As it turned out, the United States did suffer a shocking surprise attack not long after Infinity's writeup - not in the Persian Gulf, but on our own soil.

It's tempting to go after the military silliness of the USS Eisenhower scenario (such as the inability of F-14's to reach, say, Israel, or then-extant US bases in Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait, or perhaps Turkey, or even Egypt, and so on), but let's consider the US vs The World paranoia of the scary fairy tale against the recorded facts of the worldwide reaction to the real attack:

Paranoid Fantasy: "30 minutes after the attack, OPEC announced that it was shutting down the flow of oil."

Reality: "Whereas the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has announced that all of its member countries `remain committed to continuing their policy of strengthening market stability and ensuring that sufficient supplies are available to satisfy market needs' and `are prepared to use their spare capacity, if deemed necessary, to achieve those goals';" - US House Resolution 238 - September 14, 2001


Paranoid Fantasy: "France has declared its neutrality."

Reality: "France is deeply upset to learn of the monstrous attacks that have just struck the United States.... In these terrible circumstances, all French people stand by the American people. We express our friendship and solidarity in this tragedy." - President Jacques Chirac, France


Paranoid Fantasy: "Germany has made no statement"

Reality: "the German people stand by the United States of America at this difficult hour... I want to express to you my deep condolences and my unlimited solidarity to you and the American people. Our sympathy goes to the victims and their relatives... They were not only attacks on the people in the United States, our friends in America, but also against the entire civilized world, against our own freedom, against our own values, values which we share with the American people. We will not let these values be destroyed – in Europe, America or anywhere in the world." - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Germany


Paranoid Fantasy: "Russia has warned us not to retaliate, or they may have to take action"

Reality: "The entire international community should unite in the struggle against terrorism this is a blatant challenge to humanity." - President Vladimir Putin, Russia


Paranoid Fantasy: "China has not yet issued any statement or shown any other reaction."

Reality: "I wish to express, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our deepest sympathy and solicitude to you and, through you, to the Government and people of the United States. I wish also to extend our condolences to the families of the victims." - President Jiang Zemin, China


Paranoid Fantasy: "Israel has declared their allegiance to the U.S., but the State Department has told them to be quiet as any connection with Israel could ruin our chances of getting an ally among the Arab states."

Reality: "Irrespective of the conflict with America it is a human duty to show sympathy with the American people, and be with them at these horrifying and awesome events which are bound to awaken human conscience." - Moammar Gadhafi, Libyan Leader

Reality: "I send my condolences, and the condolences of the Palestinian people to American President Bush and his government and to the American people for this terrible act....We completely condemn this serious operation.... We were completely shocked.... It's unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable." - Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat

Reality: "Egypt firmly and strongly condemns such attacks on civilians and soldiers..." - President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt

Reality: "...deep regret and sympathy with the victims... It is an international duty to try to undermine terrorism." - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami

In October of 2000, the USS Eisenhower scenario was based on a wildly inaccurate view of the world's opinion of the United States. In 2006, it seems much less implausible.

But then this country has always been full of self-fulfilling prophesies. I'm counting the hours 'till we get back to some good ones.