Now Cough

Monday, October 24, 2005

HEU for You?

Nuke 'em

Just came from a Kennedy School Forum on nuclear terrorism. How did you spend your evening? I'll be drinking for quite some time.

The panel--the respected Graham Allison--along with Congress members Jane Harman and Curt Weldon, plus former Florida Senator Bon Graham played off some ham-handed clips from an anti-proliferation movie called Last Best Chance. The film should be retitled 'Almost No Chance.'

Yes, all the panelists agreed, the US and its allies can prevent terrorists from using nuclear weapons. But everything the panelists said made it clear not much is being done to stop it.

The number of loose nukes in Russia alone--Congressman Weldon batted around a figure of over 100--makes the appeal of entrepreneurial nuke sales very high.

And the news from Asia was hardly reassuring.

"I predict North Korea will have an operational nuclear weapon within two years." -- Curt Weldon

As my Canadian friend Abby Carter would say, "Peachy."

There was very little confidence that the Bush administration is making the issue of nuclear proliferation or loose nukes much of a priority at all. Weldon, a Republican from Pennsylvania, painted a grim portrait of a small nuclear weapon detonating over the US and frying everything in the country that relies on electricity:

"If I am an adversary of the US and I want to take out the US, I won't use a smuggled nuclear weapon. We want to bring the US to its knees...I will fire a low yield missile over the US, and detonate it in the atmosphere. The magnetic pulse fries all the electronics. It shuts down the grid: communications, all vehicles, all power, everything. An EMP like that sends us back to the Dark Ages."

The panel that issued this sort of dire warning is called The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. Many critics also make a strong argument that this commission is actually manufacturing a threat in order to bolster support for missile shield defense.



  • I think Graham Allison's book, Nuclear Terrorism, should be required reading for all American adults. Very scary book!

    By Blogger Bob, at 8:46 AM  

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