Thursday, July 10, 2008

Something else to cause us worry

With all of the talk about the Iranian missile tests today and yesterday, this Wall Street Journal editorial raises a concern that hadn't even crossed my mind. What if they decide to hit us with an electromagnetic pulse ("EMP") bomb: All that would take would be to set off a nuclear warhead in the atmosphere, where it could fry ground and satellite-based electronic systems, leaving this country more or less in the dark ages, given our technological dependency. Imagine getting up and having no use of your:
A) Computer
B) Microwave Oven
C) Refrigerator
D) Dishwasher
E) Central Air Unit/Furnace
F) Car
G) Cell Phone
H) Cordless Telephone
I) Stereo
J) Television
K) Clock Radio
L) Most wristwatches
M) Electric Razors
N) Hair Dryers

Obviously, the sophistication of the electronics would be a factor, i.e., the more sophisticated it is, the more likely it would be to be fried by an EMP. Scarily, it doesn't end there, though. You would also have no access to your money because all ATM's would be down. In fact, the entire banking industry would be pretty much toast, given how computer-dependent it is. Want to use that credit card? Not going to be very easy, because the credit card companies are also pretty much dependent on computers. So, you will have no access to money and no way to tide yourself over by the use of credit cards. That still leaves the government, right? Well, ummmm, no it doesn't. Governments at all levels (Federal, State, County, Municipal) also rely on computers, and let's not forget the fun and games the various governmental agencies experienced in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina when they had a fully functional electronic system.

And, let's say that whoever launched the EMP decided to follow it up with some "targeted" attacks inside this country. Even something as seemingly basic as starting a fire would be a major problem because the fire trucks would all be inoperable, and worse yet, if there was an attack on the water distribution system (again, very easy, given that computers either run or assist in the running of just about everything), there might not even be water flowing to the hydrants..........or to your house. And I'm just discussing things on a micro-level. The effect on the country as a whole would be devastating. Wall Street would take years to recover, if it ever did. Think that the dollar is collapsing now? It would be worth about as much as a sheet of toilet paper if an EMP were set off over the Northeastern U.S. The military would have a miserable time trying to defend the country, given that its airplanes and tanks wouldn't run, and there would be no running and hiding by taking the first flight out because any planes within range of the EMP would be grounded (or worse yet crashed, if they happened to be in the air at the time of the EMP). All of this speculation is if one EMP were set off. If it were two or more, the situation is too scary to contemplate.

Maybe the problem isn't that we are TOO worried. Maybe it's that we're not worried ENOUGH............

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