The US is unprepared for an EMP strike

Ashley Fisher | Evergreen Columnist

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The Obama administration’s response to North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats is way past due.

On Dec. 12, 2012, North Korea launched an alleged Unha-3 rocket to put an Earth observation satellite in orbit in what they insisted was part of its peaceful space program, according to an article by the New York Times.

However, South Korean Defense Ministry intelligence officials asserted that through the rocket launching, “North Korea was testing a ballistic missile that could fly more than 6,200 miles, with a warhead of about 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, putting the West Coast of the United States in range,” according to another article by the New York Times.

The design of the missile’s oxidizer tank also suggests the North’s technological ties with Iran in its efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Moreover, according to the Wall Street Journal, North Korea has shown in the past the ability to launch satellites across the South Pole. The article goes on to say that the United States currently has no missile defense dedicated to stopping missiles coming from the south, and where satellites can go, so too can missiles.

North Korea has starved its people and labored for years so it can develop an intercontinental missile capable of reaching the United States. Although many people are left wondering why, their single-minded efforts were not made in vain. It is extremely likely North Korea now has a special kind of nuclear weapon that could destroy the United States. with one single blow.

The concern is that North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery and armed missiles with nuclear warheads for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack (EMP) that would result in the United States looking like a scene straight out of the NBC TV show “Revolution.”

In this case, exaggeration is unnecessary in order to catch the public’s attention. Make no mistake: an EMP attack poses one of the biggest threats to U.S. national and economic security we will encounter in our lifetime. The scenarios suggest lawlessness, vast starvation and unlimited chaos beyond anything Americans can imagine.

An EMP attack would destroy electronics and collapse the electric power grid that supports the majority of critical infrastructures. Imagine: communication, transportation, banking and finance, food and water – the means that sustain modern civilization and the lives of 300 million Americans – gone

Even the U.S. military would be devastated by an EMP event, due to its high dependency on the nation’s power grid system for electricity and communications. Our military would incapable of defending our nation in its greatest time of need.

Although few direct deaths would result from an EMP detonation, long-term mortality rates would be incomprehensible. According to estimates by the Congressional EMP Commission, given the nation’s current unpreparedness, within one year of an EMP attack two-thirds of the U.S. population — 200 million Americans — would likely perish from disease, starvation and societal collapse.

Ironically, the potential threat of an EMP increases over time, while Americans become more and more reliant on technology. The widespread use and development of technology creates countless vulnerabilities and critical interdependencies that could be catastrophic to the United States.

The most disturbing theme is that for the first time in history, small, failing countries like North Korea and Iran hold the power to blackmail or destroy the most successful societies in the world. North Korea and Iran currently perceive themselves to be at war with the United States. Both countries have highly unpredictable and desperate reputations.

Despite the growing amount of evidence, the Obama administration and media continues to reassure the American public that a North Korean nuclear missile threat to the United States is an unlikely concern that may have to be dealt with many years down the road.

An EMP attack could be managed if the government at federal, state and local levels gave high priority to starting preventative action. There are ways to lessen its impact and enhance our ability to recover from it. Yet seeing as Washington spends billions of dollars searching caves for terrorists instead of preparing the nation’s electric grid for a future EMP attack – don’t count on it.

It is up to the individual to prepare for a post EMP-America, because the government is not. We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005; the government response was a nightmare.  An EMP attack would be a million times worse.

Families with emergency reserves of cash, food, water, medicine and weaponry will be breathing a lot easier than the rest of us the day after a nation-wide blackout that has no definite end in sight. You would truly be on your own with no Internet, cell phones, ATM’s, cars, grocery stores or visible leadership to turn to. Are you ready?

-Ashley Lynn Fisher is a junior English major from Gig Harbor. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this Column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.