December 19, 2011

Do you worry about an electromagnetic pulse attack?

Gingrich does.
"Such an event would destroy our complex, delicate high tech digital society in an instant and throw all our lives back to an existence equal to that of the Middle Ages," he wrote in an introduction to "One Second After," a 2009 science-fiction novel by William Forstchen. He has returned to this theme during the campaign.

The usual media suspects have recently run skeptical stories on his "doomsday vision" and "silly science." They claim that terrorists aren't close to getting a nuclear weapon and that no country would dare try an EMP attack. But then few imagined a terror attack using airplanes against the twin towers or anthrax in letters.

112 comments:

Robert Cook said...

"But then few imagined a terror attack using airplanes against the twin towers...."

This is not true...our government had considered the possibility of such attacks and had apparently run simulation drills a couple of times of just such an attack.

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/info/
index.html

It's been well-known since Condoleezza Rice made her claim before Congress that ""no one could have anticipated" such attacks that she was lying.

TMink said...

Middle ages? No. 1950s? Sure. If an emp attack happens, record players will be in, as will tube amps. Solid state and integrated chips? Not so much.

Trey

Hoosier Daddy said...

A nice solar flare could do the same thing. Definitely a likelier event than the oceans overtaking Manhatten.

Skyler said...

It's not a stupid fear at all.

In military intelligence, they typically present the enemy's most likely course of action and the most dangerous course of action. Both are important and should be planned for.

An EMP attack is one of the worst and most dangerous things we could face because it would completely disrupt, permanently, our ability to use most existing electrical devices. The odds of it happening are not great, but the result is still reasonably possible and so terrible that we should consider taking some sort of counter actions to prevent it, such as EMP hardening our power plants and critical electrical devices such as automobiles. This should not be done by the government, of course, but a commander in chief should be articulating such real threats so that people voluntarily protect themselves.

Bru said...

Yes. "One Second After" was one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read, in part because it was so well researched.

And the claim that no country would ever try it is patently absurd. Iran keeps saying it wants to destroy us, and it knows it can't do that by launching a couple of ICBMs launched from the Middle East. It could, however, destroy our country by launching a couple of missiles from a freighter in the Gulf of Mexico and then detonating the missiles at an altitude of about 200 miles at two different points above our country. The EMP from each explosion would render useless anything that needs a computer chip to run, which is everything in our country, within the explosion's horizon.

Newt is wrong when he says such an event would knock us back to the Middle Ages. I think it would knock us back even further because we don't have any infrastructure in place that can function without modern electronics.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... They claim that terrorists aren't close to getting a nuclear weapon..."

Well I doubt the Jihadis equivalent of SPECTRE probably can't build one, I would not put it past the NORKS or Pakis to lose or loan one out.

Obama lamented Hiroshima so I don't see him retaliating in kind.


"... and that no country would dare try an EMP attack..."

Of course not. Perish the thought.

Robert Cook said...

"Iran keeps saying it wants to destroy us...."

Do they? Where?

We certainly keep saying we want to destroy them.

AJ Lynch said...

It was a very good book. After I read it, I wondered why our elected leaders are not more focused on that kind of national safety risk. Insead, we have career pols [Lahood} and career bureaucrats [NTSB Chairman, Nancy Hershman with her B.S.in poli sci] bloviating against using a cell phone while driving.

Bru said...

Trey, sorry, it wouldn't be the 1950s. To return to the 1950s, we'd still need a functional electrical grid, which a well-executed EMP attack would destroy.

DADvocate said...

Great. Another thing to worry about. Nuclear attacks, biological attacks, crashing airplanes, IEDs, car bombs, rioting OWS protesters, texting drivers, etc.

I'd rather be sent back to the 1950s than blown to pieces.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I don't worry much about this though. Mr. Cook remarked once on this blog that after 9/11, the terrorists had shot their wad.

MadisonMan said...

I wondered why our elected leaders are not more focused on that kind of national safety risk.

Evidence that they're ignoring it?

As to whether I worry about it? Not especially. Not much that I can do about it. I spent many a sleepless night as a kid worrying about nuclear annihilation. I've finally learned to cease the senseless worries.

Ann Althouse said...

""But then few imagined a terror attack using airplanes against the twin towers...." This is not true...our government had considered the possibility of such attacks and had apparently run simulation drills a couple of times of just such an attack."

I had trouble imagining it after it happened, even after I had seen it on TV a hundred times. I had to keep re-thinking "that happened" every minute and each time I woke up after sleeping for many days before I really absorbed it. Maybe all I really did was push it down to some level of half-forgetting.

So tell me: Can you imagine suddenly being plunged into life after an EMP attack? Are you ready for it? I'm not.

Anton said...

Yes, I do.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Do they? Where?..."

Is Death to the Great Satan a hard concept to understand?

We certainly keep saying we want to destroy them.

Do we? Where?

AJ Lynch said...

Professor:

There'd be no internet so you'd have plenty of time to go down to the river to do the wash.Heh.

Robert Cook said...

"So tell me: Can you imagine suddenly being plunged into life after an EMP attack? Are you ready for it? I'm not."

No, I'm not.

As to your finding the attacks on the Twin Towers unimaginable even after they occurred, I work in the area, and I saw a good part of the events unfold. Even so, it was not until we we returned to work over a week later--as our office was closed for a time--and I saw the empty sky where the towers had been, which I would see every morning as I emerged from the subway--it was not until then that it really hit me that the building were gone.

Robert Cook said...

"Is Death to the Great Satan a hard concept to understand?"

Please.

Heart_Collector said...

EMP is the most realistic worse case scenario imo.

The fact we even let countrys threaten nuclear wepon development as bargaining chips is scary indeed.

We encourage the enemy to do this to gain concessions when they should be wiped out in a first strike no questions asked.

Pakistan, Iraq and North Korea should be the first countrys to go imo.

If even a whisper of such action promoted deadly force destruction people would wise the fuck up and the world would be a better place.

Robert Cook said...

"Mr. Cook remarked once on this blog that after 9/11, the terrorists had shot their wad."

They did. Most of the death and destruction since has been our doing.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... "So tell me: Can you imagine suddenly being plunged into life after an EMP attack? Are you ready for it? I'm not.".."

It wouldn't be pleasant but I'd manage. The wife and child would have to get used to eating venison and rabbit but we wouldn't starve.

Be pretty sucky for the caramel mocha triple latte crowd though.

AJ Lynch said...

Hoosier- but think of all the jobs that would be created? blacksmith, outhouse builder, stage coach driver etc

Hoosier Daddy said...

".. Hoosier- but think of all the jobs that would be created? blacksmith, outhouse builder, stage coach driver etc.."

No kidding. EMP Attack: the new shovel ready stimulus plan!

ic said...

Why wouldn't anyone dare an EMP attack? Our drones would be grounded, all GPS-triangulations gone, we're blinded: no air supports and communications for our ground troops, Tomahawks wouldn't know where to go. The only scenario to defeat the big bad Satan, if we had not destroyed ourselves first. A lot of our enemies are technological savvy and hate our guts. The Germans, the French, the Chinese, the Islamists who obtained their electronic engineering degress from Euro and American U's, the Pakistanis, ...

Someone had hacked and downed our drone over Iran.

Scott M said...

Joe can back me up on this as it's been a running gag for a while now between us, but I've been harping on this as a real threat since the first time it was brought up in a congressional hearing.

Iran has been holding tests with a ocean freighter with a missile launch system built into its belly. The launch scaffolding rises up through the feux freight deck and launches from there. Given the amount of ocean freight traffic coming into this country on a daily basis, a) it could get very close before launching thus cutting any response time to almost nil, and b) such a launch platform would be extremely difficult to find afterward. The latter assumes they don't just crew the thing with a suicide crew.

The implications of a successful EMP attack on even just the northeastern seabord (during the middle of winter, during a blizzard, for instance) would be horrifying.

Imagine Hurricane Katrina aftermath just about everywhere.

Bender said...

Many of us here in the D.C. area (and I suspect New York as well) have long understood the odds of a nuclear explosion at some point at 50-50.

Whether or not one is still surprised at a group of Islamists hijacking airplanes with box cutters and then nearly crashing the entire U.S. economy, no one around here should be surprise to see a bright flash outside their window, followed a split second later by an enormous heat/blast wave.

EDH said...

Althouse: So tell me: Can you imagine suddenly being plunged into life after an EMP attack? Are you ready for it? I'm not.

Half the people here would go nuts if Althouse just refrained from posting for a couple of days.

Cedarford said...

A true EMP bomb will have to be a thermonuclear weapon, a few hundred kilotons minimum, launched into space high space 300km or so up. For the US & Canada, you would need several, as well.

That would be only in the ability of a certain handful of nations...and our response would be use of our thermonuclear deterrent - including against civilian populations in cities (any nukes get used, Hague and Geneva get thrown out and US civilian courts are no longer in sitting status to have lawyers go and sue to block a counterattack).

So while in the realm of "the possible" it is deemed unlikely given the return gift of the US thermonuclear arsenal coming down on them. And we have already signalled to all parties that if terrorists get a nuke weapon capacity from some country - the retaliation is not on the terrorists, but their sponsor.

We are also still busily at work hardening government...and are more and more looking at hardening critical civilian sectors. Indeed, it is one reason why we have slowed the move to a chip-controlled "smart" electric grid and still build analog electrical protection relays into the Grid, have analog comm and signal and radar capacities.

singleton said...

The only reason Iran has not taken Israel out with it's Nukes is that it is waiting until they have enough to make a big enough bomb to take out the US with a big EMP high enough to cover the country

Bender said...

It is mad to rely upon MAD when dealing with the likes of Iran, whose leadership would be all too happy to sacrifice its entire population. Unlike the Soviets, the Islamists are fanatic members of a death cult. When adherents eagerly strap on suicide bombs, MAD is no longer a deterrent.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Can you imagine suddenly being plunged into life after an EMP attack? Are you ready for it? I'm not."

Yes. I can imagine it. I have thought about it quite a bit and thought about what would I miss the most from our pampered society should it happen.

Music (most of which is now digitized), computers, instant access to information. Light at night as a given instead of a luxury. Warmth at the flick of a switch. Long hot showers. Appliances that make our life easy: clothes washers, dryers, electric and natural gas stoves. The ability to travel at will with ease. FOOD!!! most of which is transported out of season or manufactured. Our diets would radically change.

Am I ready. A bit.

The Drill SGT said...

Fractional Orbital Bombardment System

Anybody that can launch a satellite has the capability, subject to payload restrictions, to put a nuke over the US with a certain amount of ambiguity about the source.

The electric grid and Diesel electric trains are the big issues.

a successful mid America EMP attack would knock down the electric grid, cell phones, land line phones and the transportation network.

millions would starve in a very short time when the food shipments stop.

Anarchy in days, not weeks.

PS: equipment not plugged in or turned on might survive.

Robert Cook said...

"It is mad to rely upon MAD when dealing with the likes of Iran, whose leadership would be all too happy to sacrifice its entire population."

And you've arrived at this conclusion...how?

We have always dehumanized those we consider our enemies--as all humans and all nations and tribes do--in order to think of them as somehow not like us, as not quite human, and therefore we sleep easier or are even a little excited at the thought of slaughtering them en masse.

This is the same sort of thinking that leads to genocides.

Scott M said...

And you've arrived at this conclusion...how?

Please.

The Drill SGT said...

Bender said...
Many of us here in the D.C. area (and I suspect New York as well) have long understood the odds of a nuclear explosion at some point at 50-50.


Wife and I are both working downwind of the WH today....

on a lighter note, there is a great Colin Powell story. In 1991, when Powell was the CJCS and the USSR had collapsed, for the first time the Russian Defense Minister was getting a Pentagon visit. As the leaders were going from the entrance over to the JCS spaces they cut across the courtyard. For those not in the know, there was a Kiosk/snackbar that was in the center of the courtyard.

It was knicknamed "Ground Zero" for obvious reasons.

Anyway, Powell says to the Translator, "tell the Minister that we call this place, "Ground Zero".

The translator translated, and the Minister replied. "Yes, so do we :)"

Robert Cook said...

ScottM, that's not an answer. We have no reason to think the leadership of Iran is willing to sacrifice their entire population--in effect, to accept the immolation of their entire country, in order to "get" America. Can you show where their statements or actions over time demonstrate such a heedlessness toward consequences, such a suicidal lunacy?

Bru said...

Mr. Cook,

You cite a 9/11 Truther website in your first comment, so please know you don't have any credibility in my book.

In terms of Iran, their current President says that Israel should be wiped off the map, calls the U.S. "the Great Satan," and has plans for taking over most of the Persian Gulf states. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2010/05/dont_let_iran_blackmail_the_world.single.html

Scott M said...

ScottM, that's not an answer.

You're right. It's a cite from your 9:14 post. Your observation that it's not an answer is especially astute.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... In terms of Iran, their current President says that Israel should be wiped off the map, calls the U.S. "the Great Satan," and has plans for taking over most of the Persian Gulf states..."

I'm certain he doesn't really mean it.

Curious George said...

Okay, the $64,000 question. Would it knock out my Xbox360? Because if we are going to be plunged into the middle ages there's going to be a lot of time to kill.

traditionalguy said...

In the world where electronics are fried or vulnerable to that, the military will have to return 100 years and become horse powered.

Spielberg has a new movie called War Horse. He may be as prescient as Gingrich is.

This factoid may be why militarization of space is a Chinese and American race.

Robert Cook said...

"Mr. Cook,

"You cite a 9/11 Truther website in your first comment, so please know you don't have any credibility in my book."


That was simply the first site that came up when I did a google search...I have no idea whose site it is. However, it has been much discussed over the years that Washington had imagined terrorists crashing planes into buildings, and had run drills on the idea. Can you say the references therein are false?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Is Death to the Great Satan a hard concept to understand?"

Please..."

I guess it is. No great surprise there.

edutcher said...

As Cook and others have noted, the people who are paid to worry about this country being attacked worry about this threat and, as Cedar points out, it would most like be the side effect of a nuclear attack although there are other means.

Robert Cook said...
"Iran keeps saying it wants to destroy us...."

Do they? Where?


"Death To America" ring any bells?

And, yes, dear boy, they have been acting on it.

Bender said...

OK, so I point out the futility and wrongheadedness of thinking that we can simply kill millions of Iranians if they dare bomb us, and you respond with -

"This is the same sort of thinking that leads to genocides."

Why is it that every time I read a comment of yours, I cringe at why you must once again prove yourself a fool?

Robert Cook said...

ScottM, I know you were quoting me, but there is a difference between someone quoting nonsense like extremists shouting "death to the Great Satan" and showing that Iran has declared it wishes to destroy us. That would be like quoting Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs--or John Bolton--and asserting they represent the policy views of the U.S. Government.

It doesn't warrant a serious response.

Cedarford said...

Drill SGT - "Anyway, Powell says to the Translator, "tell the Minister that we call this place, "Ground Zero".

The translator translated, and the Minister replied"So do we."

================

For all their faults, the Russians, through centuries of suffering, have developed a cynical, dark, sardonic, wonderful sense of humor.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Okay, the $64,000 question. Would it knock out my Xbox360? Because if we are going to be plunged into the middle ages there's going to be a lot of time to kill.

Learn to play Bridge. Stock several packs of cards. Poker chips. A backgammon game. Chess board. Chinese checkers. Scrabble game. Monopoly.

Learn to knit :-D We are going to want to stay warm.

Buy hand tools for woodworking.

Learn to make beer and wine. Good hobby even IF the power doesn't go out forever and if it does...just think how popular you will be.

Curious George said...

DBQ, so that's a "no"?

Robert Cook said...

Hoosier, the President of Iran is not the leadership of Iran. He is a lesser figure with limited authority.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Supreme_Leader_of_Iran

Moreover, inflammatory political rhetoric not should be confused with serious policy statements, just as American politicians kissing babies and shaking hand with citizens does not mean they have slightest the concern for or intent to serve us.

Cedarford said...

Bender said...
It is mad to rely upon MAD when dealing with the likes of Iran, whose leadership would be all too happy to sacrifice its entire population.
=================
Bender, calm down...

Scott M said...

That would be like quoting Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs--or John Bolton--and asserting they represent the policy views of the U.S. Government.

It doesn't warrant a serious response.


So...your demarkation line is whether or not the government of Iran is seeking the destruction of the United States, correct?

I ask that knowing full well that any evidence provided will not be accepted by you, but I'm willing to give it a go.

Hoosier Daddy said...

".. but there is a difference between someone quoting nonsense like extremists shouting "death to the Great Satan" and showing that Iran has declared it wishes to destroy us. That would be like quoting Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs--or John Bolton--and asserting they represent the policy views of the U.S. Government..."

Well in reality, Mr Cook, those demonstrations where tens of thousands of angry Iranians are marching and chanting Death to the Great Satan, are government sponsered events. So yes, they do indeed reflect the policy views of the Iranian government.

Bru said...

Mr. Cook,

The only websites I can find through Google that make the claim about the pre-9/11 simulation drills are Truther cites, and I will not open those cites. So I can't verify the accuracy of your claim.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Moreover, inflammatory political rhetoric not should be confused with serious policy statements,"

Ironically a lot of Jews in the 1930s believed that very thing.

Bru said...

"cites" should be "sites" in my last comment. My bad.

Hoosier Daddy said...

".. So...your demarkation line is whether or not the government of Iran is seeking the destruction of the United States, correct?

I ask that knowing full well that any evidence provided will not be accepted by you, but I'm willing to give it a go..."

That's a safe bet. When his default position is that the USA is the tyrannical oppressor and dinner jacket's rhetorical flourishes should not be mistaken for actual government policy, you're not likely to make much progress.

Robert Cook said...

ScottM, if you could show me serious evidence of actions and statements by the leadership of Iran over the years that show they desire or intend the destruction of America, I will certainly peruse the evidence seriously. I hear a lot of rhetoric by war-mongers on our side, but that's all.

Scott M said...

Fair enough.

The sovereign state of Iran helped found and continues to fund Hezbollah. This is not in dispute. Official Hezbollah policy is, quoting Hassan Nasrallah (the organization's secretary-general), Death to America is not a slogan. Death to America is a policy, a strategy and a vision.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I hear a lot of rhetoric by war-mongers on our side, but that's all..."

Which policymakers in the current administration are war mongering against Iran?

TMink said...

Bru, your point is well made and accepted. I had not thought of the problems it would cause to our electrical delivery system!

1930s then! Well worse, because how many of us have a horse or completely mechanical car to fall back on.

Trey

Nomennovum said...

"Mr. Cook remarked once on this blog that after 9/11, the terrorists had shot their wad."

Replies Cook,"They did. Most of the death and destruction since has been our doing."

You say that like it's a bad thing. Wasn't that the whole intent of the WOT, Cookie, to make sure it didn't happen again?

Robert Cook said...

"You say that like it's a bad thing. Wasn't that the whole intent of the WOT, Cookie, to make sure it didn't happen again?"

Is is a bad thing.

The so-called "war on terror" is a fraud, a cover to justify our desire to assert our dominance over the region.

Those who perpetrated 9/11 should have been brought to justice--which they have been--but it could have been done without mounting baseless wars, squandering our national treasure, resulting in the deaths and maimings of thousands of Americans and many more tens of thousands of Iraqis and Agfhans.

Bru said...

Mr. Cook,

Here is President Ahmadinejad leading the "death to America" chant at Friday prayers in Tehran in April 2007.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92myDzAFgU4

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... 1930s then! Well worse, because how many of us have a horse or completely mechanical car to fall back on..."

All that cycling I do will pay off.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Those who perpetrated 9/11 should have been brought to justice--which they have been--but it could have been done without mounting baseless wars,.."

Indeed. We could have simply issued an arrest warrant.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... The so-called "war on terror" is a fraud, a cover to justify our desire to assert our dominance over the region..."

You better tell Obama cause the last batch of torturers and war criminals left Iraq yesterday.

MikeinAppalachia said...

Cedarford said-
" ...still build analog electrical protection relays into the Grid,..."

That's interesting. I have not seen an analog relay specified, let alone installed,by any USA utility in about 10 years now.
Where is this being done?

Robert Cook said...

"You better tell Obama cause the last batch of torturers and war criminals left Iraq yesterday."

I don't know if any of the soldiers were torturers, and only those soldiers who knowingly murdered non-combatants are war criminals. The torturers and war criminals are the politicians and generals and intelligence directors who established the policies and who launched the war. The soldiers are just flesh-and-blood weapons, they're not the authors of the war in which they're used.

Besides, our military fighters may have left, but there are private "contractors," (mercenaries and "private security forces") who remain.

MikeinAppalachia said...

Robert Cook-
Re your "Rice was lying" and from a link to USA Today in your cited article:

"We have planned and executed numerous scenarios over the years to include aircraft originating from foreign airports penetrating our sovereign airspace," Gen. Ralph Eberhart, NORAD commander, told USA TODAY. "Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised."

Cedarford said...

MikeinAppalachia said...
Cedarford said-
" ...still build analog electrical protection relays into the Grid,..."

That's interesting. I have not seen an analog relay specified, let alone installed,by any USA utility in about 10 years now.
Where is this being done
===============
NEPOOL and Texas Utility grid. One solid state relay, one "tried and tested over time" analog ecetric protection relay in line with the solid state one.
Nukes similar, though they also can go with failsafe relays that direct act in failure to cut power to CRDMS, energized open valves - vs. by signals required to be transmitted for another component to act.

Heart_Collector said...

"Robert Cook said..."


If such a thing did happen the Robert Cooks of the world wont have to worry about it because im sure theyll be the first ones staked out for the crows.

traditionalguy said...

A EMP that fries the grid beyond repair is like a hurricane that blows the wires away that takes 7 years to fix.

Firsts need is food and water. Without refridgerators and water systems operating, we will need lots of salt and lots of wells.

Solution: move to the country, raise horses, dig wells and store up firewood and bags of salt.

Original Mike said...

"We are also still busily at work hardening government..."

So, what you're saying is, the only institution left standing will be the IRS.

Original Mike said...

"analog ecetric protection relay in line with the solid state one."

Wouldn't they work better if they were wired in parallel?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... The soldiers are just flesh-and-blood weapons, they're not the authors of the war in which they're used.."

You know when you claim we are engaging in murder and torture around the world, you better stop and think about the guys actually pulling the trigger. The defense of they are just following orders didn't work out well for the last group.

Original Mike said...

I've avoided reading "One Second After" in order not to dwell on what is probaly the only realistic way for a terrorist group to take down this country. Not that great a cost in resources for a spectacular effect.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised.".."

I immediately remembered Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor after 9/11 thinking how eerie that was.

MikeDC said...

1. Iran is our enemy, but they've also spent 30 years saying they want to kill us, kill the Israelis, and so forth. Simply put, they could have done a wide variety of stuff to us if they'd really been serious about it. That doesn't make them a non-threat, but we shouldn't be hysterical about it either.

In the end, the ruling regime has a hard time maintaining it's own power over a population that doesn't like them much.

They're not in much position to do anything, and, frankly, I don't see much difference in buying oil from them (which you know damn sure they'd like to sell) or, say, the Saudis.

That goes for the whole Middle East. We are a wealthy and powerful society. They can barely do anything. An oil embargo would hurt us, but it would very literally kill them.

2. Likewise, the threat of EMP is real but overstated. There's lots of in place hardening and shielding (much of it unintentional) that will deflect more of the pulse than alarmists would predict, coupled with the fact that to generate an optimally bad outcome, the timing (of weather and magnetic field conditions), altitude and size of the weapons would all have to be improbably lucky.

I think if someone is going to use a nuclear weapon on is, the much more likely event is they simply use the nuclear weapon on us.

Again, we're a powerful and wealthy country. We can buy and make new computers, cars, and transformers pretty quickly. In a matter of months things would be pretty much back to reasonably normal for us.

The country that unleashed a nuclear-based attack on us, however, would probably no longer exist.

Original Mike said...

"In a matter of months things would be pretty much back to reasonably normal for us."

It only takes one month to starve to death. One week without water. That's where all the deaths would come from. And violence.

The Drill SGT said...

traditionalguy said...

Solution: move to the country, raise horses, dig wells and store up firewood and bags of salt.


and ammo...

sooner or later there is going to be some guy or some government that decides it neds the salt more than you do...

grackle said...

I think if someone is going to use a nuclear weapon on is, the much more likely event is they simply use the nuclear weapon on us.

But why develop expensive convention nuclear missile delivery systems when a cheap, simpler alternative would do as well?

It wouldn't take a high level of technology represented by a conventional nuclear delivery system to destroy an industrialized nation's economy. One EMP weapon, if it were loaded with enough fissionable material could do it.

If I were a terrorist with friendly contacts with a nuclearized hostile Islamic state and were able to obtain the necessary fissionable material I would fire one rocket a few miles off the East coast of the US. A normal looking freighter vessel could easily be rigged to do it. It would require about as much expertise as aiming a bottle rocket on the Fourth of July. The US missile defense system is designed to intercept missiles coming in on a high arc from across an ocean or the poles, not a single missile aimed almost straight up off the US coast.

It would be relatively simple and low-tech, not requiring a complex missile delivery system to pull off. The missile could be set to detonate at, say, 200 miles up, no need to 'aim.' The EMT effect would cover a circle of area hundreds of miles inside the US. All electrical activity within that area would cease to function. No phones, vehicles, television, computers or radios would operate, their electrical insides fried by the EMP effect. Refrigerated food would rot in the warehouse, potable water out of the tap would be nonexistent.

The level of loss of life would be unimaginable - not from the explosion, which would take only a relatively few lives near the detonation. Your only hope under such a scenario would be to gather as much bottled water and canned goods as possible and try to walk out. Good luck, since the police and military would be beside the point and probably hard pressed merely to survive. It would be every man, woman and child fending for themselves. One can easily envision marauding bands of murdering looters.

No nation, certainly not the US, has any agency or combination of agencies, that could deal with a catastrophe of this size. The US economy, two thirds of which is tied to consumer goods, would no doubt be dealt a fatal blow. Currency across the US could become useless. Bankruptcy actions would be unnecessary - a quaint memory, as would the stock market. It would make the Great Depression look like a picnic.

I do not know what a US President would do under this circumstance but if I were President and it happened certain nations in the Middle East would become little more than goat pastures for the next fifty to a hundred years. Damascus, Tehran, Palestine and other terrorist centers would become radioactive rubble, as would Mecca and Medina. I would assume that the Saudis and other oil producing nations would 'see the light' and pump oil as if their lives depended on it - as it surely would since energy would be at a premium and I would be in no mood to 'appease.'

The enemy at this very moment is gaining the capacity do these and other catastrophic deeds. They make no secret of their intentions and yearn for martyrdom as a reward for their perfidy. Every day we continue a reactive appeasement type of foreign policy brings such an event closer to reality.

Original Mike said...

If it is indeed true, as was claimed up thread and makes some sense to me, it would take a thermonuclear device, I can (probably) put it on the list of things I no longer need to worry about. (That list is getting longer and longer).

Original Mike said...

I think I'll order "One Second After".

Skyler said...

Robert Cook complained, "They did. Most of the death and destruction since has been our doing."

I'm very proud of that too, except that I think it's shameful there hasn't been more.

Robert Cook said...

"You know when you claim we are engaging in murder and torture around the world, you better stop and think about the guys actually pulling the trigger. The defense of they are just following orders didn't work out well for the last group."

The torture, as far as I know, has been carried out not on the battlefield, but in prisons and other institutional settings, and carried out by intelligence officers or military of other countries. Those who commit torture--whomever they are--are war criminals. As for our soldiers, if they're killing people in firefights, they're doing what soldiers do. If, however, (and as I pointed out), they're knowingly killing noncombatants, they are war criminals.

It is the war itself that is the war crime, and the war was planned and launched by the politicians and generals. As in every war, it is those at the top of the chain of authority who are the primary criminals. We prosecuted Nazi officers for war crimes; we did not go after the rank and file of German soldiers, who, like ours, went home to their families after the war.

(Of course. there were Nazi officers who could be useful to us, such as the rocket scientists, who were brought over to America and put to work for us.)

Methadras said...

An EMP going off in this country would not be a good thing. An even more compelling reason to have an armed and trained citizenry.

Scott M said...

@RC

Glad you're back. So now that you've had time to ponder it, I suppose Iran's support of Hezbollah and Hezbollah's stated goal of destroying the United States has encouraged you to change your mind?

Original Mike said...

Or not.

"Certain types of relatively low-yield nuclear weapons can be employed to generate potentially catastrophic EMP effects over wide geographic areas, and designs for variants of such weapons may have been illicitly trafficked for a quarter-century."

Scott M said...

Mike,

It's a very real threat regardless of who's behind it. Frankly, it gives me the willies. If I were they, I would time it as close as possible to a "snowmageddon" type storm. Not the dude that actually ended up happening, but a real blizzard dumping feet of snow across the northeast. Since global warming has been canceled due to a lack of interest, I suggest we'll be seeing more and more of these winter storms in the years ahead.

Scott M said...

dude=dud lol

Original Mike said...

Scott - My comment was in reference to the up thread claim that it would take a fusion device. Looks like that's not the case.

I think an EMP attack has a lot of attractive characteristics, for the attacker.

Original Mike said...

potatoe

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... It is the war itself that is the war crime, and the war was planned and launched by the politicians and generals..."

Well if a war that removes a despotic dictator and replaces that with a (imperfect) representative democracy is a war crime in your eyes then oh well. I raise the bar for war crimes a bit higher.

Robert Cook said...

http://www.chris-floyd.com/
component/content/article/
1-latest-news/
2200-war-without-
end-amen-the-reality-of-
americas-aggression-against-
iraq-.html

This article presents another perspective on your "good" war to save the Iraqis.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... This article presents another perspective on your "good" war to save the Iraqis..."

I'm sure it does. Actually my perspective might surprise you. Personally I don't think the Iraquis were worth the price of being liberated from Saddam. In hindsight I think they deserved him.

That said, you can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. I think its a noble thing to try and free people from tyranny but practically its stupid, as Iraq has shown. That's why I don't care about horror stories like Bosnia, Darfur, the Congo, etc. Cause the second we intervene pearl clutchers like you come caterwauling about warcrimes and the 'oppressed' are like the abused wife who run back to the abuser.

So for you removing Saddam was a warcrimes. For me a misguided goal. So as long as dictators have people like you around, they need not fear.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

You persist in believing that we invaded Iraq to "free" the Iraqis from their terrible despot Hussein. I guess that makes it easier to swallow the horrors we inflicted and unleashed on Iraq.

The war was sold on two main points:

1.)that Hussein had WMD he might use or sell to terrorists to deploy against America--including, coming "sometime in the near future," the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud: nukes!; and 2.)that he was somehow complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, neither of these were true.

Added to these primary justifications were a few lesser aims, among which was the noble-sounding "oh yes, we'll free the Iraqis," but that was never a major selling point for the war--and the war was sold to us like an infomercial product--and Americans would never have supported the war if that had been its purported aim.

Americans were scared shitless after having been traumatized by the 9/11 attacks and the government manipulated and played on our collective fear and desire for revenge to cynically prosecute a war that had long been desired for our geopolitical purposes.

As Floyd vividly describes, it was an unprovoked war of aggression, a rank war crime of mass murder and societal destruction.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Of course, neither of these were true..."

Of course not. Neither was a claim listed in the Congressional authorization for war with Iraq.

Scott M said...

I'm scared shitless, RC, that you won't respond to the proof that the government of Iran wants the US gone. You asked for it, you got it, and yet I've heard nary a peep about it all day since it was provided. Please elucidate.

grackle said...

that Hussein had WMD he might use or sell to terrorists to deploy against America--including, coming "sometime in the near future," the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud: nukes …

We hear this all the time. The claim is that Bush and his administration knew that Saddam did not possess WMD but lied to the American people and claimed that Saddam did possess WMD.

Yet Bush(and the Congress during Bush’s administration) only knew what his intelligence agencies were reporting to him – which, BTW, was also exactly what other Western nations’ intelligence agencies were reporting to their leaders. What was this info? It was that the intelligence indicated that Saddam was trying to develop WMD. Not that Saddam possessed a full-blown WMD system replete with missiles, warheads, launching, guidance and delivery systems(as implied by the comment). No, all that was claimed was that Saddam had the intent and was gathering the materials and technology to develop WMD.

And the evidence indicates that the analysis of various intelligence agencies in the US and other nations was correct. Saddam was indeed intending to develop WMD. Considering 9/11 I believe that Bush was correct to err on the side of caution. We can no longer afford to wait for other 9/11s before we act to prevent other, perhaps even more lethal acts of terror. After all, isn’t the first duty of government to protect its citizens? And there were other reasons to topple Saddam which the comment does not address.

… and … that he[Saddam] was somehow complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

This oft-delivered meme is quite simply untrue. Surely Bush believed that Saddam, given the time and leisure, would develop WMD – just as Iran is now. But Bush never claimed that Saddam was “complicit in the 9/11 attacks.” There were many reasons given for the toppling of Saddam but that was not one of them.

Heart_Collector said...

If you are going to invade Iraq because they have intent, what about countrys that have gone beyond intent into action.

If those were valid reasons to invade Iraq, they should be valid reasons to destroy Iraq and North Korea.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm scared shitless, RC, that you won't respond to the proof that the government of Iran wants the US gone. You asked for it, you got it, and yet I've heard nary a peep about it all day since it was provided. Please elucidate."

You didn't provide proof of any such thing. You pointed out that Iran contributes funds to Hezbollah, and then quoted a head (or the head) of Hezbollah asserting boilerplate that "The U.S. must die!"

That doesn't constitute proof or even evidence of Iran's desire or intent to see us destroyed. Inflammatory rhetoric of this nature is just that--inflammatory rhetoric...and Iran didn't even say it. Ronald Reagan made a quip over an open mike about nuking Russia...should the Soviets have pointed to that as evidence of America's intent to see them destroyed?

Cheney recently offered his opinion that we should have made a quick airstrike of Iran to retrieve our spy drone that went down flying in Iranian airspace? Should they assume his remark is proof America plans to launch airstrikes against them?
Such remarks are the loose talk of assholes.

Scott M said...

You didn't provide proof of any such thing. You pointed out that Iran contributes funds to Hezbollah, and then quoted a head (or the head) of Hezbollah asserting boilerplate that "The U.S. must die!"

Yeah, I didn't think you would accept anything as you're married to your ideology. But boilerplate? Hardly. He specifically called it their strategy and their policy.

Robert Cook said...

Grackle, the Bush Administration was careful never explicitly assert Hussein was complicit in 9/11, but they managed to insinuate such a connection, and years later many Americans were still found to believe he was responsible:

http://atlanticreview.org/archives/726-
More-Americans-Believe-that-
Saddam-Was-Directly-Involved-in-911.html

Also, this from Wikipedia:

The Newsweek Magazine poll "What America Knows", conducted Princeton Survey Research Associates International, regularly asks American citizens a wide range of questions relating to world events past and present and a number of more trivial questions of general knowledge.[7] On five occasions the following question has been asked:

"Do you think Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001?"

* September 2003 responses: 47% Yes, 37% No, 16% not sure.
* January 2004 responses: 49% Yes, 39% No, 12% not sure.
* September 2004 responses: 42% Yes, 44% No, 14% not sure.
* October 2004 responses: 36% Yes, 51% No, 13% not sure.
* June 2007 responses: 41% Yes, 50% No, 9% not sure.


And here:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/
2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

This was not a result of Americans spontaneously deciding Hussein was responsible...they were manipulated to assume and believe his complicity as a result of the propaganda efforts of the Bush Administration.

As for Hussein's alleged WMD, I can accept that there were those in the administration who may have believed he was developing WMD, but there was never any proof, (although they asserted they had "proof" that was "bullet-proof",and that it was not merely conjecture or guess but was sure knowledge.) They lied about the nature and quality of the information they had that led them to assert he had WMD, and Bush in one speech even recited an inventory of specific amounts of various nerve agents and such that Hussein had in his arsenal. All untrue.

Moreover, in the months prior to 9/11, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, independently of each other, each were filmed asserting that Husseing was effectively disarmed and could project no threat to his neighbors. How could he, in only a few months' time, suddenly become the great menace to the world that he was depicted to be?

He could because they wanted him to be, because they wanted to justify our attacking Iraq and they could only do so be creating of him a monster bristling with weapons and intent to harm us.

grackle said...

Grackle, the Bush Administration was careful never explicitly assert Hussein was complicit in 9/11, but they managed to insinuate such a connection, and years later many Americans were still found to believe he was responsible:

Here we see that the commentor is forced to repudiate his earlier meme that Bush claimed that Saddam was “complicit in the 9/11 attacks.” Such a claim never happened but the meme is so thoroughly embedded, being often promoted by the MSM, that many Lefties take it for gospel. Now that the commentor has done his research and found the meme to be a lie he has to fall back on the lesser meme that Bush “managed to insinuate such a connection.”

As his proof for the insinuation meme he offers this fallacious syllogism: The American public believes there was a direct connection, therefore Bush must have slyly put it into the minds of Americans. This too is false which is probably the reason the comment does not include any links to such an insinuation by Bush.

As for Hussein's alleged WMD, I can accept that there were those in the administration who may have believed he[Saddam] was developing WMD, but there was never any proof, (although they asserted they had "proof" that was "bullet-proof" …

Not just the Bush administration but the leaders of Great Britain, Germany and France all believed, due to their own intelligence, that Saddam desired and intended to develop WMD. Did Bush also manipulate the intelligence analysis of other nations?

… They lied about the nature and quality of the information they had that led them to assert he had WMD …

No. What the Bush administration did was cite the analysis received from intelligence agencies. This was the same intelligence given to Congressional oversight committees – which came directly from those agencies – not from the Bush administration.

… and Bush in one speech even recited an inventory of specific amounts of various nerve agents and such that Hussein had in his arsenal. All untrue.

Actually, all the Bush administration claimed about “inventory” was what the intelligence agencies were telling them and the fact that Saddam had never accounted for or turned over any nerve agent technology that Saddam was known to have before the invasion of Kuwait. After Saddam’s Kuwait defeat he agreed to account for these materials and technology and like all the other agreements he made after his Kuwait defeat Saddam never accounted for them. In fact Saddam never honored a single agreement in the 13 years after his defeat in Kuwait. He broke ALL of them. That fact alone should have been ample reason to topple Saddam.

Moreover, in the months prior to 9/11, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, independently of each other, each were filmed asserting that Husseing was effectively disarmed and could project no threat to his neighbors. How could he, in only a few months' time, suddenly become the great menace to the world that he was depicted to be?

Yes, in the 13 years between Saddam’s Kuwait defeat and the 2nd Gulf War Bush administration officials correctly contended that the US and its allies were keeping Saddam at bay. But that type of assertion has little to do with Saddam’s desire and intent in regards to future terrorism and WMD. It merely reiterates the fact that Saddam, at that time represented no threat.

The real question is: After the sanctions were inevitably lifted from Saddam, which at that time had been ongoing for over a decade, what was Saddam likely to do? If Saddam’s recalcitrant behavior during the 13 years between his Kuwait defeat and the 2nd Gulf War and the intelligence info at the time is any indication, the obvious conclusion is that Saddam would reconstitute his WMD program – a program he was known to have pursued before his defeat in Kuwait.

Robert Cook said...

"Here we see that the commentor is forced to repudiate his earlier meme that Bush claimed that Saddam was 'complicit in the 9/11 attacks.'”

I don't repudiate it at all; the Bush administration did create the belief in the minds of many Americans that Hussein was complicit in 9/11. They just didn't assert it outright. Lies aren't always told in outright declarations, but also in insinuations and suggestions, leaving it to the audience for the propaganda to fill in the blanks with the obvious assumptions.

As I said, Americans didn't just pull the belief that Hussein was complicit in 9/11 out of their asses. The notion was planted in their asses by the Bush administration.

As for what Hussein "was likely to do" after sanctions were lifted...who knows? We don't initiate unprovoked war against other nations on the basis of speculations as to what they might do at some point in the future.

Our invasion of Iraq was a war crime predicated on lies.

grackle said...

Me, earlier: Here we see that the commentor is forced to repudiate his earlier meme that Bush claimed that Saddam was 'complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

I don't repudiate it at all; the Bush administration did create the belief in the minds of many Americans that Hussein was complicit in 9/11. They just didn't assert it outright. Lies aren't always told in outright declarations, but also in insinuations and suggestions, leaving it to the audience for the propaganda to fill in the blanks with the obvious assumptions. As I said, Americans didn't just pull the belief that Hussein was complicit in 9/11 out of their asses. The notion was planted in their asses by the Bush administration.

First the commentor promotes a false meme(Bush lied) and is called out on it. But he is definitely NOT finished plugging false memes. So he next claims that Bush somehow cleverly and diabolically planted the idea in the public’s mind that Saddam was “complicit” in 9/11. Again, no links to support any of this nonsense.

Throughout Bush’s Presidential terms the Left constantly derided Bush’s intellect, calling him dumb, stupid, backward and inept. And those were the more polite labels. But when it serves their argument they quickly switch to a Bush-brilliantly-controlled-American-opinion argument. Consistency is definitely NOT their strong suit. I’m embarrassed for the commentor if this is the best he can muster.

As for what Hussein "was likely to do" after sanctions were lifted...who knows? We don't initiate unprovoked war against other nations on the basis of speculations as to what they might do at some point in the future. Our invasion of Iraq was a war crime predicated on lies.

No one knows for sure what Saddam would have done after the sanctions. I admit that. But certainly the 2nd Gulf was NOT “unprovoked.” Provocation was one of Saddam’s favorite things to do. As one politician put it:

Now let me be clear -- I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

Barack Obama - Speech at Federal Plaza, Chicago, Illinois
October 2, 2002

Lot’s of provocation listed there. And he even left out a lot of things. For instance, Saddam’s reward offer to the families of suicide bombers. And the harboring of terrorists, including Al Qaeda members. I could go on.

But getting back to what Saddam was likely to do after sanctions were lifted, isn’t past behavior a fairly good indicator of future behavior? Let’s set the stage:

The sanctions are over, Saddam is still in power and emerges as a hero in most of the Middle East for defying the Great Satan(the US). America has once again proven that it’s a paper tiger. Several Western nations, who should know better, are quite eager for trade. Might as well deal with the despot if he can’t be toppled, right?

We know that in the past, without half the prestige a victory over America would have brought, Saddam was quite willing to develop nerve agents and use them. He also had a nuclear development program under way before he invaded Kuwait. Of course, after he was defeated in Kuwait all that had to be hidden away or unused until such time as the scrutiny and the sanctions would go away. I think we have a pretty good idea what Saddam would have done if he had not been toppled.

Robert Cook said...

As you choose to deny the obvious--that the Bush Adminstration created the myth in the minds of many Americans that Hussein was complicit in 9/11--there is nothing to be gained by belaboring that matter.

As for purported "provocation" by Hussein: he neither attacked us nor threatened to attack us, (and in case had no capacity to attack us). Under the UN Charter, we may legally mount a war against another nation only in the case of self-defense of ourselves (or an ally) or if approved by a majority vote of the UN Security Council. Neither condition was met in the case of the NeoCons' War. Therefore, our invasion of Iraq was illegal. Many have said this, including a UN Secretary-General:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3661134.stm

IF, post-sanctions, Hussein had acted to threaten the United States, that would have been the time to discuss whether a military self-defense was warranted.

That Barack Obama parrots the government party line on Hussein and Iraq adds no weight or legitimacy to the claim; Obama is merely continuing the work of empire, and is also a war criminal.

Robert Cook said...

"Throughout Bush’s Presidential terms the Left constantly derided Bush’s intellect, calling him dumb, stupid, backward and inept. And those were the more polite labels. But when it serves their argument they quickly switch to a Bush-brilliantly-controlled-American-opinion argument."

No, the Bush Administration. That is to say, others in the administration, most visibly, Dick Cheney. I don't think anyone assumes Bush was the grand strategist of all or even most of what went on under his name.

grackle said...

As you choose to deny the obvious--that the Bush Adminstration created the myth in the minds of many Americans that Hussein was complicit in 9/11--there is nothing to be gained by belaboring that matter.

You bet there’s nothing to be gained – by the commentor – to belabor a point he cannot document.

Under the UN Charter, we may legally mount a war against another nation only in the case of self-defense of ourselves (or an ally) or if approved by a majority vote of the UN Security Council.

Screw the UN. I do NOT want my leaders taking action or not taking action on the basis of whether the UN approves it or not. The commentor would wait until another 9/11 atrocity happened before he would allow war. The problem is that we can't very well wait for that to happen. Also, didn’t Saddam in fact attack a US ally? Kuwait is an ally.

And I will submit this thought: The 2 wars were really just one war. The first part of the war was to liberate Kuwait. After we ran Saddam out of Kuwait we allowed Saddam to live and rule IF and only if Saddam honored certain provisos – which Saddam agreed to and signed off on. But Saddam did not honor those agreements so the 2nd part of the war was to simply topple him for good. A continuation, if you will.

… our invasion of Iraq was illegal. Many have said this, including a UN Secretary-General …

The US Congress gave Bush all the legal authority Bush needed to topple Saddam. The UN should NEVER be allowed to dictate to America.

That Barack Obama parrots the government party line on Hussein and Iraq adds no weight or legitimacy to the claim; Obama is merely continuing the work of empire, and is also a war criminal.

Is there another Obama we don’t know about? What’s with the commentor’s “that” Obama? As for Obama being a war criminal – he’s many things but a war criminal he is not – except in the minds of those whose preferred solution to despots is always appeasement, appeasement and again, appeasement. Which only leads to disaster in the end.

I wonder, to the commentor, are the members of Congress who voted to give Bush the authority to topple Saddam also war criminals? We have a lot of war criminals in high places if the commentor’s argument is logically extended. How about FDR and the Congress who declared war on Germany although Germany did not attack the US beforehand?

And if America is an “empire,” surely we are the most benign empire that ever existed. South Korea, Japan, West Germany – all these nations prospered after US military actions. The commentor needs to read a bit of history where he will find out what real Imperialism is all about. Read about the longest and largest empire that history has ever recorded, the Islamic Empire(also known as the Umayyad Caliphate), which lasted for close to 2,000 years up until 1924. Now THAT was an empire!

grackle said...

No, the Bush Administration. That is to say, others in the administration, most visibly, Dick Cheney. I don't think anyone assumes Bush was the grand strategist of all or even most of what went on under his name.

If there’s one person the Lefties hate more than Bush it’s Cheney. Compared to many Lefties the commentor’s words are mild – so far. I’ve seen them verbally frothing at the mouth about Cheney for years on various blogs. It’s the Puppet Master meme. After claiming Bush at the outset and throughout his Presidential career was stupid it wouldn’t do to ascribe any strategic prowess to Bush, now would it? So Cheney becomes the Puppet Master in order to get rid of that troubling bit of cognitive dissonance.