Worries are simmering that al-Qaeda may somehow strike
an American city with a nuclear weapon. Most people of course consider this unlikely; government however seems to be taking it a lot more seriously.
In fact, an expert group of government and
military officials is putting together an emergency survival program which
recommends the building of bomb shelters, steps to prevent panicked evacuations
and � perhaps tellingly � the possible 'temporary' elimination of our civil liberties.
Also known as Martial Law.
Many experts say the possibility of al-Qaeda, or any other terrorist
group, obtaining a working nuclear weapon is rather small.
Atleast, they used to say that. I guess it depends on who you talk to. Some would say it's a small possibility. Others, like our Vice-President, state it is now a 'daily threat' and now the top concern of Homeland Security.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Cheney: Nuclear attack on U.S cities 'very real'
Does Cheney know something we don't? Most likely.
Last month, top government and military officials and other
experts � organized by a joint Stanford-Harvard enterprise called the Preventive Defense
Project � quietly met in Washington for a day-long symposium to hash out a
blueprint for human survival after a full-scale nuclear holocaust.
The discussion, called "The Day After," took as its basis the idea that
efforts focusing on nuclear strike prevention may fail, and that the possible
collapse of government rule may necessitate putting in place a contingency
Two men organized the non-partisan project � Stanford's William Perry, a
secretary of defense during the Clinton Administration, and Harvard's Ashton
Carter, a senior Defense Department official for the Clinton White House.
Project members assumed a nuclear bomb similar in size to the one which
destroyed Hiroshima in World War II had detonated in a major U.S. city. While
packing a wallop of around 10 to 15 kilotons, such a weapon is small � at least
when compared with most Cold War-era warheads � and is a relatively simple bomb.
Still, it's hardly the kind of easy-to-hide, portable weapon al-Qaeda might
First One Nuke, Then a Second Nuke
The 41 experts discussed how the U.S. government could best respond to
offset a second nuclear attack, to curtail health problems from any radioactive
fallout, and to restore political rule. Project comments were made
"confidential", although a few participants freely described the exchange of views to the
San Francisco Chronicle.
Some responses were more colorful than others. Fred Ikle, a former Defense
Department official under Ronald Reagan whose 2006 book urged attack
preparation, Annihilation from Within, claimed that the government "should plan
how it could restrict civil liberties and enforce...martial law in the
aftermath of a nuclear attack," but also lay down guidelines for how our liberties
might later be restored, according to the Chronicle.
But there's one problem with Ikle's scenario: once a government assumes
absolute power, it almost never gives it back willingly.
Our new masters may continually argue that there's another big bully just
around the corner who may be planning to do us ill. And since there will
always be someone wishing us ill somewhere on this globe, they will always have a
reason to maintain their dictatorship.
Mr. Ikle's idea that the U.S. government must immediately declare war on
American freedom if we suffer an all-out nuclear attack didn't sit well with
many other panel members, several said.
Some participants heatedly retorted that our freedom is our greatest
protection. They said the federal government instead needs to immediately educate
first responders and other citizens on maintaining proper procedure even if the
government is unable to issue orders, as seems more likely.
"Your cities would empty and people would completely lose confidence in
the ability of the government to protect them...you'd have nothing that
resembles our current social order," answered Steve Fetter, dean of the School of
Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Such experts declare this is what
makes publicly available information on possible attacks and contingency plans so
In fact on Sept. 11th, 2001, we had an essential breakdown of government
rule. The president flew to Omaha, Nebraska, the vice-president hid in "an
undisclosed location", and for hours the federal government essentially left us to
our own devices.
Under attack and without direct government rule, Americans
actually became more caring of others, not less. The pressing issue was
not a breakdown of civil order but a lack of citizen preparation � no one knew
what to do either during or after the attacks.
The information which all Americans most need for self-protection is
referred to in intelligence circles as "open source intelligence"
(OSINT) � pertinent information which is not classified, but is instead available to all.
Surviving "The Day After" a Nuclear Attack
In our section titled, Survive a Nuclear Attack, we have several articles that give specific tips for evacuations from cities struck by a nuclear weapon: Building and preparing a temporary or long term fall out room to deal with high levels of radiations, procedures for reconnecting with family and friends after an attack; and finally, communications tools, should electricity be knocked out across a region and cellphone networks down.
With a little preparation and planning, survival is possible for many (though surviving a nuclear attack is unlikely for those closest to a nuclear blast, who have little warning it is about to occur).