Saturday, September 27, 2014

If it were that easy

"Dark Apple" just doesn't have the same ring...
everyone would be doing it:
Terrorist groups could get the capability [to launch an EMP] from any one of these countries or from a few other countries either directly or by theft. The weapon could be delivered by a Scud missile hidden under a tarp from a medium sized ship in the shipping lanes off the coast of the United States. Scud missiles are available in the weapons market for about $100,000. If the United States were attacked with this weapon the country may find it very difficult if not impossible to retaliate...
Part of the downside of DoomPr0n is explaining exactly how, if it's so easy to destroy the US, leaving us unable to retaliate, for less than the annual salary of a Midwestern state college CIO, why someone hasn't done exactly that. Seriously, whether we deserve them or not, we have lots and lots and lots of enemies, and surely most of them can scrape together $100k.  If the Russians could have Ukraine as far as Paris for the cost of a single nuclear missile, why are our lights still on? Maybe because it's a fake threat.

This is not, of course, to minimize the potential damage an EMP could do: I'm actually of the opinion that a Carrington-type EMP event is not a possibility or threat so much as an eventuality.*  But I do suspect that building a working EMP bomb that would fry electronics over 4 million or so square miles takes a little more engineering and testing than does cutting off the heads of reporters.

"Terrorist groups,"** whether they have cool acronyms or not, ought to rank very low on the average American's threat scale.  You are far more likely to be destroyed by Janet Yellen than by Akhbar Akmed al-EMPbomb.  Just sayin'.

* that burning orb in the sky really doesn't care if you live or die, so much. And he can turn your lights off forever with no more than a well-aimed root beer belch.
** by which we usually mean "garlic-smelling men more interested in killing other garlic-smelling men than us"


  1. Maybe because it's a fake threat

    Akin to Global Warming and Peak Oil and enabled Terrorism and...

  2. Not so fast.

    Every armor has a chink. Some armor is never tested, or tested in only unimaginative ways. I have to think of David and Goliath. Until he went stoned, his armor held, and few contested... and those who contested did so simply and in a straightforward manner, and lost. Further, the question is, what would be gained. And lost.

    Hating America is not enough. The left realizes, without America, they would simply become peasants, at best, most likely surfs. Communists and socialists get most of their medication updates, tech, and anything else that improves their miserable lives, from free(er) nations (though America has cut back quite a bit due to .gov interference, and yet is a major player... don't let the bastards fib you otherwise).

    The major players, even islamist ones, know that a dead America would kill their pocket change recipes. They would go back to being desert nomads, the few that survived the struggle to even be able to scrape a living out of the deserts, once oil revenues died. America is both a consumer of goods and oil, manufacturer of engineering and other ideas and innovations, and even of big screen storymaking. End that and it's back to the dungeons.

    Choices. Yes, one major emp could cripple America. It would also end the enemies of America. They know. At least in the upper echelons, where such matters are, or would be, considered. Now, getting that emp through? Still tricky. Just how good is detection and deterrence? And... what would the price be for such an effort? Hell would come down on a failure and all involved in ways not even Satan knows how to front. Whole people's would disappear, quietly, some quite harshly. I've... seen... just what it is that would be loosed.

  3. Look, for EMPs, it's all about line-of-sight, people.
    Where's the only place where you can see ALL of the land mass of the United States?
    The edge of space.
    Show me the SCUD missile purchased with $100k from under ISIS' couch cushions that's reaching the edge of space in one piece while triggering it's payload intact.
    Go ahead.
    I'll wait comfortably over here, translating Don Quixote from Catalan to English, then into French, then, if there's time, (and there will be time) back into Catalan.
    It'd be much more efficient, cost effective and likely for those so motivated to ID and knock out the handful of critical junctions in the continental power grid without any of the theatrics.