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Chance of nuclear detonation in the US

  1. Jan 11, 2008 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think it was during the last NH Democratic debate that the moderator stated that there is a 30-50% chance that a terrorist will successfully detonate a nuclear device in a US city over the next ten years. Did I hear that correctly?
     
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  3. Jan 11, 2008 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    See the third blog from Graham Allison:
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/1309...ar_terrorist_attack_on_the_united_states.html

    His book and this site:
    http://www.nuclearterror.org/ (which is kinda like the anti-Goldwater television ad from 1964) are the source. I think. Michael Levi (same blog discussion )has a different percent... you can play with the blast maps, I annihilated my home town, killing at least 8 people, 2 coyotes, and 40 head of cattle. :smile:

    None of these guys think it's a zero probability deal. So, I'll just remain hidden among the tumbleweeds and yucca....
     
  4. Jan 11, 2008 #3

    Evo

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    :rofl:

    On the down side, I'm so glad that we've furnished a tool to help nuts figure out where to get the most bang for their buck.

    What happened to all that plastic sheeting and duct tape everyone was buying after 9/11? That's good for nuclear attacks, right? :uhh:
     
  5. Jan 11, 2008 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yes, as long as you put your head between you legs and hide under your desk when the bomb goes off.
     
  6. Jan 11, 2008 #5

    mgb_phys

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    Barman: Did you say the world is coming to an end? Shouldn't we all lie on the floor or put paper bags over our heads?
    Ford Prefect: If you like.
    Barman: Will it help?
    Ford Pefect: Not at all.
     
  7. Jan 11, 2008 #6

    Evo

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    :rofl: They made us go into the hallway and kneel head first toward a wall, placing one arm over the back of our necks. We were told this would prevent flying glass from hitting our necks...

    I should get some of these for Jim's cows.
     

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  8. Jan 11, 2008 #7

    chemisttree

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    Yep.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Story?id=4092530&page=4
     
  9. Jan 11, 2008 #8

    Astronuc

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    What a start.

    Well . . . .

    And if the cannot be identified?

    Or it simply means they were given a device, or have access, but they do not possess the technology necessarily.

    Most of the technology is dual use, so the technology could be obtained or transported separately to the US, then assembled. Getting the fissile material into the US would be the trickiest part, but it's doable. Hopefully those motivated won't figure that part out.
     
  10. Jan 11, 2008 #9

    chemisttree

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    I'll bet they could smuggle it across the Rio Grande on elephants while a mariachi band plays on...

    I'm sure that Ron Paul's idea of letting market forces sort it out (while we worship the constitution as God) will keep us all safe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  11. Jan 11, 2008 #10

    Astronuc

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    Considering what does flow over that border, they probably could.
     
  12. Jan 11, 2008 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Huh?

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul314.html

    As for the Constitution, we have already seen what happens when we have a renegade king who ignores it - chaos.
     
  13. Jan 11, 2008 #12

    chemisttree

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    I was referring to this nonsense:

    As opposed to the current bounty on his head!

    http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2001/pr101101.htm

    Ron Paul thinks that letters of marque and reprisal issued for private individuals, the CIA or our army (operating under amazingly restrictive ROE) can do more to capture Bin Laden than the full force of arms. An amazingly naive and foolish view IMO.

    Ron Paul's idea on the security fence:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/01/ron_paul_on_immigration.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  14. Jan 11, 2008 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Sources? Also, it appears that Paul is talking about an additional tool for use in the so called war on terror. I don't understand your objection here.
     
  15. Jan 11, 2008 #14

    Mk

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    There was an episode of Penn and Teller's: Bull****! that had some illegal immigrants build a fence and then break through it.
     
  16. Jan 11, 2008 #15

    A local group drove a 2 1/2 ton truck across the border into Mexico in a remote location. They loaded up a big box that had been previously stashed and put it in the back of the truck.

    They then drove back into the U.S. and on to Phoenix. No one noticed.
     
  17. Jan 11, 2008 #16
    If they did, so what? Lets assume the device is roughly the equivalent of a Hiroshima sized bomb and not some dirty chemical weapon. Depending on location they might take out a couple of million people. Thats less than a percent of the population. More folk from neighboring countries would enter to fill the partial vacuum. A lot of enterprising spirits would figure out ways to make lots of money. Some of the current budget spent on the war machine might possibly have to be diverted to cover clean up and compensation. Politicians would make hay, and goats will bray. Life will go on.

    If anything, it might motivate in earnest a real effort to decommision aging weapons worldwide and to try to stuff what we can find back into Pandora's box, instead of spresdng technology a la the recent deal to Pakistan. Now that was a smart move.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  18. Jan 11, 2008 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    When six guys with box cutters flew some planes into buildings, we started two wars; in one case we attacked the wrong country but any country would do; we trashed the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions; we implemented the use of torture and secret prisons; we allowed spying on US citizens without legal oversight; we threatened [tried] to use nuclear weapons for "conventional warfare", and we re-elected the people who did all of this.

    ==> Set off a nuke in a US city and the ME is a glass parking lot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  19. Jan 11, 2008 #18

    True, as your sig quote implies, our biggest fear is ourselves. Its weird but admirable how folk in the mideast have accomodated the threat of instant terrorist death. Some take a plucky attitude to the cafe knowing it may be their last cup of cap, but all the more reason to enjoy it. Others want to build walls. We seem as a country to be the wall building type.So to your conclusion--Plenty to be said for that strategy, up until the time it begins to erode and weaken the foundation on which its built. That of course is the post 9/11 netherland we occupy, and unfortunately I concur with your conclusion that it would not lead to a wellspring of pacifistic temperament. But acting as if this is a certainty or even high probability has its own perils as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  20. Jan 11, 2008 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    Perils, no doubt, but it must be recognized by all as a real possiblity. I believe that many people today simply cannot conceive of the awesome power that US reserves. As cold-war children we were much more aware of this reality. And once the nuclear genie is out of the bottle... I am afraid to even guess at the totality of the consequences.

    If you ask me, the real peril is our enemy not clearly understanding this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  21. Jan 11, 2008 #20
    True, my daugters have never had nuclear nightmares--I had them regularly between say 10 and 25. The connection to Hiroshima/Nagisake has been lost. People don;t even talk about Nukes except in connection with the kind of scenario you describe--but they are still out there, in large numbers and the entire enterprise gives greater grip to the catastrophe you describe...
     
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