Try not to panic, but the government allegedly tried to nuke Charleston.

Again.

Several websites are claiming that President Barack Obama fired four top military officials because they refused to fire a nuclear weapon on the city — and then claim someone else did it.

They call this a “false flag attack.”

Instead, our patriotic military leaders reportedly detonated the nuke more than 600 miles out in the Atlantic on Oct. 8. And Obama got rid of them on trumped up charges.

This “intelligence” comes from the Kremlin, according to several conspiracy-minded websites, none of which are foxnews.com.

Word is, this plot unraveled when the Russians detected the earthquake caused by the blast.

Well, was there an earthquake last week? We could ask the U.S. Geological Survey office, but some knuckleheads shut down the government. Oddly enough, Gov. Nikki Haley has declared this “Earthquake Awareness Week” in South Carolina.

Coincidence?

The biggest question here — other than the obvious ones, of course — is this: Why does it always have to be Charleston?

It’s enough to make you think maybe those folks in D.C. really haven’t gotten over that little misunderstanding at Fort Sumter.

The clues add up

Eight years ago, similar websites claimed the George W. Bush administration was poised to detonate a nuclear bomb in Charleston.

Basically, anonymous bloggers said the Bush folks were going to blame it on Iran so they would have an excuse to go to war. As if they ever needed an excuse.

But why does Charleston always figure into these rumors? Conde Nast just named us the top tourist town in America for the third year in a row. Who would want to destroy that?

Maybe this has something to do with that 1983 movie “Special Bulletin,” about a nuclear bomb going off in Charleston. It’s on YouTube if you need a laugh.

Nah. This time it comes in part from a remark by our own Sen. Lindsey Graham, who last month told reporters that if we didn’t intervene in Syria, terrorists soon might be able to smuggle nuclear weapons into the Port of Charleston. He’s right, it’s a serious security concern.

At the same time, some right-wing bloggers were reporting that a nuclear weapon had gone missing from a Texas military base. And four high-ranking military officials — two of them high in the nuclear command — have indeed been fired in the past month.

This is all too much of a coincidence for some people.

Now that this plot has been thwarted, these websites claim to not know what move the “Obama regime” will make next. But it will be designed to cause chaos and undermine the American economy.

Sounds familiar.

Behind the scenes

So, should we worry?

In 2005, the Post and Courier wrote about the ruse that was going to lead to a nuclear attack on Charleston, and the conspiracy theorists went all mushroom cloud.

They claimed the article made fun of them. But then they said that because we reported on Bush’s evil plan, he couldn’t carry it out. Convenient, huh?

Basically, they said the paper saved the city. What an advertising campaign: Saving the city from nuclear bombs since 2005. Subscribe now!

Of course, the newspaper would never, ever make fun of such a serious subject as the president launching an attack to ruin America. Mainly because no matter how many facts you offer to the contrary, people believe what they want to believe.

And it fits their belief that the “Obama regime” is trying to destroy America. After all, that’s what this mess in Washington is really all about.

You’re not supposed to question the details. You’re just supposed to listen to increasingly crazier conspiracy theories, such as Obama wants to nuke Charleston.

But ask yourself this: How is a government that can’t keep the Grand Canyon open going to turn the Holy City into a crater?

At this rate, the bloggers will soon claim the real reason that House Republicans shut down the government was to save Charleston from nuclear annihilation.

And why not? It makes about as much sense as what they’ve said so far.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com