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Newt Gingrich: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America

March 30th, 2009 . by TexasFred

Newt Gingrich: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America

A sword of Damocles hangs over our heads. It is a real threat that has been all but ignored.

On Feb. 3, Iran launched a “communications satellite� into orbit. At this very moment, North Korea is threatening to do the same. The ability to launch an alleged communications satellite belies a far more frightening truth. A rocket that can carry a satellite into orbit also can drop a nuclear warhead over any location on the planet in less than 45 minutes.

Far too many timid or uninformed sources maintain that a single launch of a missile poses no true threat to the United States, given our retaliatory power.

A reality check is in order and must be discussed in response to such an absurd claim: In fact, one small nuclear weapon, delivered by an ICBM can destroy the United States by maximizing the effect of the resultant electromagnetic pulse upon detonation.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a byproduct of detonating an atomic bomb above the Earth’s atmosphere. When a nuclear weapon is detonated in space, the gamma rays emitted trigger a massive electrical disturbance in the upper atmosphere. Moving at the speed of light, this overload will short out all electrical equipment, power grids and delicate electronics on the Earth’s surface. In fact, it would take only one to three weapons exploding above the continental United States to wipe out our entire grid and transportation network. It might take years to recover from, if ever.

Full Story Here:
Newt Gingrich: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America

I don’t know if any of you saw this Sunday, I know I missed it, and am glad I found it. This was a favorite topic of mine in days past. The survival of the human race after a nuclear holocaust.

This is not science fiction. If you doubt this, spend a short amount of time skimming the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack from April 2008. You will come away sobered.

To some degree, it is NOT science fiction, but no one knows, with ALL certainty, exactly what will happen to the areas of the earth not struck directly. EMP is one of the biggest fears, always has been. This next quoted paragraph IS science fiction, from back in the mid 1980′s, look at the review and see many similarities, a partial review of the novel War Day.

As well as the human cost, the war has left its mark on the economy and politics of the country. Due to the electromagnetic pulse from the first wave of bomb blasts, virtually all bank accounts, transactions, and other electronic assets—including those in Canada—simply vanish. Because of this, money undergoes a rapid deflation: the cost of a home is reduced to 800 gold dollars. In addition, electronic machinery and devices are rendered useless, which further limits the economy. SOURCE: War Day

I read this novel when it 1st appeared on the shelves. The very premise of this novel was so believable that it’s possible reality was terrifying. It appears that even today the basic idea is still there, and again, it’s ALL pure speculation regarding the actual results of a massive nuclear exchange and the subsequent radiation and EMP damage, and I hope we never have to put any of this to the test.

I don’t really believe that a single nuke could destroy our electronic infrastructure, but it is a fascinating possibility, not what I would call a probability, but a possibility nonetheless. I would personally be more inclined to think that it would take a multiple warhead burst, spread over the entire land mass of this nation to bring about a full EMP disruption, and even then, many systems are so well grounded, I just don’t know, this goes far beyond my field of expertise. But again, we’ve never experienced such a tragedy, so, who knows…

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20 Responses to “Newt Gingrich: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America”

  1. comment number 1 by: BCR

    Sorry Fred, I don’t buy it. Do you remember all of those upper atmosphere tests in the 50′s? Not to mention the Pacific and Desert SW tests. I don’t recall America being destroyed by any of them.

    Darn, showing my age again.

  2. comment number 2 by: TexasFred

    For EMP to work, IF it works, a detonation over the Pacific wouldn’t affect the continental US I believe, it would have to be over the nation you intended to hurt, otherwise, a detonation in space would disable electronics on a global scale, not just a national scale, thus defeating the premise of using EMP as a weapon.

    And back in the 50′s, during the Bikini Atoll detonations and such that you refer to, we didn’t have a society that was damn near totally reliant on electronic gadgets of all configurations, plus, those detonations were done at the surface I believe, I am pretty certain they weren’t space detonations…

    And if you think about it, nuclear testing has been done underground since I believe, that wouldn’t generate a negligible EMP, but I wonder what it does to earthquake threats??

    And as I said, who knows if it’s real at all, we’ll never know until it happens…

  3. comment number 3 by: Bull

    BUY IT!

    a) The weapons of the ’50′s are NOT the weapons of today.
    b) The detonation altitude is predetermined before launch and that is what makes the difference.

    What does the attacking force want to happen? An EMP? Highest number of quick kills? A large amount of highly radioactive dust in the atmosphere to travel downrange. A big crater?

    It’s all determined by the point of detonation, folks. And, of course, yield.

    (Guess what I did in the Navy back in the day! )

  4. comment number 4 by: TXSonOfLiberty

    Bull is right. Also, the technology of today is not the same as that back in the 50′s. Take automobiles for instance. The cars/trucks back in the 50′s would not be susceptible to an EMP. They would probably still run OK after the ‘pulse’. Compare that to the vehicles today, with all their electronics and computer chips. Can you say “Fried”. If you just happen to have one of those old trucks, with all that neat stuff like distributor caps, et al, hang on to it…….Now having said all that, I’m far more concerned about ‘The Obamination’, and ‘Rhambo’ driving our country into total Fascism, than I am about an EMP at this point in time. Keep your powder dry Patriots, you will most probably need it.

  5. comment number 5 by: BobF

    Interesting. My most recent American Legion Magazine contained an article on EMP. It was during those tests in the 50′s, that it was discovered. If EMP isn’t real, then we spent a lot of time and money hardening our systems on B-52′s for nothing.

    Also, here’s a neat site you can visit and see the destructive area of a nuclear weapon, both ground and air burst. You can choose between a 1KT and 4MT bomb.

  6. comment number 6 by: Texas Cowgirl

    I haven’t read War Day, but I will.
    I have considered the effects of EMP, and realize that they could really suck watermelons. Short of building a bunker and keeping everything inside of it, I can’t figure out a way around it.
    Actually, I’ve been more concerned with the satchel nukes that Tom Tancredo said were already here. I also heard somewhere that when Pres. Bush got the news about them, he went ballistic. I don’t remember who told me about his reaction, so that may be hogwash.
    Actually, there’s no real reason for the bad guys to worry about “US” anymore. We’ve got a president and congress on their side.
    If you want to read a book that has turned out to be truly prophetic, read the sequel to The Iluminati by Larry Burkett, which is called The Thor Conspiracy. You’d swear that it could easily happen in the next year or so.
    Man, thinking about this stuff really messes up my chi.

  7. comment number 7 by: TexasFred

    Cowgirl, along those same lines, the Manchurian Candidate comes to mind as well…

  8. comment number 8 by: StormWarning

    Newt is in-synch with reality. Too bad he didn’t run.

  9. comment number 9 by: brwnavy

    An EMP strike is all too real. It is conceivable that it could literally shut down the entire US.
    Transportation would come to a screeching halt and every person in the US would be affected.
    One strike in the Northeast quadrant for instance would put the entire east coast, south to Florida, all the way to the Mississippi, out of commission. No power, no vehicles, no radios, nada. You get the picture.

    If it detonated over the central US at a height of 200 miles, the footprint of the EMP would reach nearly coast to coast depending on the height it was detonated at and it’s size. It would have to be several megaton’s which the Iranians do not possess….yet. The US, Russia, and China currently have that capability.
    This ain’t no science fiction. The chaos in metropolitan areas would be uncontrollable and would affect every citizen in this country, Canada, and Mexico. Police and first responders would be overrun.

    A good article to read was this one at American Thinker, The EMP Threat: ElectroMagnetic Pulse Warfare;
    Written in April, 2006.
    A prudent man/woman would prepare for the worst case scenario and pray/hope for the best.

  10. comment number 10 by: BobF

    Terrorists don’t have a country. That’s one of my biggest fears of them getting a nuke…who do you retaliate against? The USSR had a nation to loose but the terrorists don’t have any nation and to them innocent people dying is their religion.

  11. comment number 11 by: BCR

    Reminds me of the Y2K threat. I am a retired engineer from the semiconductor industry and it is my opinion that the threat is exaggerated. I think there is a greater threat from Sunspot activity than from high altitude EMP. I have not seen any hard studies or research to take it seriously, but it could be a viable threat. Personally though, I think it is a lot of hypothetical baloney.

  12. comment number 12 by: BobF

    Here’s a good article on EMP.

  13. comment number 13 by: Katie

    I have heard this for years. The odds that a nuke from Korea or Iran hitting the exact spot necessary for an emp to damage the US is very low.

    The crazy thing would be Iran using a nuke to attack a Navy fleet. With Obama, he would apologize to the Iranians and run like the coward he is.

  14. comment number 14 by: Texman

    The TV series “Jericho” used an EMP pulse on which to build a scenario of living with 1970s cars and horses, everybody carrying weapons openly for protection. Worth watching. The exciting final episode takes pace over North Texas and involves F-16s and a nuke.

    Here’s a bit more.

    29 episodes
    Gray Anderson, the Mayor of Jericho, is at a ‘constitutional convention’ for the Allied States of America. He’s chatting in an elevator with another delegate. The delegate says there was a 20 minute orientation, an hour round table discussion, a two hour lunch, a 1000 member ‘town hall’ meeting and boom, no more Second Amendment. Gray says that it would be easier to ‘pacify’ the country if the people can’t shoot back’. WOW! This has NEVER been stated on any other show so bluntly. Let me tell you about Jericho.

  15. comment number 15 by: Bloviating Zeppelin

    From my — ahem — “past,” there are a number of factors to consider, many of them brought up here. Also to consider is the accuracy and throw weight of the device involved. We used to say that the Soviets’ accuracy was crap (which it generally was) but that they’d be effective anyway because their weapons were so incredibly dirty and they’d launch such a large number.

    An EMP is a threat; but what kind — ? No one really knows.

    Recommended fiction on the topic: “The Last Ship” by William Brinkley — excellent but seldom found, about an isolated US Navy ship following an exchange.


  16. comment number 16 by: Basti

    Newt Gingrich wrote the novel 1945. I read that novel and it was as off-the-wall as his idea here. I’m not really that shot down with a guy called ‘Newt’ in the first place. A newt is a damned salamander.

  17. comment number 17 by: ablur

    Like you Fred I have read a lot on the subject. The EMP weapon or nuclear devise used would have to be very massive or we would need several to shut down the US. It has been argued that the detonation of one may hamper or short out the detonation of others.
    The problem with power is that it would blow out most of the transformers and such. We currently only have about 5% replacement on shelf ready to install. The government was going to push forward a bill to encourage greater production and inventory a number of years ago. I read an article a number of years ago that said if we could obtain full production it would take almost 3yrs to replace them all. The question is what do we need to maintain full production. If the effects are big enough we would have to dedicate the 5% to getting production going.
    There would be a lot of lawlessness and medical emergencies that would not be met. We are looking at a year to produce enough to restore emergency power and emergency communication. That would be the coldest and longest year ever.
    There is probably a great deal of hype because of all the unknowns but the potential is there.

  18. comment number 18 by: Faultline USA

    This has been a very enlightening article and discussion. I’m learning more that I want to know about this terrifying possibility.

  19. comment number 19 by: tarpon

    As an engineer who designed equipment for EMP pulse survival a long time ago, the threat is real, but the threat is exagerated. Isn’t that how it works, take something that is real and make it bigger until it gets huge.

    Some details: The weapon size is quite large, meaning the throw weight of the vehicle has to be equally large. A Hiroshima sized blast would do little, the size needed is in the megaton range. So you need a big weapon, affixed to a big missile, launched a long way, detonated at altitude. Beyond the capability of most terror oriented states for now.

    Electronic things closet to the blast site would see the effect the worst. I believe something like this happened during early weapons testing in the Pacific, and it damaged things in Hawaii … minor damage.

  20. comment number 20 by: TexasFred

    I gotta hand it to you tarpon, good post…

    United States nuclear tests were conducted on an intermittent basis from July 1946 to October 1958.

    On 31 October 1958, just after it concluded the largest test series to date, the United States entered into a unilateral testing moratorium announced by President Eisenhower with the understanding that the former Soviet Union also would refrain from conducting tests… Gallery of U.S. Nuclear Tests

    In July 1962, a 1.44 megaton United States nuclear test in space, 400 km. above the mid-Pacific Ocean, called the Starfish Prime test, demonstrated to nuclear scientists that the magnitude and effects of a high altitude nuclear explosion were much larger than had been previously calculated. Starfish Prime also made those effects known to the public by causing electrical damage in Hawaii, more than 800 miles away from the detonation point, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link.

    Electromagnetic pulse