Dirty Nukes and Jefferson’s Grand Experiment

It’s the second week of May and we’re closing in on the elections.

If more sadistic reports of prisoner abuse emerge — like the most recent photos showing big guard dogs biting a hapless Iraqi detainee — or something worse, Bush is more or less doomed come November.

How to fix the damage?

Dust off that old CIA song and dance show, al-Qaeda!

“Experts say it is only a matter of time before al-Qaida or a related Islamic terrorist organization detonates a ‘dirty bomb’ in America or Europe,” reports United Press International. “Prime targets could include this summer’s Olympic Games in Athens or the NATO summit in June in Istanbul, which President Bush is scheduled to attend. Last week, Turkey announced the arrest of several alleged members of a cell with links to Al Qaeda who, investigators say, planned a bombing during the summit.”

How in the heck did these flat-footed investigators discover this nefarious al-Qaeda plot to bomb the NATO summit, possibly with a dirty nuke?

Islamic websites!

“Experts … find that comments on Islamic websites justifying the use of nuclear weapons against the United States is on the increase.”

Oh, that cinches it for me!

Never mind that on the internet anybody can claim to be al-Qaeda or Elvis or Santa Claus in a screamin’ green jumpsuit.

I wonder if these terr’ists have IP addresses. Or maybe they post from internet cafes in the deepest darkest recesses of Afghanistan. It seems these “experts” spend too much time surfing the net when they should be slogging around in the back woods of the Pakistani frontier looking for honest to Allah terr’ists — say for instance Osama or Omar — in the flesh. But no. It’s easier (and safer) to sit in an airconditioned office and write up useless reports about how evil and demented terr’ists are going to take us out.

Just to make sure we’re sufficiently frightened and sincerely appreciate the seriousness of the situation, the Bush Ministry of Disinformation, Fox News division, reports that “Ukrainian security forces seized nearly 375 pounds of a radioactive material seen as a likely ingredient for a ‘dirty bomb,’ authorities said.”

“Dirty bombs use conventional explosives mixed with radioactive material to disperse radiation over a wide area,” explains the Nature News Service. “They are a crude way for terrorists to use radioactive materials. The materials do not need to be of the quality required for nuclear weapons: radioactive materials used for industrial or medical applications, which are easier to obtain, would create panic and disruption and a significant radiological health risk.”

Sort of like all that depleted uranium in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Serbia.

I bet the Iraqis would be more worried about “panic and disruption” from DU if they were not so desparately trying to nail down a bit for normalcy — to say nothing of electricity and clean water.

It’s obvious we’re entering that funny season when bombastic neoliberal bags of fetid hot air get on the idiot tube and try to get you to vote for them. It’s going to be a real challenge this year telling the difference between Tweedle Dumb (Bush) and Tweedle Dee (Kerry).

It seems Tweedle Dee has a leg up on Tweedle Dumb thanks to all those S/M digital photos floating around.

Of course, Tweedle Dee would be in the same pickle as Tweedle Dumb if he were in the White House. No doubt he’d rattle off a speech about how he intimately understands the horrors of war and such due largely to his stint as a war criminal in Vietnam. Besides, it’s obvious Kerry gives a better speech than Bush. It was a toss up for Dubya — stick it out at Yale and actually learn something or go out drinking with his frat buddies.

Bush sorely needs a dirty bomb attack.

If it happens in America he can declare martial law or simply cancel the election. Remember, Bush said there’s nothing wrong with a dictatorship so long as he’s the dictator. I think it’s the most serious thing he ever said.

“In recent weeks FBI Director Robert Mueller, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice have all warned that they expect Al Qaeda to try to time a strike inside the United States with the upcoming presidential election,” notes the Boston Globe. “Since the March bombings in Madrid, speculation about the impact of an attack on the outcome of the November election has become something of a whispered brain-teaser in Washington.”


It’s just like the folks in Washington to make everything look like rocket science. I guess they consider it job security and a good reason to up their salaries during midnight sessions.

Tommy Franks spelled it all out for us last December in Cigar Aficionado magazine. Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if the terr’ists get their sweaty paws on and then manage to use “a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.” In Tommy’s scenario “the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”


Is that how Jefferson and Madison viewed the Constitution? Hey, it’s just an experiment — if it crashes and burns, oh well… we can go back to being ruled under a monarchy. Or a military dictatorship.

I can distinctly envision Tweedle Bush salivating at the prospect.

But terr’ists would not necessarily have to light off a dirty nuke in Cleveland or Kalamazoo. Just about anywhere in the “Western world” would do, as Franks tells it.

“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world it may be in the United States of America that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important,” warned the Tom Meister.

Last time a retired general warned us about tricky business it was Ike. He told us to watch out for the military-industrial complex. Seems to me the military-industrial complex — under the aegis of guys like Dick Cheney and the neocons — pretty much did what old Ike told us they’d do.

So, let’s take stock.

It’s May. The Democratic National Convention kicks off in late July and the Republican National Convention runs from August 30 until September 2. I don’t know why these guys don’t simply hold one convention and save you and me a whole lot of money. After all, there’s not a lick of difference between them.

Anyway, there’s plenty of time for the terr’ists to get their act together. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem since they received all that expensive and fancy training courtesy of the CIA back in the day when they were fighting against the Evil Empire for Reagan and William Casey and Ziggy Brzezinski.

Maybe they’re smuggling that Ukrainian radioactive nastiness in under the wire as I write this. Maybe inside one of those unsupervised carrier containers we were repeatedly warned about after 9/11.

Or maybe they won’t bother with America and will blow it off in Athens or Istanbul or London or Paris — though probably not France because, as any neocon will tell you, those pantywaist Frogs are in cahoots with the terr’ists. It wouldn’t be a good idea for people to get the idea the French are with us in this interminable war on terr’ism. We didn’t change “french fries” into “freedom fries” in the Senate cafeteria for nothing.

I don’t know though. This whole dirty bomb business is crazy. Is there a reason al-Qaeda would blow off a dirty nuke and thus bring the wrath of Oceania down hard on Eastasia?

Maybe those Islamic terr’ists have a death wish. It figures since the lot of them are suicide bombers. Or is it homicide bombers as Fox calls them?

Maybe they want Junior to invade Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and any other lousy country on Ariel’s dartboard. It must be their irrational and savage nature — and because they’re jealous of our way of life and such. Or so Tweedle Bush keeps telling us during his meandering press conferences.

But think about it. Cui bono? Exactly who’d benefit from a dirty bomb attack on the Good and the Righteous?

Not the Arabs.

Bush would and so would the neocons and Israel and Halliburton and Bechtel and all the neoliberal carpetbaggers itching to get a piece of Iraq and Iran and Syria and of course — the prize! — Saudi Arabia with its gazillion barrels of black gold so yearned for by the SUV masses.

It’d be worth suffering a little radiation — especially if the radioactive clouds wafted over Istanbul and not Wall Street.

Four more years — or maybe four more decades.

Now that would give the neocons and their Likudnik bosses enough time to “reshape” the Arab Middle East. But don’t take my word for it — go ask Charles Krauthammer or Richard Perle or that wild and crazy total war guy, Michael Ledeen.

It’s downright scary when Robert Mueller, Tom Ridge, Condi Rice, and a whole lot of “experts” start yammering about sideshow Osama doing a dirty bomb number on that most sacred of events — well, at least for Demopublicans — the hallowed United States presidential election.

Shhh. Do you hear that?

It’s Tommy Jefferson rolling over in his grave.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/blogger.html . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.

He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com