Monday, January 08, 2007

Ikle and Annihilation

We have just finished up a dinner at the magazine featuring Fred Charles Iklé, author of Annihilation from Within: the Ultimate Threat to Nations. Very matter of fact in discussing how a major mass-casualty/mass-destruction incident would wreak havoc and how we are not prepared, even thinking beyond immediate emergency response. On a separate note, it makes me a bit more interested in the recent CBS series "Jericho" for whether or not it is touching the same issues.

One question is whether our security has already collapsed if we are this vulnerable to cataclysmic attack by individuals and small groups. We may also be only one such attack away from countermeasures that would bring an end to our two and a quarter century experiment in democratic freedom.

In addition to discussion to raise awareness of the danger of mass terror attack, I hope there will be discussion of what we might be in a position to do in the aftermath of such an attack to prevent a repetition and make the world a better rather than worse place.
150 Million people in US live within a narrow (50-mile wide) strip of land along the Atlantic and the Pacific costs. Manifestly similar situations obtain also for Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and UK.

Russia, Japan, Korea, Iran, Egypt, India, China, Mexico have cities that are larger than ten million.

Israel can be destroyed by detonating a radiological weapon over Tel Aviv - causing several thousand casualties and a rapid abandonment of central Israel; i.e. the collapse of that state.

And yet these countries and their governments seem to be able to go about their lives not worrying to the death about attacks - by states or individuals. These other countries do not have US resources but show none of the hysteria of US since 9/11: seeing an enemy behind every bush. And many of them have been subject to terror attacks either by groups or by other states.

The catastrpophists seem to thrive mostly in US. I guess life in US is so comfortable that Americans take delicious & perverse pleasures in contemplating all manner of macabre, gothic horror, etc. Just look at the pulp (science-)fiction and movies.

I mention all these to make the following point - US is not the only country that can be so targeted - stop feeling sorry for yourself and feel that one attack is going to destroy the foundations of US political and cultural structure. US can withstand 50 9/11 attacks - she is not going to roll over and die - institutionally speaking. If one cannot envision an alternative response to terror attacks than to throw away the Bill of Rights, then one could try to emulate UK (with the IRA bombing campaign) and Israel.

There is plenty of land in US. Over the next 100 years we can re-distribute the US population more uniformly over the entire area of US - right now we are just providing juicy targets for hydrogen bombs.

There might be other (physical) things that we can do. But just because we have not yet thought about prevention (like don't go kick people half-way around the world because you can) or innovative solutions to reduce our vulnerabilities does not mean that creative people cannot come up with
My understanding is that it was terrorism on a massive scale that the dinner reported by Nikolas Gvosdev focused. I don't think there is any precedent for the kind of terror and devastation that would be caused by loose nuclear weapons or man-made viruses that kill millions or even large-scale sabotage. Whether these dangers are urgent is of course a valid question but if they are only a matter of time then some quiet discussion of their consequences seems to me prudent.

We do not know what electorates would do in the face of recurrent terrorism on a colossal scale. I don't think people will surrender their freedom if there are leaders who have given thought to the aftermath of a catastrophic event and who offer a vision of a better world that the new circumstances will both permit and require. A bad outcome is only likely if leaders have given no thought to the aftermath and act under the influence of rage and fear.
The polonium 210 spectacle should have sent chills down the spine of every single socalled realist on the planet.

Even a successful hoax, would radically disrupt systems and economies globally, and an actual criticality event, - a successful bug, or chem, or nuke strike (which is more, not less probable) on any major population center, would potentially cripple the victim nation, pushing the victim nation to the point of non-recovery (as was detailed the DARK WINTER execise.)

America is NOT secure!

The Bush government is FAILING America on every front!

Terrorist threats, terrorist organiztions, and actual terrorists are increasing significantly and globally.

America is woefully vulnerable in terms of port, meat and produce packing and distribution, chemical, water, and sewage facilities and infrastructure, and the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government have FAILED CATASTOPHICALLY to reddress or diminish these threats in any way, and this after the horrors and mass murder of 9/11.

Nations and organizations backed by nations that loath and have sworn a religious intent to strike at, and ultimately destroy the great satan, (that would be US) and western economies are awash in imponderable and increasing oil wealth and our petrodollars, and far more capable and likely of financing or by whatever means acquiring some kind of WMD to achieve these unholy ends.

Our leadership has repeatedly DECEIVED and catastophically FAILED to secure America, and Americans.

The WMD sequel to 9/11 is a question of when, not if, and that is exactly what the fascist warmongers, profiteers, and rapturist fanaticus truebeliever intend and desire.

The only hope for America, and freedom loving people anywhere on earth is removing the fascist warmongers, profiteers, and fanaticus rapturists in the Bush government who are feverishly perpetuating the Armeggedon, and the in the malignant depravity and insanity of the New World Order.

I know, - "I'm crazy and conspiratorial, but a surge, or bump, or escalation in Iraq, and attacking Iran with nukes of "bold and decisive leadership.

"Deliver us from evil!"
Forgive the double post, but for clarity, the last two paragraphs should have read: -

{The only hope for America, and freedom loving people anywhere on earth is removing the fascist warmongers, profiteers, and fanaticus rapturists in the Bush government who are feverishly perpetuating the Armeggedon, and the malignant perversion, depravity, and insanity of the Pax Americana New World Order.

I know, - "I'm crazy and conspiratorial", - but a surge, or bump, or escalation in Iraq, and attacking Iran with nukes (is) "bold and decisive leadership.

"Deliver us from evil!"}
Ikle doesn't focus only on US but feels that the threat hangs over many states. The overall point of his book is that while our technological capacity has advanced, particularly our ability to destroy, our political and social institutions have not so matured.
arthur eliason

"our political and social institutions have not so matured.
" - I remember reading something like that 30 years ago.

I disagree with this summary of Ikle's position - if indeed it is accurate.

We cannot wait for this supposed evolution in our social and political institutions. Different states have made - through their actions - the world more unsafe and some should know better.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?