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Friday, May 27, 2022

Nuclear retaliation after an al Qaeda WMD attack

By HAL BROWN If the United States is attacked by al Qaeda and suffers very heavy casualties, a nuclear strike may be our only option for retaliation. As a nationless enemy it is known that al Qaeda operates from the mountainous region along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Here are excerpts from what Michael Scheuer had to say in an interview with Keith Olbermann on Feb. 20. He should know. He's the former head of the CIA bin Laden unit.


If the United States is attacked by al Qaeda and suffers very heavy casualties, a nuclear strike may be our only option for retaliation. As a nationless enemy it is known that al Qaeda operates from the mountainous region along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Here are excerpts from what Michael Scheuer had to say in an interview with Keith Olbermann on Feb. 20. He should know. He’s the former head of the CIA bin Laden unit.

We won the cities, but the Taliban and al Qaeda escaped basically intact, and they‘ve been rebuilding and reequipping over the past five years.

… the central place in terms of an attack inside the United States is Afghanistan and Pakistan. When the next attack occurs in America, it will be planned and orchestrated out of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

… the people who will plan the next attack in the United States are those who are in Afghanistan and Pakistan, sir.

The threat to the United States, inside the United States, comes from al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you want to address the threat to America, that‘s where it is.

We don‘t treat the—this Islamist enemy as seriously as we should. We think somehow we‘re going to arrest them, one man at a time. These people are going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States, and we‘re going to have absolutely nothing to respond against.


Al Qaeda isn’t like North Korea or Iran against whom we could and probably would launch a massive nuclear strike should they be so foolhardy to attack us or our allies with nuclear weapons. Our defense against them is the assurance that we would obliterate their countries.

I have little doubt that al Qaeda leaders from Osama on down would gladly meet their maker if they could do so knowing they had killed a million Americans in one “glorious” strike against the infidel. They would launch such a strike in the belief that, should they die, those jihadists left alive would reconstitute themselves into a bigger and more lethal army for Allah.

If al Qaeda used a weapon of mass destruction against us, whether a thermonuclear device, a dirty bomb, or a chemical or biological weapon, and killed tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Americans, there would be no al Qaeda country to bomb into the stone age.

We would have to go after them there and kill them. We would have to thwart the plan the martyr leaders had for a bigger and better al Qaeda.

I see only two ways to do this.

Here’s the first.

The first is to mobilize a huge army of highly trained mountain troops. By huge I envision 100,000 to 200,000 as the terrain, pockmarked with caves and tunnels, is a guerilla army’s dream. George Bush calls the area “wilder than the Wild West,” but which al Qaeda calls home.

It will make fighting an enemy in the jungles of Vietnam look like a walk in the park.

Our current forces in Iraq, and those who have been cycled through, have been trained in desert and urban warfare. In order to get the military up to strength for an effective mountain campaign against the forces we’d face there, we would need a draft. It would take at least six months to get the first contingent of mountain trained and equipped troops there. Without massive numbers and the best logistics they would be at a terrible disadvantage.

The second option is obvious.

We would need to use nuclear bombs to “sanitize” the border areas our intelligence showed to be likely hideouts for al-Qaeda.

On Sunday Vice President Cheney made a surprise visit to Pakistan and met with Gen. Pervez Musharraf. He is being portrayed as giving him a dose of the stern Cheney stuff, although he seemed to be less than his usual belligerent self when he said that if aid to Pakistan is cut it will be due to the feckless Domcratic Congress.

I hope in private he really laid out the true dire consequenses to Pakistan if there’s an al Qaeda attack against the United States

My hunch is that our atrophying testicular veep warned him that unless he gets serious about going after al Qaeda bases (and Osama), should the U.S. get attacked, retaliation will be swift and brutal.

It will be nuclear strikes against suspected al Qaeda strongholds along the Afghanistan Pakistan border. He might have even hammered him with a power point presentation based on a the fact sheet, Nuclear Weapons Effects, from the American Federation of Scientists. LINK

Whether we choose option one or option two, we would still have to contend with the Talban and al-Qaeda who are already spread through the non-mountainous parts of the country. To do this we would need to greatly augment the 40,000 forces we already have there. These troops would have to come from Iraq, and they would have to come as quickly as possible no matter the consequences for whoever is worth saving in Iraq.

The news, I mean the real news sans Anna Nicole’s remains and Britney Spear’s bald head, is full of stories about the latest “you ain’t seen nothing yet” proof that Iran is supplying really nasty weapons being used to kill our troops in Iraq. All the pundits are speculating as to whether Bush plans an attack against Iran.

Meanwhile, in a matter of seconds, we could be deciding whether to retaliate against al Qaeda with nuclear bombs, and no one wants to talk about this.

(Hal Brown is a clinical social worker and former mental health center director who is mostly retired from his private psychotherapy practice. He writes on the psychopathology of public figures and other topics that pique his interest. He can be found online at

36 thoughts on “Nuclear retaliation after an al Qaeda WMD attack”

  1. A warning to posters. An interesting phenomenon happened tonight. I tried to post and it was truncated. The post was about double the length of the publicly displayed one. I tried to repost the complete text several times, but what is most disconcerting is the fact that what I did post was “modified” by some entity?! To my knowledge I have no keyloggers in my computer. My platform is scanned scrupulously on a daily basis for malware, Trojans, keyloggers and other such scumware.

    “convenient fumbling and oh gee’s from our intelligence (oxymoronic term) community.” was modified from what I intended to post. It’s minor, but it indicates to me that somone is scratch-padding our intended entries and has the ability to modify it’s content if they so choose. A word to the wise is sufficient. I would not post this commentary unless I thought it worthy of reading, evidently the second half caused some concern for this censoring entity.

  2. Rest assured if a nuke conventional otherwise goes off anywhere in the civilized world, the CIA’s scriptwriters will have had a hand in the writing and control thereof! Oklahoma City was an example of a sting-op gone bad, courtesy of the BATF, no doubt in collusion with higher level agency orchestration. 911 is another example of one of their international social-psycho-drama scripts being carried out. If another tragedy happens, the investigations that follow will again show a bunch of convenient fumbling, along with “oh gee, gosh, golly wolly” comments from our intelligence community. Ruby Ridge then Waco was first test scripts under Clinton/Reno to see how far and how much force the feds would and could use against the citizens in CONUS without a massive outcry. Then came Oklahoma City with it’s many unanswered investigative questions the same as 911. Both rubble fields from Oklahoma City and the 911 tragedy were buried all too quickly in secured landfills before proper explosive related forensics could be done. The Feds are hiding something, and I suspect what it is; i.e., evidence of planted, controlled detonation devices as used for demolition work. When I watch the video of the towers dropping level after level as the charges go off the entire building is dropping in a very controlled way, floor after floor leaving a very small footprint as in a controlled demolition. Two planes crashing into the structure, wreaking so much havoc just doesn’t make sense. There’s been a ton of material written on the subject and 70 plus percent of New Yorkers smell a rat concerning the investigation of this tragedy. Operation Northwoods an example of a plan proffered to Kennedy during the cold war era to have a bogus band of insurgents attacking Florida and the underbelly of the U.S. giving us an excuse to attack Cuba is an example. It was rejected by Kennedy, but it’s an example as to how far these so-called planner/advisor mattoids will go. They are high-paid sociopaths in the employ of the U.S. taxpayer…?!

    The mere fact that even a plan of this negative caliber was profferred to Kennedy demonstrates how low our government had become even as early as 1962. So I advise savvy citizens to not rule out the possibility of 911 being an example of one of the CIA’s international social-psycho-drama scripts in action with the dark purpose of motivating Americans to mindlessly support their leaders and give them the Kings X over their lives and future as a nation. In these times…”Trust no one”…!

    The following are some of the best and somewhat obscure links concerning the Twin Towers etc. The path of complicity is stunning. The reason nothing has been done is because the mass media in the U.S. has been compromised and is now owned and controlled by the shadowy billionaire internationalist oligarchs who operate the puppet paddles that control our elected leaders. They will not destroy a paradigm that has taken them well over a hundred years to trowel into place one brick at a time; i.e., our prison…!

  3. Rest assured if a nuke conventional otherwise;i.e, goes off anywhere iin the civilized world, the CIA’s scriptwriters will have had a hand in the writing thereof. Oklahoma City was an example of a sting-op gone bad, courtesy of the BATF, no doubt in collusion with higher level agency orchestration. 911 is another example of one of their international social-psycho-drama scripts being carried out. If another tragedy happens, the investigations that follow will again show a bunch of convenient fumbling and oh gee’s from our intelligence (oxymoronic term) community. Ruby Ridge then Waco was first test script under Clinton/Reno to see how far and how much force the feds would and could use against the citizens in CONUS. Then came Oklahoma City with it’s many unanswered investigative questions the same as 911 a

  4. What we’re saying is “No nukes is good nukes.” The damn things should have never been invented.


    Following up on the article from yesterday I thought I would demonstrate just how close we are to the end. The article concerned was published by Capitol Hill Blue. In it the author says if Al-Qaeda pulls off a large terrorist event, we need to nuke the Afghan-Pakistani border. Right on cue, couch potatoes treating this as a football game cheer on the nuclear option.

    Hopefully calmer, more educated minds will prevail. First of all Al-Qaeda was created by the CIA in the 1980’s. Their funding was continued right through 911 and beyond. And this is the MOST IMPORTANT POINT! The events of 911 described by our government are IMPOSSIBLE!!!!I don’t know how many times we have to prove this before the government worshippers will check out our sources. It had to be an inside job. There is no other possibility.

    So let’s move on. We blame a bunch of goat herders in Afghanistan for a sophisticated terrorist event and start using nuclear weapons on the Pakistani/ Afghan border. This is insanity. Pakistan is a nuclear power. Their neighbor to the south, India, is a nuclear power. Their neighbors to the North and Northeast are Russia and China, both nuclear powers. And we are recommending dropping nuclear weapons complete with the accompaning fallout on their doorstep. Add in Israel with their own arsenal of 300+ nuclear weapons and you have a holocaust.


  6. Bob Smith,


    Please do not insult me. As I stated about, please read what I write before you fire off a criticism of what I write.


    I think post 28 addresses almost all of the issues you raise.


  7. Elgee,


    I did not say use nukes first.


    My article was about retaliation to an al Qaeda strike here which caused a gigantic loss of life. In a further comment I added the option of not retaliating at all after such an attack.


    It was about two possible ways the United States could retaliate against a nuclear or another WMD attack against the homeland.


    The reason I focused on our possibly using nuclear weapons was beause conventional bombs might be ineffective in the mountainous regions al Qaeda would be hiding.


    Please read my column, and my addtional comments 4, 11, 15, 16 and 17, before you call me irresponsible.


    I am interested in reader’s thoughts about how we would and/or should respond to a massive al Qaeda attack here.

  8. First, strike AQ “strongholds?” If we knew where there leaders were hiding, we’d go there with conventional weapons now.

    Second, if they are a threat to the continental US with WMD, the people with said WMDs would not be in Afghanistan or Pakistan, they would be elsewhere, probably here or Canada. Striking the mountains would only incent them to go ahead and use their alledged WMDs sooner rather than later.

    Third, the effects of nuclear weapons are always greatly overrated. A megaton weapon would only cause blast damage in a radius of a couple of miles, less in mountains. The fallout meanwhiloe, would contaminate millions of people and miss the targets. The so-called nuclear bunker buster will only cause damage within a few hundred feet of the surface, but will produce orders of magnitude higher fallout.

    Your suggestion is not only irrational, it is unfeasible, and would not only not stop AQ or other terror activity, it would undoubtedly usher in nuclear combat that would kill millions for no reason.

    Please go back to your practice and quit stating such utter nonsense in public places.

  9. Hal Brown, You say Use Nukes first?!! Just answer me: Why has Bush #43 stated that he has NO INTEREST in finding Bin Laden? Answer: Because then he can always say “there are terrorists out there!” To scare the public, that’s why he feels no need to capture him – he’d prefer to just “use” him. For you to jump directly to the suggestion to use nuclear weapons is IRRESPONSIBLE – and would begin the end to ALL of us on this fragil planet. There’s nowhere else we can ALL FLEE. Let’s try peace – we haven’t done THAT in more than 6 years now! Elgee

  10. Do not get me wrong I do not advocate Nuclear, chemical or Biological weapons. They scare me silly; I still remember the Duck and Cover commercials of the late 50s and the Duck and Cover drills in school and twenty years of training how to operate in those enviroments. I know what they can do, I know how stupid they are.

    All I’m saying is, if we are attacked with a Nuclear (includes radiological), Chemical or Biological weapon we respond massively. Just as if you are being attacked and you try to talk the attacker out of it, they won’t listen they want what you have or they don’t like you. The only way to stop them from coming back at you is to hurt them so bad they fear you in their soul.

    So what I said is IF a certain threshold is crossed then we respond as if our life depended upon it, because it does.

  11. In times gone by Klausewitz said war was the extension of diplomacy to gain something. What can possibly be gained with mutual destruction? Neutron bombs would not even allow cockroaches to stay alive.

  12. Rational people would not even think about using nuclear weapons of any size.

    It scares me to death that the Bush Cabal are not rational people, they have no room to call the Iranians dangerous or evil, they should look in the mirror.

    MAD says it all, Mutually Assured Destruction, how insane.

  13. The blast radius of a nuke is not infinite, and mountainous territory will redirect blast effects upward, greatly reducing the bombs’ efficiency. If we counteract that with more bombs, the fallout will increase. Unless you were lucky to get a direct hit, it would be like peeing on a forest fire.

    Prevailing winds would carry the fallout to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Russia, maybe even China. Do you think that India, Pakistan, and China would sit still for the massive irradiation of their countrysides? The eventual fallout from the bombings might be worse than the literal fallout.

    Nukes should be off the table for this kind of conflict. They just won’t do the job.

  14. Hal, you opened one gigantic can of worms which is exactly what you should have done! This must be discussed even if emotions and tempers are shown!! The end game of this war on terrorism must be discussed before we put another war president in the White House.

    Lots of good stuff here, on both sides!

  15. Well you can bet your mothers false teeth something is going to happen and the likely hood of it going nuclear is clear and scary. Can’t even begin to imagine all the global repercussions from something like this. To the so called terrorist this is a HOLY war and dieing is seen as a privilege rewarded by acquiring x number of virgins in paradise….and they REALLY believe this shit. Yes we have a corrupt government bent on acquiring personal wealth for the privilege few which is just as bad as wanting a bunch of young virgins to screw throughout eternity. Very little in this world could be considered sane anymore. The shit is going to hit the fan soon and when it does……who knows…….enjoy today while it still exsist.

  16. Well, I’ve spent past 40+ years understanding what nukes are. And I know exactly and precisely what they do. They are NOT toys. They should have never been invented. Oppenheimer and Sakharov whined and whimpered later that just maybe possibly perhaps they really shouldn’t have done what they did.

    Well, duh-h-h… Why couldn’t thay have figured that out before. And Teller was just one scarey-ass piece of (censored). When Teller croaked, I gave a sigh of relief that now the universe was a bit nice placer to call home.

    And Einstein should have been a bit more closed-lipped about some things.

    No nukes, no nukes, no nukes, no nukes. Period. No nukes. The radiation level our planet is already to damn high from the previous use of nukes and uranium-tipped weapons.

    I’ve seen the movie “The Peacemaker” and I know what you’re talking about. But responding with nukes is NOT a good idea. Too many people are dying of radiation-induced cancers as it is. No nukes is good nukes.

  17. MORE:

    According to Michael McConnell the new US intelligence chief, head of the 16 US spy agencies. Al-Qaeda represents the most serious threat to US interests.

    According to the BBC


    The retired admiral told the Senate Armed Services Committee that al-Qaeda elements were still trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.


    “They continue to plot attacks against the homeland and other targets with the aim of inflicting mass casualties. Indeed, al-Qaeda, along with other terrorist groups, continues to seek chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons or materials,” he said.

  18. I neglected to mention about where I thought al Qaeda would get a thermonuclear device, as opposed to a dirty bomb which I think they could make.


    Most likely I think they would buy it from a criminal organization who stole it from a facility in the former Soviet Union.


    These criminals are out only for money. If they have one, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is already a price on the table for such a device, I would guess it is a billion dollars or more in uncut diamonds.


    If this sounds too much like “24” or some such thriller, it may be a case of art imitating life.


    Think about it.


    If criminal have such a bomb the sale would probably be a one time deal and would be very risky. The price would have to make it worth their while. The fact that al Qaeda probably doesn’t have that kind of money right now doesn’t matter. These criminals aren’t the type one negotiates with. They know that at some point al Qaeda could obtain the money from middlemen acting for a nation like Iran.


    So far I have dealt only with nukes. This isn’t meant as a scare tactic, some sort of Bush/Cheney mushroom cloud crap. I suggest that if we were attacked with nukes the political decision to retaliate with nukes would more likely to have a degree of international acceptance.


    It is probably more likely that if and when we suffer a devastating attack, if will be with a dirty radioactive bomb, or with chemical or biological agents.


    So we can add to the discussion what readers think we would and should do if attacked in this way.

  19. GlennK,


    Yes, exactly, a nuclear attack against mountains because that is where, presumably al Qaeda would be well hidden after a mega-attack against the United States.


    In Vietnam we carpet bombed vast areas and still the Viet Cong survived in their networks of tunnels. And that was on flat land.


    I am not saying we would do it. I want to make it clear that I am not saying we should do it.


    I am saying that it is one option of retaliation that I think would be seriously considered.


    My column was about ways we might retaliate. However I want to state again clearly that the best option, even if the attack wiped Washington, might be to do nothing. This might be the prudent course of action for a President R. James Nicholson, or God help us, Michael Chertoff.


    The following is based on my limited unterstanding of what nuclear bombs can do. It is how I’d see them being used in the aforementioned mountains.


    If a nuclear bomb is timed to go off underground it makes a deep but relatively narrow crater. It is the ultimate bunker buster. This is the way we would use nukes to go after heavily reinforced underground Iranian (or North Korean) targets. In order to do this effectively we need to know where the sites are located.


    This would not be useful for attacking underground al Qaeda because presumably they could be anywhere within a fairly large area. No doubt they have many unused hideouts for just an eventuality.


    Instead we would explode the nuclear bombs at or somewhat above the surface in a manner calculated to collapse caves and tunnels over as large an area as possible. Qaeda would either die in the blast or be buried alive.


    Let’s try to have a civil debate on the important subject of a United States response to another al Qaeda attack on the homeland. One that like I said, will probably be far bigger than 9-11.


    After all, many experts predict, and polls show many Americans believe, that it isn’t a question of if this will happen, but of when.


    To GLENNK and all those who comment with ad hominem attacks: I am being serious. I am attempting to respond to comments. When I do so I show posters the same respect I expect back in return. Please refrain from using insulting terms like worthless blather if you seriously want a rational debate with me. It is a personal attack.

  20. Because Israel is just itching to bomb the crap out of its neighbors. (Yet again.) And the Mossad has reached its tentacles into all kinds of places. And I’m absolutely tired of the USA being Israel’s butt monkey. I’m neither jewish, christian, nor moslem, and, quite frankly, Israel doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. It’s no more important to me than Luxembourg or Monaco or Albania. How are lives of people in Israel any more important than the lives of other people elsewhere?

    Nukes are NOT an option. Period. For anyone. Period.

    Diplomacy. Good manners. Being polite and respectful. Cultural exchanges. Et cetera, et cetera. THESE are options.

    Moslems have a very strong revenge thing going on. If you screw them over, they’ll want to screw you over back. Tit for tat.

    I have noticed in my personal dealings with other people, if I’m polite and respectful to them, they return the favor. Isn’t that AMAZING? Who’da thunk it?

  21. Nuclear attack against what? Mountains?? Let’s get serious here what is all this worthless blather about? It’s just more scare the shit out of us talk about a bunch of guys with no nation. hardly a bunch that could manuf. a nuke without anyone knowing it.

  22. I thought I remembered this administration stating that if we are hit in any way, we would retaliate against Iran no matter who it was the hit the US. I can’t find a link for this, but I know I heard that about 18 months ago.

    So, does it really matter who it is that hits us? According to what this administration has said, we will strike Iran no matter who it is.

  23. .

    My column has nothing to do with the United States trumping up a case to justify any kind of attack against Iran, nuclear or otherwise.


    The administration isn’t talking publicly about using nukes along the Afghan Pakistan border as one possible way to retaliate should al Qaeda attack us here and cause hundreds of thousands, even a million, casualities. I assume it is being discussed in secret. I think it should be as it seems to me to be a military option.


    If al Qaeda attacked us they would anticipate a major retaliation, and would probably literally and figuratively go to gound in their mountain caves and tunnels where conventional bombs wouldn’t be very effective.


    What do readers think our response to an attack like this would and should be?


    I have seen no reference to Russia saying that should we use nuclear weapons to retaliate against a catastrophic attack, say one wiping out much of a major city along our coast or even to devastating Washington DC killing many of our leaders, they would attack us with nuclear weapons. Why should they?


    The most likely dire consequense to our using nukes to go after al Qaeda hideouts after they attacked us is destabilizing Pakistan, which is a nuclear power itself.


    But say Pakistan was taken over by an anti-American regime, what would they do? If they provided al Qaeda with nuclear weapons to be used against us, or far less likely, used them themselves, we would retailiate directly against them.


    This bears considerable discussion. There is no doubt that if we use nuclear weapons, even in response to a nuclear attack against us, we risk unleashing a limited, but still utterly horrible, worldwide series of nuclear exchanges.


    The is exactly why we should be discussing options of retaliation here, even if the option we choose is doing nothing but trying to prevent the next attack.

    That is a third alternative, one I neglected to mention and should have.


    The reason I wrote this article was because recent reports show that the Taliban is becoming a greater threat inside of Afghanistan, and because al Qaeda is quite possibly preparing for an attack against us that will make 9-11 look like a backyard July 4th party.


    Finally, I do not understand why what I wrote might be construed as a Mossad propaganda piece.


  24. Uh… what the hell is going on here? This is bogus. Is this some kind of Mossad propaganda piece? Not at all to CHB standards.

    Russia has already stated quite clearly that if nukes are used by the US, “consequences will be quite dire for the entire world,” i.e, Russia will respond by nuking the US.

    I repeat, what the hell is going on here?

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