This Space for Rent

Great moments in military strategy, Evil Party style

Imagine that it's 2007 and you're an Iranian general somewhere in the south of Iran and part of the forces under your control are two or three of the new Persian nukes that Iranian engineers have managed to whip into shape for being the payloads on some of the recently developed Iranian IRBM's. For some reason, you're down in the radar room and you get to watch, in realtime, a flock of missiles materialize out in the middle of the gulf and start heading, in that sort of distressingly fast way that nuclear missiles do, in your general direction.

If those missiles are heading towards your missile base, you're likely to be part of a rapidly expanding ball of plasma in about 90 seconds. But, since the likely owner of those missiles is the Great Satan, who has conveniently been making "we're going to get you because we're an insane superpower!" noises ever since they replaced their government with a powermad junta, your new missiles are launch-ready and can, if you push the launch button now, be 5 miles up and heading for, oh, somewhere interesting before the Great Satan's missiles vapourise you.

Not much of a decision, is it? Die cowering, or die fighting. The button is pushed and three American military bases (the damned Kuwaiti base is saved because the stupid missile split apart during launch) are glassed 90 seconds after your military base, Tehran, and a dozen other Iranian cities die.

BUT WAIT! You're leaving out one important thing! It's possible that those missiles are actually armed with non-nuclear warheads, and you're going to be starting (for a change) a nuclear war with the United States for no good reason. So, are you going to decide differently? Pfft, of course not. The United States has thousands of nuclear weapons, and every single submarine is carefully loaded with those missiles at the (distressingly out of range, but perhaps North Korea can reach them during the second round of the Last War) Trident Refit Facility at Bangor. The cosmetic rearming of a few missiles with conventional bombs is obviously just a propaganda ploy, because nobody would waste a ballistic missile on something that can be easily carried by a jet. Push the button? Hell, yes.

(cheerful vision of the future courtesy of the US Department of Defense, via The Nation)