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Reply #9: this diary also will freak you out the same way: [View All]

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DesEtoiles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-23-06 03:39 AM
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9. this diary also will freak you out the same way:


When the day finally arrives, we will watch round-the-clock coverage on television as the first wave of US attacks begin to hit Iranian targets. We will see maps on the screen with names of places like Esfahan and Natanz. We will see Donald Rumsfeld and General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stand at a podium in the Pentagon describing target packages and bomb damage assessments. We might hear the Secretary and the General say that, contrary to "wild speculation" prior to the start of hostilities, nuclear weapons are not being used. They will no doubt strongly caution the Iranians against any form of retaliation for the US offensive. We will see the President of the United States deliver a solemn speech to the nation and ask support for our brave men and women in uniform. We will see reporters deliver with gravity and that strange fetishistic tone the stories of cruise missiles impacting and sorties flown and senior officials cautiously optimistic. The same players, the same script, the same antiseptic ritual. The same pornographic fascination with shock and awe. Iran's air force and air defenses have been devastated, the blow-dried hair on the TV screen will say. Every known Iranian nuclear research or manufacturing area has been hit. Iranian naval bases and hundreds of suspected ballistic missile sites have been struck. Iranian command and control centers have been destroyed. Al Jazeera will broadcast images of massive explosions on the outskirts of Tehran, lighting up the night sky. Behind the scenes, the journalists and the talking heads will say, the administration is jubilant. Operation Ponderous Code Name Here is a success. Iran's capacity to retaliate has been degraded, the resolve of its leadership shaken.

And then, at some point, will come the first reports of Iranian retaliation. After that, history falls into the abyss, like matter sucked beyond the event horizon of a black hole. Once it passes the threshold, no one can really say what happens next. We're in the realm of imagination. And nightmares.

But here is one attempt to imagine what it will be like. In one possible or probable future, you and I, all of us, are watching it happen right now, right before our eyes. Out there, in the weeks and months to come, we watch things fall apart.

- - - -


Day two of the war. Accounts from the Gulf tell of Iranian Shahab and Scud ballistic missiles striking ports, refineries, and oil fields in Saudi Arabia. The US assault, massive and unrelenting though it was, couldn't get all of Iran's missiles. Nothing in war goes precisely according to plan. First reports say the Iranian missiles aren't all that accurate, the damage to Saudi facilities is minimal. Everything is under control. Iranian patrol boats manned by the Revolutionary Guard have tried suicide runs at oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. US naval vessels and air cover slaughter them at will. Most of the rest of Iran's small navy was destroyed in port on the first day of the war.

The American onslaught still appears to be going well. White House sources hint the US will soon issue an ultimatum to the Iranians: accept a cease-fire and new international inspections of nuclear facilities, or face continuing US attacks. GOP operatives gloat that the White House has regained the political initiative. The price of oil on world markets rises to "only" $80 by the end of the second day. Analysts call this a blessing, brought on by the White House decision to release a flood of oil from the US strategic petroleum reserve.

World oil markets explode, as reports of the shipping disruptions and the firestorm at Ras Tanura drive prices to $110 per barrel. Oil industry officials put on a show of optimism, saying that the spike is temporary. They assert that search and rescue missions under US air and naval cover will clear the burning oil tankers from the Hormuz Straits and keep the shipping lanes open. Emergency procedures are supposedly in place to rapidly repair the damage at Ras Tanura and get the refinery back on line. In the United States, gasoline prices top $5.00 per gallon.

- - - -


Day four. In Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr calls upon all Iraqi Shiites to wage immediate, all out war against United States occupation forces. His al-Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias attack US troops in Baghdad and across southern Iraq. In the first day of fighting, more than 100 American soldiers are killed, by mines, improvised explosives, mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and truck bombs, as well as in house-to-house firefights with Shia guerrillas. Oil pipelines in southern Iraq are blown up in multiple places.

Meanwhile, US forces in Kuwait successfully foil a truck bomb attack on the massive Burgan oil field.

Pentagon briefers report progress in the ongoing US campaign to suppress Iranian missile capabilities. The nuclear facilities are an afterthought now.

Oil prices reach $130 per barrel. Gasoline prices in the United States approach $6.00 per gallon. In cities across the country, workers begin to organize mass car-pooling efforts to keep up the daily commute. Employers warn darkly of layoffs if gas prices continue to rise.

US air and missile attacks against hundreds of targets throughout Iran continue. Talk of a pause for damage assessment has stopped.

Day five.

In Lebanon, the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia opens a vengeance campaign against Israel in retaliation for the American bombing of Iran. Launched from southern Lebanon, a massive barrage of short range surface to surface missiles strike cities and towns across Israel, as far south as Haifa, killing dozens, wounding hundreds, and bringing normal civilian life in Israel to a standstill. Having already ordered a general military mobilization in the hours preceding the first American attacks on Iran, the Israeli cabinet decides to retaliate only against Lebanese targets for the time being. But the Israelis secretly send messages to Tehran, warning that further attacks will bring direct Israeli retaliation against Iran, and Syria as well. The Israeli counter-strike against Hezbollah is massive, unleashing a pulverizing wave of indiscriminate air and missile attacks all across the hills and valleys of southern Lebanon. Hundreds of civilians are believed killed. By dawn of the next day, Israeli armored columns roll across the border and drive north, toward Beirut.

In Iraq, US supply lines on the roads from Kuwait suffer sustained attack by Shiite insurgents. Mortar bombardment of airfields hamper American transport planes. US Central Command simply doesn't have enough troops to provide the necessary security in the face of a widespread Shiite uprising. American forces in Baghdad withdraw to a concentrated defense perimeter linking the airport to the heavily fortified Green Zone, housing the ministries of the fictitious Iraqi government.

Emergency crews trying to fight the massive Ras Tanura fire in Saudi Arabia are attacked by guerrillas wielding rocket launchers and automatic weapons. It isn't clear whether the attackers are Iranian paramilitary forces or indigenous Saudi insurgents aligned with Al Qaeda.

Shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf has come to a complete halt. Oil tankers in the Gulf remain in port. Inbound shipping stops dead in its tracks in the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, awaiting word that the security situation has stabilized.

The armed forces of the United States continue to hammer suspected Iranian missile sites and Revolutionary Guard barracks, along with government ministries and military command centers. Nevertheless, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers an incendiary speech to his nation, calling on Muslims across the world to attack American troops, facilities, businesses, and citizens wherever they may be found. Al Jazaeera transmits the speech throughout the Muslim world. American media show just enough of the speech to make Ahmadinejad look like a Muslim Hitler.

Anti-American demonstrations that erupted in every Muslim country on the outbreak of war now swell to overwhelming dimensions. In Cairo, Damascus, and Islamabad, millions march in the streets. US embassies in most Muslim countries have been evacuated, and several of them have now been occupied and pillaged by enraged demonstrators. In Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, Muslim demonstrations against the United States explode into riots. Cars burn in the night and tear gas drifts through the streets. In Riyadh and Islamabad, government security forces open fire on demonstrators, killing and wounding scores of people.

In the Persian Gulf, the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur is struck by an Iranian Sunburn supersonic cruise missile. An inferno quickly engulfs the ship, dooming efforts to save it. Rescue forces manage to evacuate most of the crew before the vessel sinks, but more than 100 men and women descend with its hulk to the bottom.

In the United States, news media cover the sinking of the Decatur with outrage and horror. Despite growing unease over gas prices, polls show a solid majority of the American people support the Bush administration's decision to launch what is rapidly becoming a region-wide war in the Middle East.

The price of gasoline at the pump now exceeds $6.00, with oil prices soaring past $160 a barrel on world markets. The US government's decision to allow an unlimited flow of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve hasn't made any difference. The Ras Tanura fire has crippled Saudi Arabia's oil output, possibly for months. Oil shipments from Iran have stopped. All shipping traffic in and out of the Persian Gulf has halted, with no sign that either Iran or the United States is willing to bring hostilities to an end. More than forty percent of the world's oil supply has been cut off. News reports speak of panic among oil company executives, of desperate meetings with the President and the Vice-President, imploring them to do something. Anything.

Since the war began, the leaders of the Democratic Party have issued formulaic statements in support of American troops, along with wishes for a swift, successful end to US military operations against Iran. Some of those with Presidential ambitions in 2008 go so far as to say the President's decision to seek a final solution to the threat of Iran's nuclear program was correct. Some other Democrats call for emergency legislation enacting price controls on gasoline and other critical goods. Contrary to some op-ed pieces and speeches before the war, no prominent Democratic or Republican politician questions the Constitutional authority of President Bush to launch a unilateral war against Iran. Behind closed doors, White House officials have been briefing Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders, showing intelligence reports on the massive extent of the damage inflicted on Iran by US attacks. Other intelligence assessments speak of possible dissent within the Iranian military establishment - something the President and his advisers firmly believe foreshadows a coup or a popular uprising against the Ahmadinejad government and the ruling mullahs of Iran. These administration briefings fail to mention dissenting opinions within the intelligence community, much of which feels that factional fighting among Iranian elites is outweighed by the determination of each faction to inflict a devastating military and economic defeat on the United States.

- - - -


Day six.

Oil prices approach $180 per barrel on world markets. Major losses on world stock markets have accelerated into a freefall. The Dow Jones has lost 4000 points since the war began. The slide of the US dollar, underway since the start of hostilities, is also beginning to pick up steam, threatening to become a collapse.

Gasoline prices in the United States have reached $8.00 per gallon in some areas, despite optimistic statements from President Bush that energy disruptions will be temporary. Long lines continue at gas stations. Schools and businesses are beginning to close or run on reduced hours. Employees are having more and more trouble getting to work. Shipments of critical goods and supplies are drying up as gasoline prices begin to hamper the trucking industry. And now, for the first time, reports come in of panic buying at supermarkets around the country. What had been temporary open spaces on shelves, thanks to trucking delays, have now sparked a mass run on food. Transportation bottlenecks, and the explosion of costs in petroleum derivates used for manufacturing, have ignited an inflationary explosion in consumer goods across the board.

And then, late in the morning, cable news broadcasts flash the first reports of terrorist attacks inside the United States. At 11:00 a.m. local time, in Phoenix, Arizona, an unknown number of gunmen open fire with automatic weapons and grenades on crowds of shoppers in the Paradise Valley shopping mall. Minutes later, reports come in of rocket-propelled grenades fired at traffic along widely scattered sections of Interstate 44 in Missouri. As TV images show police and SWAT teams deploying along I-44 and surrounding the Paradise Valley mall, eyewitnesses report two jumbo jets exploding in the skies over Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the apparent victims of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. For the second time in American history, the Federal Aviation administration orders all civilian air traffic in the United States grounded. Television networks in the United States give the attacks wall-to-wall coverage, virtually ignoring the escalating world energy crisis and the ongoing war in the Middle East. As the day goes on, rumors fly of additional attacks or planned attacks. Workers leave their jobs by the millions. Schools, businesses, and government agencies begin to shut down. Traffic clogs the nation's highways as the mass exodus gets underway. And it gets worse. In Atlanta, snipers with high-powered rifles open fire on motorists stranded in their cars. The gunmen continue to fire as terrified citizens flee their vehicles. Late in the afternoon two suicide bombers detonate home made explosives at restaurants in Dallas and Pittsburgh. The final toll from the day's attacks is 673 people dead. Experts speculate that the attacks were carried out by members of the Iranian secret service, long known to exceed Al Qaeda in their levels of training and their capacity to carry out terrorist strikes. None of the operations of this day came anywhere close to 9/11 in their sophistication or spectacle, but the net effect was, if anything, far worse. Multiple soft targets in the heartland of America have been attacked with impunity. The American public gets the message: no one is safe.

By the end of the day, world oil prices pass $200 per barrel. Governments around the planet order all financial markets closed amidst a monetary and economic implosion unprecedented in history.

The war continues. US Central Command maintains round the clock bombardment of Iranian targets. Israeli forces drive deeper into Lebanon amidst sporadic Hezbollah missile strikes on Israeli cities. An Iranian Shahab missile strikes the northern end of Saudi Arabia's Ghawar oil field, inflicting heavy damage on a number of drilling rigs. Saudi security forces fight pitched battles with Iranian paramilitary forces and pro-Al Qaeda insurgents in dozens of locations around the kingdom. The Saudi Foreign Minister denies rumors that members of the royal family are evacuating the country.

An Iranian Sunburn missile strikes a second American naval vessel, the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain. Sixty-eight US personnel are killed but the ship remains afloat.

A column of US Marines rolls north from Kuwait, attempting to keep supply lines open to besieged American forces in Nasiriyah, Najaf, Baghdad, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, American satellite surveillance picks up evidence of Iranian armor and infantry formations moving across the Iraqi border. By morning, they engage advance elements of US occupation forces already hard pressed by Shiite militias.

Massive anti-American demonstrations now range far beyond the Muslim world, encircling the entire planet.

- - - -


After midnight, in Washington DC, the President uncharacteristically holds a late-night emergency meeting of the National Security Council to deal with the unfolding catastrophes. Everyone at the table, the architects of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, agree that the current conflict has to be brought to an end as quickly as possible and emergency measures taken to halt the incipient collapse of the national economy. The Vice President, in particular, forcefully states his vision of what's at stake. The United States, he says, now confronts not just an emergency but an existential threat unparalleled in its history. Social order itself verges on complete breakdown, with the delivery of food, fuel, and essential services throughout the country now open to question. The nation's military forces face the prospect of a long, bloody conflict while the world economy stands on the brink of disintegration. The regimes in Moscow and Beijing are watching for signs of American weakness. Reports in world capitals speak of possible Russian and Chinese arms shipments to the Iranians even as they engage US forces in combat. There are even rumors that the Russian army might deploy anti-aircraft batteries to Iranian soil, manned by Russian soldiers. Prior to the closure of world financial markets, the government of China had already begun dumping American bonds. The US government, the Vice-President concludes, must take extraordinary measures if the situation is to be salvaged and the country's future secured.

Everyone in the room agrees. At this crucial meeting, later to be studied extensively by historians, the broad outlines of future American policy are determined. At its conclusion, the President signs a series of sweeping national security decision directives that will alter American government and society for all time. First, he authorizes the initiation of offensive nuclear operations against the military forces and national command authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Within twelve hours, US nuclear warheads will strike scores of Iranian military and government targets. Prior to the nuclear attacks, top US government officials will evacuate Washington DC and carry out their responsibilities from secure and undisclosed locations. US Strategic Command will go on a full war footing to dissuade other nation-states from reacting rashly to the American obliteration of Iran. The NSC directives signed by President Bush and vetted by the Attorney General go on to detail emergency economic and security authority to be exercised by the Executive Office of the President. The White House, operating through the executive branch apparatus, will assume complete control of the national economy, prioritizing the distribution of personnel and resources to assure restoration of essential services. All National Guard units on American soil will be federalized immediately and deployed for emergency security operations. US military forces will begin domestic security operations and they will assist in the operation of crucial industries such as transportation. The FBI will execute nationwide arrests of all individuals named in watch lists as actual or potential terrorist suspects. Special detention facilities will be set up for processing and interrogation. The Federal Communications Commission will assume direct supervisory authority of all television, radio, newspaper, and Internet media services. All publicly disseminated information will be subjected to mandatory national security review. Members of Congress and the Supreme Court will be consulted retroactively and invited to approve the administration's measures by appropriate legislation or legal judgments. But the administration will leave no doubt that it intends to act, with or without the approval of the other two branches of government or of the states. Key leaders of the Democratic Party will be summoned to the Oval Office and invited to give their support to the President. They will be strongly cautioned against failure to support the Commander-in-Chief in a period when the existence of the nation is in doubt.

Dawn comes to the United States. Day seven. The former things are passed away.
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