Think of it. Major city...large trading center...next to 20 percent of Americans fresh water supply. Why wouldn't they want to nuke it?
Is Chicago in the crosshairs?
Smuggling a nuclear weapon into the city is not as improbable as it may seem
By Graham Allison
Published August 16, 2005
Many Americans consider the idea of a nuclear bomb exploding in an American city to be Hollywood science fiction, but FBI warnings that terrorists may be planning an attack on Chicago are hitting close to home and are eerily familiar.
One month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, a CIA agent code-named "Dragonfire" reported that Al Qaeda had acquired a small nuclear bomb from the former Soviet arsenal and had brought it to New York City.
Vice President Dick Cheney and hundreds of other government officials evacuated Washington for a then-undisclosed location. President Bush dispatched nuclear experts to search for signs of radiation.
Mercifully, Dragonfire's report was a false alarm.
The truth, however, is that the U.S. government had no grounds to dismiss the warning. While not likely, it is possible that Al Qaeda is hiding nuclear bombs in one or several American cities today. So who can say that the trucks the FBI warned about might not contain weapons of mass destruction?
Smuggling a nuclear weapon into Chicago is not as improbable as it seems.
The highly enriched uranium needed to build a simple nuclear weapon is smaller than a football. It could be smuggled through American borders and into the metropolis the way illegal drugs come into the city every day: in uninspected cargo containers delivered by ships and trains, contraband smuggled over the Canadian-American border, or innumerable other ways.
Why might Al Qaeda aspire to such a difficult, deadly assault? Bin Laden has challenged the Al Qaeda movement to trump Sept. 11. That calls for attacks more spectacular than hijacking jumbo jets to crash into trophy buildings. The ultimate terrorist spectacle would be an American city enveloped by a nuclear mushroom cloud.
In May 2003 Osama bin Laden obtained a fatwa from a Saudi cleric providing religious justification for Al Qaeda's use of nuclear weapons against the United States. Titled "A Treatise on the Legal Status for Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels," it asserts that "if a bomb that killed 10 million of them and burned as much of their land as they have burned Muslims' lands or dropped on them, it would be permissible."
If a bomb were put in the back of a tanker truck, driven downtown, and detonated at the Sears Tower, everything within a third of a mile would vanish. The United Center and all of Grant Park would look like the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The resulting firestorm and cloud of fallout would reach nearly to U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field.
Despite President Bush's attempt to portray Al Qaeda as irrational "killers who simply want to kill," readers of bin Laden's letters and fatwas can identify clearly his objectives: to force American and other "crusaders" to remove their troops from Arab lands and end support for what bin Laden calls their corrupt puppet governments in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Bin Laden wants to convince Americans that the cost of keeping troops in the Middle East exceeds any benefits we can hope to gain. Certainly, no one can predict how Americans would react to Chicago being turned into an American Hiroshima. The real question, however, is what Al Qaeda operatives think they could achieve.
With FBI warnings that terrorists could wreck havoc with 18-wheelers, it is not surprising that 77 percent of Chicago's residents fear that an attack is imminent. Let's just pray it's not nuclear.
Would Mecca get nuked if they used nukes here?
False is the idea of utility... that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except the destruction of liberty.
- Thomas Jefferson