A terrorist nuclear bomb in Manhattan or Washington isn’t a thriller writer’s fantasy; it’s a probability… More alarmist language from an NRO conservative? Well, that quotation is from David Ignatius in today’s Washington Post. Ignatius points to Graham Allison’s idea for restoring deterrence: create a “nuclear forensics” that can identify the signature of fissile material of every potential nuclear state. That proposal is put forward in this paper by Robert Gallucci (in a volume edited by Allison). (See especially the short final section, pp. 55-58.) Galluci’s idea sounds like a good one, although by his own account, it is in no way foolproof. And consider Gallucci’s initial assessment: “…it is more likely than not that al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates will detonate a nuclear weapon in a U.S. city within the next five to ten years.”
As I said in my recent piece, “It’s the Nukes, Stupid,” it’s the nukes stupid. Ever since we failed to find WMD’s in Iraq, this country has been ignoring and downplaying the very real threat that it faces. And useful proposals like Galluci’s notwithstanding, I’m afraid that preventative war is about the only option left to prevent the nuclear catastrophe that even these liberal Democrat security experts predict.
By the way, I’ve got a review of Mark Steyn’s excellent and important new book, America Alone, coming out shortly in NRODT. Steyn argues that once untraceable terrorist nukes start going off in the United States, we are likely to see non-state actors emerge in the West determined to retaliate with nuclear blasts in the cities of the Middle East. I find this fairly plausible.