Smash lays out a reasonable set of alternatives as strategies for response.
Personally, I think the responses would be harder to bring into focus.He points out that we can usually ‘fingerprint’ the fissile elements of a weapon; the problem of course is that we won’t have matching fingerprints for one that was produced clandestinely and never tested; and just because we know the provenance of a weapon doesn’t mean it wasn’t stolen from a badly guarded Pakistani or Russian storage shed.
I wrote on much the same thing a while ago, and said it might look like this:
There is some evidence that one of the weapons was a Russian tactical nuke, in a batch that was thought to have been in Georgia, and that Chechen militants were suspected of having access to it; they suddenly have a national treasury that is $100,000,000 richer, and it looks like some of the funds came from hawalas, the Middle Eastern ‘cash’ banking community.
One of the weapons appears to have been homemade, and we can’t figure out where the other one came from.
The pressure is on the president to do something.
The U.N. issues statements deploring the ‘tragedy’ and supporting direct action against the perpetrators, as soon and sufficient evidence is found to identify who they were.
We find that some of the funds which might have paid for one of the weapons might have been paid by a Jordanian oil trader who is thought to sometimes act as a front for the Iraqi government. We’ve turned a blind eye to him in the past, because the funds that went back were partially used for humanitarian purposes, and because he gave some of our intelligence assets entrée to the Iraqi underground.
Hussein goes on CNN and Al-Jazeera, and states that a conspiracy among his senior officers was responsible for ‘this humanitarian tragedy’ and publicly executes them and their families on live television.
He offers to open the country to inspections by a joint French/Swiss/German inspection team, and to pay $1,000,000,000 in reparations to the U.S. once the oil embargo is lifted.
The UK offers troops to assist with ‘humanitarian aid’ in the U.S.
There are fistfights in the Capitol, as the question of how to respond to this splits the House and Senate.
Sorting out the responsible parties – particularly if the responsible parties are a trans-state group operating with the tacit – but not explicit – support of state actors is going to be a nightmare.
I have to question how easily we’ll be able to step onto Smash’s chain of escalating responses; and that makes the prospect of this event even less thinkable.