A number of years earlier…
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The Third Gulf War had only just begun. The U.S. president had determined that Iran must never again pose a threat, neither to Israel nor to its other Middle Eastern neighbors; nor, for the sake of national security and the world economy, should it remain capable of endangering the shipment of oil from the region. In response, the U.S. went nuclear for the second, but not for the last time in its' history; in a most major manor, launching a second volley of arms several orders of magnitude larger than the first blow delivered by Israel. All suspected Iranian nuclear sites received repeat strikes by several of our largest nuclear warheads. All other Iranian military sites were re- targeted with somewhat smaller nuclear strikes, smaller being quite relative in this context. Newly targeted were Iranian government buildings. These were destroyed beyond recognition by the largest conventional warheads in the United States’ inventory.
Soon afterward, a dirty nuclear bomb was smuggled into New York City and detonated in the financial district. Its origin could not be immediately determined.
China dared not respond beyond begign words, as their nuclear arsenal was dwarfed by that of the U.S. The Chinese also feared being held in some way culpable for the attack on New York.
The Russians likewise had little response aside from bemoaning the partial destruction of an important trading partner. Their statement was ambiguous as to which trading partner's partial disability caused their proclaimed woe. Any nuclear threat would have rung hollow due to decades of neglect in maintaining their nuclear arsenal.
The President of the United States of America announced to the world that henceforth, any credible threat, terrorist or military, to the U.S. or its allies would be considered an act of war against the U.S., incurring the gravest of consequences; an immediate response by the full- let me emphasize full- wrath and might of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Il was the first to test the limits of this new policy with a ranting speech threatening the U.S.and South Korea, as well as hinting he had supplied the dirty bomb that struck New York City, and following this with a successful test of a new long-range missile. In response, Pyongyang was reduced to rubble and a mile-wide swath north of the DMZ was obliterated. China used some of its own nuclear weapons to mitigate the oncoming influx of North Korean refugees.
The next challenger to the new policy of pre-emptive attacks was none other than the number one wanted man in the war on terror. He delivered a blistering attack against the West and the U.S. president’s recent actions, threatening massive retaliation, as well as implying that his organization had delivered the presumably North Korean weapon. Highly reliable intelligence indicated that his message was delivered live from the area of the Khyber Pass.
No cave-to-cave searches took place this time. The U.S. reply to his message was swiftly delivered by hundreds of thermonuclear warheads. Thousands of megatons (gigatons!) of instantaneously fusile destruction rained down upon the area, vaporizing millions of cubic yards of mountain rock and leaving the area for miles around resembling the aftermath of a massive volcanic upheaval, craters of rock and sand heated and then cooling to an opaque dirty glass filled with bubbles frozen in mid-boil. No more caves existed beneath the shattered landscape. A number of moderate earthquakes and aftershocks were triggered in the region by the unprecedented intensity of the blasts.
A multitude of voices, both at home and abroad, declared that the President had surely gone mad.
She didn’t care.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
- Ralph 'Where's Waldo' Emerson
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like. And I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins