Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dark clouds always waiting for you

You can bet that Frank Gaffney, author of the forthcoming War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take To Prevail in War for the Free World, is going to get a lot of air time on Fox News. They just love breathless those-damn-traitor-liberals won't let us defend our nation stories. Bill Gertz of the WashTimes takes a cue from Gaffney regarding the EMP (or electro-magnetic pulse) threat. Those of you who have read nuclear war fiction will recall that in addition to a blast wave, a heat flash that can set skin on fire and a boatload of radioactive particles, a nuclear explosion will create a pulse that can destroy unhardened electronics. This new threat assumes that an enemy nation will detonate a warhead in space, spreading the EMP effect across a great swath of the nation.

Yes the US is undefended against this threat. The US is also undefended against a 25+ missile nuclear strike and there are no plans to be able to deal with that, as it is economically unfeasible. Economics aside, there is little reason to fear an attack of this nature. If some nation sends a ballistic missile towards the US, they are going to get one or likely many more back. Even if the entire US electrical grid was shut down by EMP, the nuclear missile armed submarines could and bombers could still retaliate. It is difficult to conceive of a nation actually deciding to attack the United States in this way. It is equally difficult to conceive of a terrorist group acquiring a missile and a nuclear warhead small enough to be placed on the missile.

The US has enough real security threats with which to deal to spend much time on things like this. Gaffney has an almost theological commitment to missile defense. As such he is naturally attracted to threats like this one. People without that commitment should look elsewhere.

No comments: