I didn’t really expect Time Magazine to take the EMP bit between its teeth; Or when it did, that it would grind it up with such malicious contempt.
The magazine’s article on the EMP Threat ,written by Mark Thompson in Washington D.C, is couched in such dismissive sarcasm, that you would think that it is yet another fluff piece about Lady Ga Ga’s underwear, rather than a matter of urgent national security.
For Thompson treats the threat of an electro-magnetic pulse attack upon the United States as exaggerated as the disproved missile gap of the 1960s; as bloated as the Reagan Star Wars rhetoric of the 1980s and as overblown as the terrorist menace of the 2000s. Its doomsayers, men like Jim Carafano of the Heritage Foundation and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) are mere Chicken Littles who are bleating about a threat that most in Washington regard as “infinitesimal.”
Rather, Thompson concludes “that the whole notion seems rooted in some visceral need for foes with diabolical destructive abilities.”
He of course neglects to point out that the bi-partisan EMP Commision, convened by Congress and in session for six years, concluded in two reports ( one in 2004 and another in 2008) that what is different now is that the state and non-state actors who could facilitate the detonation of a high altitude nuclear device above the United States are not either readily identifiable nor deterrable:
” What is different now is that some potential sources of EMP threats are difficult to deter—they can be terrorist groups that have no state identity, have only one or a few weapons, and are motivated to attack the US without regard for their own safety. Rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran, may also be developing the capability to pose an EMP threat to the United States, and may also be unpredictable and difficult to deter.”
Naturally Thompson didn’t bother to read the report, or else he might have had a more sober attitude. If he had even browsed the 54 page Executive Report for a few minutes, he might have at least obtained a sense of how relatively inexpensive it would be for the United States to prepare for such an attack – shielding critical infrastructure and allowing for its continued operation in the aftermath of a detonation.
You will learn none of this from Thompson because it so much easier and cleverer to spoof an apparent Dr. Strangelove who predicts doom for our civilization than to actually read what he might have to say about national security.
I long ago gave up on TIME as a serious journal of news and commentary. I do hope, however, that our Washington decision makers who read the magazine and rely on it for perspective, can see beyond its transparent sarcasm to understand that EMP is no laughing matter at all.