What a Single Nuclear Warhead Could Do

There is a recent Heritage podcast on the EMP threat. Their estimates are of a 10% survival rate from a successful attack. That's a 90% death rate, not "a few million". Our society is incredibly dependent on computers and electricity.

Posted by Brett_McS at November 24, 2008 3:09 AM

This article is timely, and a very, very good exposure of the peril. The best treatment, with the space for a little more depth, that I've seen is a chapter in a book called "I.T. Wars: Managing the Business-Technology Weave in the New Millennium." Please don't remove this post as a solicitation - go to your public library and check out the book (I checked out mine at the Fairfax Public Library, VA). Read the Chapter "What's At Stake - the 4-1-1- on 9/11, Katrina and Beyond." The author uses 9/11 and post-Katrina New Orleans to discuss large-scale terror and natural disaster, respectively, and those impacts to conduct of business at the local level, and for the country at-large. A great in-depth analysis of Electro-magnetic Pulse (EMP), as delivered by a nuclear warhead is presented, along with examination of our government's position. That chapter (the last in the book) should be required reading in business schools, as well as for federal and local officials. If you don't want to hunt the book down, see this great exposure (especially the last few questions and answers, although not quite as expository as the book itself): HERE

Posted by John Franks at November 24, 2008 6:32 AM

If one thinks they're being held "hostage to events," there's only one thing to do:

Start taking hostages of your own or, better yet, make everyone hostages to each other.

Ergo, simply make the following announcement:

"If, or when, we're hit with a nuclear weapon, it won't matter who was actually responsible because we're going to exterminate anybody and everybody we even remotely think was connected with the attack. In short, if we're hit you can all bend over and kiss your arses goodbye."

Posted by MarkJ at November 24, 2008 8:17 AM

The EMP threat is serious but requires a foe capable of launching a nuclear warhead several hundred miles over the U.S. The more likely threat raised by this article is a ship-based attack with cruise missiles, which are easy to manufacture and transport. These could putter along a few feet above the ground and carry a nuke into one of our coastal cities. Such an attack is much more feasible for a terrorist group to pull off.

Posted by Jonathan at November 25, 2008 2:07 PM