Out of the Box
In 2009 on this day American officials confirmed for the first time that the ruling Ba'ath Party had indeed detonated a nuclear device a week before, citing radioactive debris found in air samples collected in the Western desert of Iraq.
The office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement: Analysis of air samples collected on Nov. 19, 2009, detected radioactive debris which confirms that the Government of Iraq conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of Akashat on Nov. 16, 2009. The day after the blast, the Pentagon dispatched Air Force planes with special radiation detectors into international air space near the Syrian border.
The great nation of Iraq joined India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea as the fifth sovereign state to posses their own nuclear weapons program outside the signatory list of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In a stand-up televised address from the Oval Office, forty-fourth US President Joseph I. Lieberman confirmed to the American people that Saddam Hussein was now out of the strategic box and able to threaten Iraq's neighbors.
The fifteen year policy pursued by three successive Democratic Presidential administrations had been most effectively articulated by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at Wingate University on March 25, 1997. In her keynote speech American Leadership for the 21st Century: Doing What's Right and Smart for America's Future, Albright stated Today, as a result of American diplomatic and military leadership from Administrations of both parties, our citizens are safer than at any time in memory. Russian warheads no longer target our homes, and nuclear weapons have been removed from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan. North Korea's nuclear weapons program has been frozen and will be dismantled.Iraq's Saddam Hussein remains trapped in a strategic box, unable to threaten Iraq's neighbors--or us.
Multilateral efforts would continue through diplomatix channels, said Lieberman, as America leveraged the prestige of her global leadership to find a peaceful solution to the crisis with friends and allies. Substantive dialogue would be pursued with the governments of France and Russia, who many Americans blamed - quiet wrongly in the President's view - for breaking the international consensus on Iraq in the late 1990s.
Lieberman expressed confidence that the UN Security Council could develop a common strategy that encouraged Iraq to dismantle her nuclear weapons program, easing tension in the Middle East.
Having read Tim Trevan's now dated book Saddam's Secrets - the Hunt fort Iraq's Hidden Weapons about UNSCOM from 1999, it is of course startling to read his conclusion that perhaps nothing can be done to eliminate Saddam. Of course now we look back with a slightly different perspective, yet Trevan's account of the cat-and-mouse game with the UN Inspectors is of course a key element in the drama. So we've chosen Joe Liebermann's less than belligerent personae to explore a neo-conservative dystopian vision of the future where Trevan's worst fears are realised. It does not reflect our views, it is simply another anti-war perspective.
According to Albright's memoirs, she once argued with Colin Powell for the use of military force by asking, What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can't use it?
Steve Payne, Editor Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.