Palmerston paused and shook his head at this point. "Actually this isn't what we really want. The big nukes are too messy. We prefer mini-nukes. America has had mini-nukes since 1959. The smallest, called the Davy Crockett, was deployed in 1961. The trouble is that it's not very useful for terrorist purposes. It's a bit too big and heavy. It weighs fifty pounds. It's also physically too big. It's eleven inches across. Our illuminati want smaller and lighter ones, the size of a coke bottle, and I think they are in the process of getting them. Those new mini-nukes, I hear, are much more useful. I hear that our operatives can strap them onto their bicycle instead of a water bottle, park the bike in a garage of a 200-foot apartment building and simply walk away. With a 10-ton explosive punch a twenty-story apartment building comes down in a cloud of dust. We tested a few of those new ones already. Also, the coke-bottle size makes it easy for our guys to stuff one of these down a six-inch sewer pipe, under the entrance of a stadium, for instance. We've tested the effectiveness of this process with one of the old models recently, probably a Davy Crockett. Our people stuffed one down a twelve-inch sewer pipe in front of a movie theatre and waited until the show ended. Our tiny nuke killed 200 people instantly that day, injured 300, destroyed fifty houses, and trashed a hundred cars. And that was only a 10-ton version. We have also tested a larger version of the Davy Crockett recently, a 22-ton device. With these already existing mini-nukes, we can pull down any building, anywhere in the world, under any circumstances. Of course, larger ones than these are also available to pull down power dams. I believe the larger version of the Davy Crockett type yields an equivalent explosive force up to a thousand tons of dynamite, and it is small enough to be hidden inside a vacuum cleaner, or a tool box, an ice chest, the case of an electric motor, a car seat, or a barrel of beer. Our friends in America built over 2,000 of them. Our agents have the required clearance to use them until the new replacements are stocked up in operational quantities."
"That's sick," I interjected.
"No, Peter, it isn't sick. That's the future," said Palmerston. "It's more efficient that way. The age of the big fish is over. It's too messy to use megaton-size bombs. Our friends in America have gone over board a bit on that front. Their latest strategic plan for a single operation has 16,000 targets designated for destruction with US nukes on the first round. That's a bit messy, don't you think? I would say that the age of the big fish is over and the age of the little fish, the age of nuclear terrorism, has begun. Our private little nuclear blast, the one that we staged in the sewer pipe, terrorized half the world. It would have terrorized more if we hadn't hushed the case up. We kept the lid on. We didn't want to let the word get out that this 'terrorist act' was a nuclear test. The lid stays on until we've got 10,000 of the new ones built. Our stooge, the US military, will build us a thousand a year, with a target of 10,000. You cannot imagine what plans we have already drawn up for those. I can only tell you that we got more political mileage out of our first little test blast, which people didn't even know was a nuke-blast, than Hitler had managed to get with a quarter million men at war in Stalingrad, which he lost in the end."
I shuddered and shook my head in disbelief.
"Terrorism is warfare, Peter. It's irregular warfare, and it's dirt-cheap," said Palmerston. "Also it kills far fewer people. It's the most efficient form of warfare there is. Hitler needed a whole squadron of his largest bombers to deliver the equivalent punch of twenty tones of dynamite. We can deliver it with a bicycle now, or in a lunch bag disguised as a thermos bottle. That's the achievement of subcritical testing. Our covert operation squads have long desired such capabilities. Once we've got a few tens of thousands built, we'll have absolute terror superiority."
"No you won't," I said. "All you'll have is another XB-70 Valkyrie, the most capable long-range bomber ever built, that was never put into service. It was one of the greatest achievements of aviation engineering, but it became obsolete before it could be mass-produced. Your mini-nukes will suffer the same fate. You won't be able to use them. The moment one of these goes off, the finger of blame will point straight at you."
"Oh, how small-minded you are, Peter!" said Palmerston. "We simply let the story leak that 5,000 mini-nukes have been stolen. Then nobody will know where to point the finger. Even of the big ones, more than twenty have been lost so far in accidents, which 'officially' have never been recovered. The Illuminate probably have them, and if they're used, the world will blame the terrorists. We may even supply the bread crumbs."
"The terrorists will deny any involvement with that," I said.
Palmerston just laughed. "Who will believe them? They are liars, murderers, inhuman beasts, who will believe any of them? In fact, when we supply the mini-nukes to our favorite terrorist illuminate on a need to have basis, we do this so covertly that the regular terrorist crowd wouldn't know anything about it, but they would pick up the blame. After all, as the old saying goes, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The difference is only a matter of perception, but nobody would point the finger at us."
I didn't protest anymore. I just shook my head.
"You must understand that in terrorism, the target isn't what you destroy," said Palmerston. "The victims are sacrificial. In the Vietnam War, the target wasn't Vietnam. When we set off the 10-ton bomb in the sewer pipe, the people that were killed weren't the target. In terrorism the target is society that is deeply torn up inside of it by the sheer horror of what we destroy. Our test case of the sewer explosion earned us more psychological mileage than the Hiroshima bomb did. The damage of the big Hiroshima bomb was too large to be comprehensible. But the damage that our little fish caused, was very much comprehensible. The little fish in the sewer hurled two tons of roadbed and gravel upwards and outwards, driven by a million-feet-per-second shockwave that expanded like a deadly fan of horror, cutting people into bloody ribbons and hurtling body parts over a distance of several blocks. This gore is what caused the real damage. Millions saw it. The gore gnawed at their humanity. It made them ideologically insane and politically pliable for the most insane demands. If this test had been followed up by several more explosions of the same type, coming out of the blue without warning, especially in crowded areas without anyone's suspicion, the mental shockwave would have been multiplied a hundred-fold. Once we are ready to do this, we can bring an entire nation to its knees in this manner, because people would sooner surrender their sovereignty than live in the shadow of such unspeakable terror. Indeed, that's what the atom bomb was designed to accomplish in the first place. Nor would anyone ever know who actually did it, because our Russian illuminate have the mini-nukes too, and there will soon be a third group to have them. This means that no rational reprisal is possible, or that any target can be chosen in the resulting rage for reprisal for what would likely escalate into a string of evermore-horrific terrorist acts. That's how we would create an open door for a major preemptive nuclear attack. No nation has the strength to withstand such a convulsion."
"You are insane," I said to him.
"Who would stand in our way, Peter? Reprisal to fight terrorism is globally accepted, and nobody would suspect us of having lit the terrorist-fuse ourselves. It's too unbelievable to be believed."
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