Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Study Groups for the Apocalypse

Today’s Washington Post online has an interesting op-ed piece by a former weapons inspector in Iraq, Jay Davis on the dreadful subject of what would happen after a nuclear 9/11. Mr. Davis serves on one of the alphabet-soup federal offices our government is so adept at creating: the “Threat Reduction Advisory Committee” of the Department of Defense. (No doubt they have some very spiffy letterhead). Specifically, Mr. Davis is concerned with the arcane field of “nuclear forensics” – in this context the analysis of “isotopic signatures” and other characteristics of nuclear explosions to determine the likely source of the nuclear materials used.

Mr. Davis points out that after 9/11, the time between the fall of the twin towers and “our response in Afghanistan” was a month, and Mr. Davis argues that we need to better prepare for a “nuclear 9/11” so as to better finger the perpetrators, because “current US nuclear forensics capability. . .can’t guarantee definitive information within a month of an attack” This is a concern because, among other things, “we won’t have months to respond. There would be enormous pressure to rapidly identify the terrorists and the chain of events leading up to the attack.”

Well, that’s an understatement if ever there was one. Mr. Davis suggests that we need to improve the speed and accuracy of our nuclear forensics: the better to obtain essential “international collaboration” and to assemble the proof that it will take for the “world to believe our analysis.” Finally, Mr. Davis says, “we need to manage expectations and prepare for the inevitable political pressure to respond quickly after an attack.”

I agree that Mr. Davis raises some valid concerns and good ideas, and that improving the US nuclear forensics capability would indeed be sound policy. But if anybody thinks that the people of the United States would tolerate lawyer bingo or interminable investigations by alphabet soup agencies to assemble proof satisfactory enough for the talking heads and the international UN bonzes to produce “international collaboration” in the wake of a city-buster, nuclear 9/11 type attack – then they are smoking crack.
“Manage expectations ?” “Prepare for political pressure ?” Brother. If Mr. Davis’s nightmare ever happens, we’re not talking about “nuclear forensics” anymore. A nuclear attack on an American city, by terrorists, foreign states, or whoever, would change all of the rules overnight. The alphabet soup/special commission/study group games that Washington so loves would go right by the boards, and quite possibly the Constitution and everything else we accept as normal. If for example, Al Qaeda were to launch such a nuclear attack on the United States, we would no longer be talking about the rights of detainees at Guantanamo; or US compliance with the Geneva Conventions; or the appropriate UN resolutions; or proof of culpability – but instead, the question of permitting the continued existence, period, of Al Qaeda supporters, and the cities and cultures that feed them – anyplace on this planet. Hopefully, we elect to put more money, talent and thought into apocalypse prevention than we do into apocalypse studies.


louielouie said...

consider for a moment, that your opinion, and that of the country you live in, are different.
just consider it.
here we are 6.5 years after 9/11 and UBL is still churning out videos at will. he may live in a cave, but how is that $25mil reward incentive working out?
and you know we're not going to go after him. respect for international boundaries and all.
here we are in an election year, and the next president of the US spiritual mentor is seen invoking a diety to curse america, and the candidates followers can't get enough of it.
can you just imagine what would have happened if FDR had told america to go shopping on 12/8/41? i guess he couldn't fit that into the day of infamy theme, and decided to just attack japan.
here we are 6.5 years after 9/11 and geert wilder can't get anyone to host his film. it's only 15 minutes long.
here we are 6.5 years after 9/11, and a poll today on the channel 8 website in tulsa shows more concern for the economy than terrorism (40%/26%), respectively.
here we are 6.5 years after 9/11, and TSA is working on plans to revamp airport security lines after people start blowing themselves up in lines to get through the security checkpoints in airports. how do i know this? a person who may or may not come into my favorite liquor store in south tulsa, may or may not be on the executive committee.
if this is how our leadership addresses this issue, can a response to a nuked city be much different?
the usual suspects will be out in front again talking up a disproportionate response.
the media will be in their bunkers blaming bush.
just consider for a moment, that your opinion, correct as it may be, is different from the country you live in.
just consider it.
for a moment.
and no, i don't smoke crack.
you, however, may want to wake up and smell the country, in which you live.

El Jefe Maximo said...

You're preaching to the choir, LL.

I do not think that the Fools paradise that much of our allegedly educated classes appear to live in will persist forever, but that it is our enemies, and nothing that the sane among us may say, that will change this condition.