Monday, September 23, 2002
In an alternate universe, in the near future:
Terrorists nuke D.C.
President Gore vows: 'They will pay'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- President Al Gore, speaking at a fund-raiser at the Commonwealth Club here, reacted angrily to news that terrorists detonated a small "briefcase nuke" in Washington, D.C., destroying the Capitol and the White House and leaving thousands dead.
"I'm furious. Really, I am," Gore told reporters when informed of the news.
Gore said his administration's first step would be to drain Iraqi accounts frozen since that country's invasion of Kuwait and place the money in the Social Security lockbox.
Terrorist Osama bin Laden, whom the Gore administration believes may be involved in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, claimed responsibility for the attack in a video aired by Al-Jazeera.
"Allah be blessed," bin Laden said in the tape. "And may Allah's blessings rain down on the great Saddam Hussein who provided us with device."
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein went on Iraqi national television to announce that Iraq was now a nuclear power.
"No longer will we be subject to UN resolutions or the Great Satan's 'no-fly' zones," Hussein said. "Unless the Americans respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi people, we will detonate nuke after nuke in major American cities."
Asked for a reaction to the Iraqi leader's claims, Gore administration officials said there was no evidence Iraq had more nuclear weapons.
"We suspected that he might have had one nuclear weapon, but there's no way that he has more," said a senior administration official.
The official also said that it appeared that Hussein's prior claims that he did not possess weapons of mass destruction "may have been false."
Gore said that he would call for a U.N. resolution authorizing sanctions against whatever nation is responsible for today's attack.
"Getting the support of the international community is key," Gore said.
Gore proposed following a path similar to that he followed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, one that resulted in tough sanctions against Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Nearly two years after the destruction of the Twin Towers and the attack on the Pentagon, Afghanistan is suffering a shortage of food and medicine, but has still refused to give up bin Laden.
Gore acknowledged that there have been sanctions in effect against Iraq since shortly after the end of the 1991 Gulf War, but said that they must be given sufficient time to work.
"I'm confident that sanctions and the goodwill understanding of the international community are the best way to protect the United States from future terrorist attacks," Gore said.