Ides of Ramadan

Dorian Dale further contemplates conflict with Iran and imagines the screenplay that might ultimately find its way to the Silver Screen. (Inspired by real and potentially real events. Bonus points if you can identify the mystery couple.)

Coming Soon to a Theater of War Near You!

In his day job, he thinks the unthinkable
in terms of nuclear conflict.
She focuses on nuclear forensics so that,
when the unthinkable occurs, it can be sourced. 
It’s not a matter of if…. It’s a matter of when.

INT PAN: Pews in National Cathedral, Washington, DC, last Saturday in May.

WIDE SHOT FROM FIFTH PEW: Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, sporting a Cee Lo Green-sized cross, presides over nuptials of handsome young couple.

CUT TO SIXTH PEW, POV PARTIALLY BLOCKED:  Sam Elliot, looking all Foggy Bottom in his chargé d’affaire seersucker suit, whispers to Ryan Gosling, in conventional, slim black Armani: “Here we are close enough to the wedding party to seem like we’re invited guests – Rule #43, Wedding Crashers.”

CUT TO AERIAL SHOT: Conga-line of stretch limos heads SE on Massachusetts Ave in the direction of DuPont Circle.  It’s high noon, balmy & sunny.

ZOOM TO HIGH-ANGLE:  Just before the Iraqi Embassy, motorcyclist drives slowly down meridian, passenger appearing to touch limos as they pass and then take a quick left up 35th St.

CUT TO WIDE SHOT EXT: Limos arriving at beaux arts mansion housing Cosmos Club.

CUT TO SHOULDER-MOUNTED POV PANS: Elliot leads Gosling on head-spinning tour of Who’s Who wedding reception, starting in the patio garden where chic geeks are hanging with DC artistes and water polo teammates from the bride’s college days.  Maroon 5 is covering “99 Luftballons.”

CLOSE-UP: Karl Lagerfield of the equine pony-tail, egret-white against black suit, blackout shades and SS-issue black leather gloves holds court über alle surrounded by Capitol Movement dance troupe peacocking for a runway assignment from the great fashion designer. To the side, water polo players are trolling for modeling tips from the groom’s brother, former #1 in Lagerfield’s stable back in the designer’s Brokeback Mountain stage. Instead, they hear of his goal to be another Donald Trump.

CUT TO BIRD’S EYE: Groom, glancing furtively around, places envelope on wedding cake. The hyper-ambitious millennial groom is not quite super-model material but has been mistaken for Jude Law’s younger brother on more than one occasion. His quant skills have persuaded his moderately wealthy, newly minted father-in-law that footing the bill for a reception at DC’s venerable Cosmos Club provides value-added for attracting Beltway investors. In actuality, it is the exotically beautiful bride with the look of Gisele Bundchen’s younger sister who has persuaded daddy, but Judebro is never loath to take credit.

Judebro and Giselsis are comers in the firmament of geopolitical influence, his status affirmed by the recent publication of “Time to Attack Iran” in Foreign Affairs. In his day job, he thinks the unthinkable in terms of nuclear conflict. She focuses on nuclear forensics so that, when the unthinkable occurs, it can be sourced. It’s not a matter of whether nukes will be used, but when. Proliferation think tankers feed off this self-fulfilling prophecy. To answer how 20-something novices are positioned to weigh in on Prometheus Unbound, look to powerful patrons that make Washington the land of opportunistic oracles.

Think tanking is but one driver of conflict with Iran that has not seen the light in Gosling’s Manichaean world view. The indie media mini-mogul is consumed with an octopus of global oil manipulation—Morgan Stanley—who, by his reckoning, would foment armed conflict to profit from wild upward spirals of world crude prices.

ELLIOT: “Traders, as Trading Places reminds us, Gosling, are but bookies who profit whether the price goes up or down. Note that even a comprehensive command of applied chaos theory catches on the interconnections of string theory.”

CUT TO UPSTAIRS BALL-ROOM: Older, decidedly less hip crowd. Martina McBride is countrifying “Wooden Ships.”

GOSLING: “Who’s that wagging his finger at the balding, bearded guy and his bevy of boobalaheads?

ELLIOT: “That’s Valerie Plame’s hubby, going all Sean Penn on the self-styled Darth Vader of neo-cons who suckered Bush into featuring Saddam’s (non) purchase of yellow cake uranium in the 2003 State of the Union. And that blonde bombshell over there…”

PAN TO: Threesome clustered around bombshell.

ELLIOT: “Valerie Plame, if that really is her name.”

GOSLING: “So that’s the outed CIA op? Think I’d rather go under cover with Naomi Watts.”

CUT TO CLOSE UP: Bombshell Plame is disarming a DOE physicist, resembling Renee Zellweger with a dust-mop do, a world-weary defense analyst—picture Gary Oldman going DIA with LeCarré’s Smiley—and Judebro’s PhD thesis advisor from UC Berkeley who could be Dr. House’s alter-ego.

PLAME: “There have been at least 25 incidents of lost or stolen nuclear explosive material we know of.”

ZELLWEGER: “That’s why the personal dosimeter card I designed can be so critical in an event.”

PLAME: “Though Cold War arsenals have been reduced from 70,000 to 23,000, there remains enough highly enriched uranium to build more than 100,000 weapons. Counter-proliferation was my beat; there’s no graver threat than nuclear terrorism. We must go for Global Zero nukes!”

HOUSE: “Well, Ms. Plame, some why nots are offered in Judebro’s thesis, ‘The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Customer,” in which he provides solid, quantified data of what incentivizes weak nuclear states to transfer nuclear technology.”

OLDMAN: “From the mouth of babes. Wait till a black swan crosses his theories.”

MUTED BLAST: Emanating, seemingly, from front of club. Ballroom populace rush to windows.

AERIAL POV: Smoke rising from left rear panel of one of the limos.

OLDMAN: “Looks like a sticky bomb.”

BUMPY HAND-HELD CAM: Plame bolts downstairs and outside to smoking limo; pulls NeutronRAE II personal radiation detector from holster strapped to thigh.

PLAME: “It’s reading for weapons-grade plutonium. The area needs to be evacuated.”

GISELSIS: “Ms. Plame, you should take a look at this card from atop the wedding cake.”

CLOSE-UP: Card reads: “BEWARE IDES OF RAMADAN – anniversary 67 of Hiroshima.

FADE TO BLACK: Soundtrack: Tom Lehrer’s “Who’s Next?”

Author: Dorian Dale

Dorian Dale’s writing has appeared in journals ranging from Government Security News to Dads World. He is the 8th Distinguished Citi Fellow at the NYU’s Stern School of Business and a member of the Associations of Old Crows and Former Intelligence Officers. Submissions fielded at

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