biological attack. The small anthrax attack showed what havoc a large scale attack would cause. I doubt we would attack anyone, since the source would be very difficult to pinpoint. Anyway, many here and abroad would believe that Bush did it to increase his control over America and allow more foreign adventures
I'm not sure you are correct about Lead shielding a nuke from detection. It works with 1950's technology, but there are better things out there today. IIRC, what is used on container ships is a gravity device that basicly looks for the extra mass of the fissile material. Since that is many times lead, the lead doesn't hide the fissile material. Now I seriously doubt that microgravity detection equipment is used on every truck entering America. I don't think it is even used on every cargo ship. But it can be used on a city by flying a grid pattern over the city. So I doubt the weapons already here scenario is plausable.
Second, the Russian nukes stolen in 91 were at the very end of their shelf life then. The explosive used in the shaped charges that initiate the implosion deteriorate over time. US devices are recycled on a 12 year schedule, AFAIK. The Soviets didn't have nearly as good quality control as the US. So any old soviet nuke will produce a fizzle at best (worst?). Plus they were designed to break the keel of a US aircraft carrier and had to fit in a 21" torpedo. So they are only 20 or kilotons, new. Still not a good thing. The pits could be extracted and the device rebuilt, but that requires the sort of expertise that isn't easy to come by. I'll bet there are less then two dozen humans on this planet that can assemble an implosion device. Then there is the fact that the pit( fissile core of a device) is VERY posionous. Get within a meter of a naked pit and you are a dead man. It requires specialized equipment to handle the pit and explosives during asssembly. Then there is the problem of the timing devices. The Shaped charges ( over 30 in most designs) have to detonate with 1x10-23E of each other. Clocks that will split a second into -23E parts are NOT picked up at Radio Shack.
Having gone thru all the good news, let me say that a nuclear event in America is inevitable. Technical problems can be over come by Technicians, that is what they do.
If I was planning the job, I would target the Houston Chemical Complex. The Houston Waterway connects to the Gulf which makes Houston one of the worlds busiest ports. It goes right past 1/3 of Americas refining capacity. Houston is America's 4th largest City, Center of the US Petroleum industry and an economic center in it's own right. It also is in President Bushes home state.
Politically, I'm not sure an event in a red state would bother the MSM. Nuke New York and it's war. Let Hollywood see the pika-dan and it's war. But a target in fly-over America will just be gasped at in the blue states.
When Gore challenged the Florida election results, he started the wedge that is splitting America in two. No, the real danger is the Chinese using Pakistan, Iran and N. Korea as cover for their own device. Or the Tyrant in Pakistan getting hit and the Taliban taking over Pakistan. The Chinese will do it if they think they can get away with it, but the Islamists don't care if they get nuked back or not. Who actually thinks a death threat will stop a suicide bomber?
The quick and dirty soultion is to nuke the Iranian sites. All that we know about.
President Bush and Sharon are waiting for the other to do it. That is why I hope Bibi gets elected. Bibi has big brass ones. He'll turn all the known Iranian sites in glassy craters and worry about the rest later.
Good read, and unfortunately highly possible. One thing worse would be a high-altitude nuke. One well-place airburst would fry every peice of electronics in the US stopping ALL commerce. We would have no power, water, transportation, health care, no military or police control, etc. In just a few days people would be dying of thirst. That would be followed by starvation and rampant disease. The ensuing panic would spur riots and fighting amoung our own people. This would be a slow and terrible death for almost all people. I bet that over 90% of the population would be dead in less than a year. All caused by one single bomb.
I always wondered what we would do in the event of such an attack.aftermath of such an attack. And would it do any good to publicly declare our response?? After all, these lunatics believe that dying is a blessing so any threat of retaliation would be useless.
I have a better opinion of the resilience of the American people than thewiz. I think with the exception of some extremely complex processes, we would revert to earlier means and provide less sophisiticated solutions and products in a fairly short time.
EMR will only disrupt those things that are working. The effect will be great in the areas effected, but quite a bit will remain unscathed. I would also question the ability of the jihadis to place a device in the desired location in the first place, and in the second, to have one powerful enough to disrupt the entire US.
The megacenters would suffer the most under such a scenario, and the panic will have a greater impact than the actual device in such areas.
The response will probably be martial law, and the first priority to get the electrical power grid up and operating again. Unless an actual short-cirtuit is created burning out the processor, disruption of computers can be recovered from magnetic media backups. I think much of that would not be altered. Modern automobiles would be junk if running when it happened. There would be a huge black market in auto computers for awhile.
I would be more inclined to think the death toll would be around 10-20%, which though horrific would not be of the 90% scale stated.
As for a response, determine the source and glassify. Deathwish or no on the part of the perpetrators, it is simple justice. It would also deter those who, though conquest mad, are sufficiently rational to want to protect their own skins. As I stated in an earlier comment, vigilante justice will also be part of the response, along with draconian restrictions of freedom of speech, of religion, and from search and seizure, and suspension of habeas corpus.
As far as foreign affairs go, given this event, we have enough missiles that we can simply tell China and North Korea to butt out, or else. We won't wait for UN sanctions, allied approval or anything else. We will become what we have been accused of being for years--the biggest, toughest cowboy on the range. The conquest of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein in record time was the proxy for WW III. The Russians and the Chinese now know that they can't take us on head to head. It was their technology and war theory that was so thoroughly trounced in the Middle East.
Look for the UN to immediately be given an eviction notice, and withdrawal of the US from membership. When we are through kicking butt, the entire international scene will be permanently changed. The various ripples will last for decades. I would expect that along the way Taiwan will become independent, and the entire Middle East will experience civil wars and revolts. They will either do like Libya, or find themselves gone. I suspect Saudi Arabia will be told to get rid of the Wahhabis or face some consequences.
This whole scenario of a nuclear event in the US is ugly, horrible to contemplate, and very possible. I am optimistic that the US would recover and deal with all of it. We aren't as far gone into PC land as Great Britain, and they seem to have awakened finally.
By the way, it's been done (whether atomic or chemical in origin, the actual magnitude and effect of the Port Chicago explosion is comparable to the small nuclear device scenarios).
You need to get out more. Seriously. Dude, have a beer.
"In any event, the truck did its job and passed without incident over the border and into the United States at Rancho Cucamunga on August 6th"
A neat trick, given the fact that Rancho Cucamunga is about a hundred and fifty miles north of the border.
Having grown up in laid back San Diego it makes me sick to think that this is even remotely possible, but in reality it sadly is.
Gerard: This is fascinating and entirely possible. Something like this would make Katrina look like a church social. The more I think about it the more I come to believe that our so-called leaders are being criminally negligent in failing to fulfill their Prime Directive as elected officials, i.e., protecting the nation. When do you plan on finishing the essay so I can see if my prediction of who gets whacked by megatonnage comes to pass? Love your writing and your work - I try to read your site every day if for no other reason than you are one of the people who actually say the things that must be said. I am a direct person myself and happen to work in a very lefty environment. When I say things with the bark on, so to speak, these people are so very shocked to be forced to think about things that are not neat and simple and may require forceful action on behalf of ourselves.
Regards, Chet Pogostin
"Upon receiving, decoding and verifying this sequence of numbers, each submarine released a small microburst signaling buoy to the surface to confirm it had received the signal, then moved at top speed to the designated location. Once on station, it waited, along with the rest of the world for a second, much shorter, string of numbers to come to it through the water. It would not wait for very long. To be continued...."
Gaahhh!! You're driving me crazy! Who did we retaliate against? Especially if we needed ALL of the boomers do do it with??
P.S. Thanks & keep up the good work. Just a little less suspense, please.
Sad, very sad, but in light of current history, it seems to be a possibility. This fellow, who commented, "You need to get out more. Seriously. Dude, have a beer." is obviously not an historian nor aware of former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his speach about "Peace in our time", or Joseph P. Kennedy as he insisted of a policy of appeasement with Hitler and Charles A. Lindbergh who saw Hitler as a "great man" who had "done much for the German people." (This early judgement was later replaced with a more critical attitude, but Lindbergh never did give up his strong pro-German feelings.) I ask and I continue to ask, did 9/11 happen or is it a clip from a forthcoming Bruce Willis movie?
Yes, leaders throughout history have wrestled with the question, do we invade them now to deter the inevitable invasion of our soil later?
And GWB has done the right thing in Iraq, short of nuking Mecca and Medina.
The question is, will that be enough?
This fits very nicely into one of the various scenarios offered by Strauss and Howe in their book, "The Fourth Turning." If only it would wake up a significant number Americans. This ain't gonna happen, it's Superbowl Sunday, for cryin' out loud, get serious. Milt