Terror Alert

PENTAGON TAXI STAND, 1949:



Bob Robertson pulled George Valley into the backseat of his taxi.


George, he said excitedly, I’ve just been briefed by the president on the Soviet military. He’s going to announce to the American people that the Soviets now have the A-bomb; they exploded a bomb they call “Little Joe” in Kazakhstan last month.

Bob, replied Valley, with  a casual shrug: Okay, that now makes two of us with the bomb. But remember Bob, Russia is still a long ways away from our shores.

Not any longer, continued Robertson. The Soviets have reverse-engineered B-29s. They call them TU-4s, and they can fly them in over the Arctic and nuke St Louis.

It’s serious, George, terribly serious. The president will avoid mentioning the bombers in his address, but he'll have to deal with the issue very soon. As of right now, we have no way of stopping those planes; we don’t even have the capability of knowing when they are on the way or where they are.  George, you’ve got to do something about it.

Me! stammered Valley. Why me?

When Was It that We First Started Looking Skyward in Terror?