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Author Topic: Decimation of U.S. Naval capability
noel c.
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Fenring,

"All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. "...

I think it could be argued that Barry relied upon the pliability of a populace described in the Goering quote. To his utter frustration, it is the people who have a problem with his accomodarion of Tehran. We seem to have demonstrated that sometimes it is a people who jar leadership into reality.

Just because paranoia can be induced does not mean all threats are illusory.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
To his utter frustration, it is the people who have a problem with his accomodarion of Tehran.
Well, some people.

quote:
Just because paranoia can be induced does not mean all threats are illusory.
noel, I will never understand why you are so scared of everything except the real problems facing our country.
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NobleHunter
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Iran doesn't need to pose a unique threat in order for a President to slouch his way into war.

Two EMP attacks would be worse than one.

Did I say anything about whether or not Iran is a threat?

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noel c.
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Tom,

"Well, some people. "..

I can always depend upon you. [Wink] Yes, "some people" in numbers great enough to get Barry up onto the stump at American University yesterday, as his hallmark diplomatic initiative loses support within the Democratic caucus. It was the culmination to his quixotic journey which began thus ... :

http://youtu.be/y7FXIJneSBI

To be sure, "some people" know statements like this are an unmitigated lie. :

http://youtu.be/YeFijMQzhis

Do you know who the distinguished gentleman in the grey beard is? :

http://youtu.be/QKgsxDL4abU

Do you ever trouble yourself with knowing what you are talking about?

Do you even care about being right?

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noel c.
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NH,

I do not know how to respond to such a sloppy polemic construct. Would you like to give the EMP issue another try?

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NobleHunter
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Imagine one EMP. Bad stuff happens in the US. Given the indomitable American spirit, there's rebuilding. Another EMP. More bad stuff. Repeat.

Instead: one EMP. Bad stuff happens in both the US and Iran; rather more complete in Iran. The US rebuilds and Iran... faces a much more challenging future (what with hostile neighbours, more infrastructure damage and less capable political institutions). There is no second EMP.

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Pyrtolin
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That presumes that the US would see it at all. Iran will hit Saudi Arabia long before it hits the US, because that's who they actually care about. The US is just a useful outsider to point rhetoric at to help garner support without alienating neighbors that might be on the fence.

THe US is only useful to Iran so long as it can present it as a common danger that everyone needs to rally together to defend against. As the US refuses to keep playing bogeyman for it, it's enthusiasm for sabre rattling has likewise decreased.

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noel c.
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NH,

http://securethegrid.com/emp-technologys-worst-nightmare/

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NobleHunter
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In the future, noel, I recommend providing less one-sided links. Particularly covering topics requiring a certain level of technical understanding.
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noel c.
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Terrific NH, provide one.
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NobleHunter
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Why? An apocalypse brought about by an EMP device isn't key to my arguments.
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noel c.
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Just between you and me NH, what plausible scenario between America, and Iran, has potential for a viable EMP attack, counter-attack strategy?
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DonaldD
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Are you asking for a plausible scenario, or one where Iran attacks the USA with an EMP?

Make up your mind, noel.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Do you ever trouble yourself with knowing what you are talking about?
noel, your seemingly complete lack of self-awareness often verges on deliberate irony.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
To his utter frustration, it is the people who have a problem with his accomodarion of Tehran.
Well, some people.

quote:
Just because paranoia can be induced does not mean all threats are illusory.
noel, I will never understand why you are so scared of everything except the real problems facing our country.

To clarify, Tom, is your position that the Iranian government doesnt threaten the USA in any way, or that the Iranian gov ernment is not "real"? [Smile]
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Pete at Home
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Not that something has to be real to threaten the USA. The popular fictional history of the Confederacy posed the greatest threat to the USA (greater than Nazis or Commies) until the Cuban missile crisis, and continues to kill randomly and stupify generally up until this day.
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TomDavidson
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The Iranian government doesn't threaten the USA in any way. It poses no danger to our national security. It can rise to the level of a terrorist threat, in that it might be able to kill hundreds of thousands of people -- but it does not have the capacity to destroy our infrastructure, our economy, or our political sovereignty. Nor, to be honest, would it WANT to.

From a strategic perspective, Iran poses a danger to our interests in Israel and could, if allied with China, pose a serious threat to the economic underpinnings of our energy infrastructure. But that's not usually the sort of fear being projected, here. People are afraid that Iran is going to, like, nuke South Carolina. But this requires that Iran be insane, and it is not.

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Pete at Home
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With regard to capabilities, would you say the same about ISIS?

Do you see a possibility that a nuclear Iran could foment a Shia ISis alternative (following the Koranic Caliphate recipe as ISIS has done mostly) just as nuclear Pakistan has done in creating the Taliban and growing AQ?

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
With regard to capabilities, would you say the same about ISIS?

Do you see a possibility that a nuclear Iran could foment a Shia ISis alternative (following the Koranic Caliphate recipe as ISIS has done mostly) just as nuclear Pakistan has done in creating the Taliban and growing AQ?

Pakistan hardly created the Taliban on its own. I don't think they can even claim the largest slice of the credit.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
With regard to capabilities, would you say the same about ISIS?

Do you see a possibility that a nuclear Iran could foment a Shia ISis alternative (following the Koranic Caliphate recipe as ISIS has done mostly) just as nuclear Pakistan has done in creating the Taliban and growing AQ?

I think it's a mistake to think of ISIS as an Islamic group, even though Islamic people fight for it. From the accounts I've heard they are not at all a religious sect, and their leadership isn't even particularly interested in religion as it pertains to the functioning of ISIS. In my view ISIS should simply be regarded as a tactical asset, the question obviously being whose asset they are. Whether Iran is a nuclear power or not has no bearing on their uses for third party assets to conduct proxy operations for them. If anything having nuclear status would reduce their need for an unofficial army since, having a strong defense against attack or invasion, they would be guaranteed a certain degree of security that they don't at present enjoy. That being said all sorts of nations covertly employ assets and in this sense worrying about Iran doing so is more or less a red herring in terms of whether they threaten the USA.

I agree with Tom that Iran poses no threat to the U.S., and even if they theoretically could pose a threat there would be no reason for them to do so. The idea of rogue states acquiring technology that would make them capable of destroying other nations at will is still a bit in the realm of science fiction, I think. In 100-200 years I could foresee a very real problem whereby some joker could acquire a weapon capable of, say, cracking the Earth in half. In such a scenario the world might well have to be put on lockdown, with the only safe option honestly being colonizing other worlds. But at present any kind of threat even a nuclear Iran would pose would be manageable within the realm of diplomacy.

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noel c.
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Donald,

"Are you asking for a plausible scenario, or one where Iran attacks the USA with an EMP?

Make up your mind, noel. "...

Is this your professional opinion as a Canadian lawyer, Donald?

Tom,

"The Iranian government doesn't threaten the USA in any way. It poses no danger to our national security. It can rise to the level of a terrorist threat, in that it might be able to kill hundreds of thousands of people -- but it does not have the capacity to destroy our infrastructure, our economy, or our political sovereignty. Nor, to be honest, would it WANT to. "...

So now you not only "know" what a EMP burst cannot do, but you know Ayatollah Khamenei really does not "want" bad stuff for America. [Smile] (In spite of what he actually says?)

Fenring,

"I agree with Tom that Iran poses no threat to the U.S., and even if they theoretically could pose a threat there would be no reason for them to do so. "...

You are illustrating the problem which results in combining a lack of familiarity with fundamentalist Islam, and military applications for relatively small nuclear devices, into a defense policy.

Exhibit "A" :

"I think it's a mistake to think of ISIS as an Islamic group, even though Islamic people fight for it... "

Saying that ISIL is not Islamic is like saying the Schutzstaffel was not National Socialist... "even though (NAZI) people fought for it". It is a really bad idea to take analytic cues from Tom on anything involving factual fidelity.

Exhibit "B" :

"The idea of rogue states acquiring technology that would make them capable of destroying other nations at will is still a bit in the realm of science fiction, I think. "

An EMP would do little to compromise the survival of citizens living in third world nations, but to say that of developed states is utter nonsense... all due respect (seriously). You are normally more circumspect Fenring. I understand your political leanings, but why would you take such an ill-considered position?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
So now you not only "know" what a EMP burst cannot do, but you know Ayatollah Khamenei really does not "want" bad stuff for America.
Yes.

An EMP burst will not destroy the country's infrastructure. It is a known quantity; we know what they can do, especially in the size and quantity Iran might be capable of generating. Localized difficulty is not civilization-destroying. In order for an EMP attack to seriously disrupt the country, they'd have to hit us at 10 to 15 places at once -- which is within the realm of possibility, but also dramatically increases the chance that we would simply wipe them off the map. Again, Iran is not a country ruled by madmen; it is a country ruled by U.S.-educated, very cynical exploiters.

The big fear here is that Iran will become a country that we will be unable to destroy without suffering the threat of repercussions. It is entirely a concern that we will lose the ability to effortlessly project power, not the reverse.

And yes, I am absolutely certain that while Ali Khamenei would not shed a tear if a meteor wiped America off the map, he will not lift a finger to do that himself. To be honest, by this stage, I'm not entirely sure he'd even want to see Israel destroyed; the existence of Israel is too politically convenient, and it's not like Israel's transformation into an Arab state would actually do anything for Iran.

But, of course, I know you disagree. Because you are of course a self-proclaimed expert on everything, and you know better. [Smile]

[ August 07, 2015, 10:16 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c.:
"I think it's a mistake to think of ISIS as an Islamic group, even though Islamic people fight for it... "

Saying that ISIL is not Islamic is like saying the Schutzstaffel was not National Socialist... "even though (NAZI) people fought for it".

Take an example: A Jewish golf club. There is nothing 'Jewish' about the golf they play, nor will the club be decorated in any 'Jewish' manner, but nevertheless the club is populated by Jewish people. It is linguistically accurate to call such a place a "Jewish club" insofar as Jews populate it, but inaccurate to believe that in saying that one is referring to any religious connotations about the golf or the reason for playing the golf. Similarly, while Islamic people populate ISIS and therefore we might casually say "it's an Islamic group", it would be mistake in my opinion to say this intending to mean that the group is religious in nature and operates based on religious conviction or even trapping. From what I've read it's quite the secular group, and at best they have a Koran lying around but they don't even read it. They seem to simply be a military proxy organization that have a flair for the dramatic, making videos and saying certain things but in practice it's just PR.

quote:

Exhibit "B"

"The idea of rogue states acquiring technology that would make them capable of destroying other nations at will is still a bit in the realm of science fiction, I think. "

An EMP would do little to compromise the survival of citizens living in third world nations, but to say that of developed states is utter nonsense... all due respect (seriously). You are normally more circumspect Fenring. I understand your political leanings, but why would you take such an ill-considered position?

According to Wikipedia while a nuclear EMP detonated directly over the continental U.S. could affect the entire country, it would have to be detonated from a high altitude to do this (500+ km) and have a substantial yield to have a huge effect. The Starfish Prime test, for instance, tested a 1.44 megaton warhead, and this would be strong enough to be very damaging. While a smaller yield, such as 10 kilotons, could still do some damage it wouldn't be as catastrophic.

My point being, if Iran finally gained nuclear capability what sort of weapon would they initially be capable of creating? Certainly nothing as sophisticated as what the Russians and U.S. eventually developed. And how would they manage to deploy such a weapon at that kind of altitude directly over the U.S.? I posit that they simply could not, and that any missile sent to such a location would be intercepted far before it got there.

Could a nuclear Iran manage to get a warhead near a city of some sort? Probably, and in so doing they would be removed from the map. Bad deal for them. Could they deploy a civilization-destroying warhead over the U.S.? I don't think so. Would they try even if they could? The downtime for such a missile to reach 500+ km and traverse the Atlantic would be sufficient for the U.S. to initiate a counter-strike far before the EMP ever went off. Still a bad deal for Iran.

But I will say that given the current reliance on electronic equipment I do think it would be a good idea for certain U.S. military and government operations to take precautions and employ EMP shielding to key facilities and assets in the U.S. This is actually kind of a no-brainer, and they should do it regardless of Iran's agenda.

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noel c.
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Tom,

"An EMP burst will not destroy the country's infrastructure. It is a known quantity; we know what they can do, especially in the size and quantity Iran might be capable of generating. Localized difficulty is not civilization-destroying. In order for an EMP attack to seriously disrupt the country, they'd have to hit us at 10 to 15 places at once... "...

I see.

So tell me Thomas, what effect would a small 1.44 megaton device (non-biased for EMP) detonated 250 miles above the central United States have upon the power grid, and micro-electronics?

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noel c.
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Fenring,

"... it would be mistake in my opinion to say this intending to mean that the group is religious in nature and operates based on religious conviction or even trapping. From what I've read it's quite the secular group, and at best they have a Koran lying around but they don't even read it. "...

... Much like the "jihad" described by some Islamic clerics is about introspective cleansing?

I agree that a large percentage of ISIS fighters are probably not theologians, but that is true of the Moslem population generally... and most religiously inclined people irrespective of their religion. How much exposure do you have to the Islamic body of religious writings?

"According to Wikipedia while a nuclear EMP detonated directly over the continental U.S. could affect the entire country, it would have to be detonated from a high altitude to do this (500+ km) and have a substantial yield to have a huge effect. The Starfish Prime test, for instance, tested a 1.44 megaton warhead, and this would be strong enough to be very damaging. While a smaller yield, such as 10 kilotons, could still do some damage it wouldn't be as catastrophic. "...

You do recall that Iran is developing ICBM capability, correct? High altitude delivery will not be an impediment under the proposed treaty terms.

The Russians detonated a 52 megaton nuke in 1962 using technology much less advanced than that which Iran currently possesses. For perspective; they accomplished this only 13 years following their first successful test of a cloned Fat-Man knock-off. A device 1/50 as large will be sufficient to put the United States off the grid for years.

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DonaldD
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noel, an EMP if successfully generated by a nuclear detonation in low earth orbit, would do significant damage to infrastructure. Absolutely, huge amounts of damage would be done to long line cables and the power grid.

But it would not affect most consumer devices, including electronics, cars, appliances etc, especially if the electronics are not connected to the power grid, since their effective antennae would be mostly too short to generate a significant current.

It also would not affect most military hardware (certainly not bunkered missiles, nor submarines, nor anything outside of the continental USA (for instance, Hawaii, Europe, Saudi Arabia...)

So, yes, such an attack would be painful, and would cause significant damage and secondary loss of life.

It would not, however, in any way preclude a counterattack from the USA. And your argument for the 'scariness' of an effective EMP actually argues for an increasing proportional response: an EMP with the power you are tip-toeing around would be of an amplitude significant enough to warrant a nuclear retaliation with almost no political blow back outside of the middle east, only partly because you are positing an actual nuclear attack on the USA.

If Iran were to successfully launch such an attack on the USA, Iran would simply cease to exist in short order. None of the other nuclear entities (China, Russia, UK, France, Pakistan, India) would countenance a country willing to use such a weapon as a first strike, knowing that they might be next (each of those countries having had issues with the now proven insane version of Islam) so would probably support a retributive strike against the aggressor, never mind politically castigate the USA for the action.

Of course, Iran is decades and and many, many tests away from being able to deliver such a weapon, even assuming they had the inclination to do so. And the failure of the proposed treaty between Iran and, basically, the rest of the world, could not materially change that timeline.

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NobleHunter
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Not to mention the US would be justified in using nuclear weapons to prevent an EMP attack. In which case it doesn't matter where the targ--I mean carrier groups--are.
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noel c.
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Donald,

"But it would not affect most consumer devices, including electronics, cars, appliances etc, especially if the electronics are not connected to the power grid, since their effective antennae would be mostly too short to generate a significant current. "...

Umm, Donald; what electric consumer device is going to be useful to you if plugged into a dead wall receptacle? The ignition control computers of vehicles, including farm machinery, would in-fact be fried, as would cell phones and cell transmission tower transmitters. I don't know where you are getting your information from, but you are winging this.

It is true that military hardware is EMP shielded from E2 class pulse (the type a Faraday Cage will defeat), but E1 pulse (caused by interaction of x-ray and gamma ray radiation with the rarified upper atmosphere, and the geomagnetic field resulting an a nearly coherent, widely distributed pulse) will destroy even hardened military microelectronics.

I am not sure that really matters anyway. Our infrastructure repair would take a much higher priority than settling scores.

"Of course, Iran is decades and and many, many tests away from being able to deliver such a weapon... "...

BS.

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D.W.
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quote:
I am not sure that really matters anyway. Our infrastructure repair would take a much higher priority than settling scores.
Umm, a bully kicks down your sand castle and you immediately rebuild it while he stands there glaring at you arms crossed? I think not.

Even our more biblically prone politicians don't go in for that turn the other cheek stuff when it comes to national defense.

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noel c.
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DW,

"Umm, a bully kicks down your sand castle and you immediately rebuild it while he stands there glaring at you arms crossed? I think not. "...

I am thinking more like; "a bully" plants a foot in your testicles, and the first response is to resume a regular breathing pattern, at which point the bully has moved-on to more entertaining activities.

"Even our more biblically prone politicians don't go in for that turn the other cheek stuff when it comes to national defense. "...

When national collapse is a fiat-acompli, then the politicians can start to worry about things like governing.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
So tell me Thomas, what effect would a small 1.44 megaton device (non-biased for EMP) detonated 250 miles above the central United States have upon the power grid, and micro-electronics?
Well, it depends on whom you ask, quite literally. In 2004, a group seeking federal funding for public utility hardening said that it would basically shut down the grid. Most other credible researchers disagree, but certainly agree that it would cause localized disconnections. The central U.S. would be just about the best possible place for that kind of localized EMP to happen, though, so let's move it to the eastern seaboard, where it'd do a lot more damage.

Short-term: depending on how much warning we'd have, we're looking at around a million dead and 5 billion in damage. Most essential military bases are already hardened, as are many hospitals and D.C. area public facilities, but it'll take several months to relocate infrastructure from other locations, during which time even more people would die. We'd probably be looking at about $10 billion in economic damage from the strike alone, leaving aside any after-effects. In the meantime, Iran would go away forever.

In other words, this is not something a sane Iranian leader would consider. It is something that a sane Iranian leader would threaten, because it now imposes a potential cost were we to decide to otherwise end their existence.

Note that the simple act of hardening our public utility and emergency infrastructure would halve the potential damage, which is what those 2004-era alarmists were trying to achieve. Sadly, we're still insisting that the utilities pay for this themselves, despite the fact that a war with Iran would cost considerably more than nationwide utility upgrades.

[ August 07, 2015, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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D.W.
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Just incase I'm reading you wrong. You don't think it would be worth our time to retaliate if a country EMP'ed us?

Even if it was the last act we took as a "super power" as we slipped into another dark age, we would retaliate. An EMP, no matter how effective would not remove our capability to do so.

Even if it was an artificial choice of erase our enemy from the map, to insure we have the time to rebuild in peace, or get a 20 year head start on the rebuilding effort... we'd strike.

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DonaldD
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c.:

"Of course, Iran is decades and and many, many tests away from being able to deliver such a weapon... "...
BS.

Iran doesn't currently have second generation intermediate-range missiles, never mind intercontinental ballistic missiles.

They also have not developed a single nuclear explosive, never mind figured out a way to miniaturize a warhead to be placed on an ICBM which they have yet to develop.

Finally, Iran would need to test all of these devices, independently and in conjunction with each other; the likelihood of them being able to develop all of this technology successfully without testing is implausible.

Iran is a long way from deploying any such weapon against a target, and there are steps along the way that will trigger actions by foreign powers that would further delay such an eventuality. So yes, decades is probably reasonable.

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TomDavidson
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D.W. is completely right. The U.S. has spent literally billions of dollars ensuring that, in the event of massive devastation, we can still launch missiles at various preselected targets. There is pretty much nothing Iran could do that would prevent us from retaliating, except perhaps making it appear that another state did it instead.
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D.W.
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quote:
except perhaps making it appear that another rogue state did it instead.
Which is the only concession I make to Iran being a "threat" to the U.S.

They seem to enjoy using proxies. If they did become a nuclear armed threat, and decided to attack us because they thought they could get away with it, it would be small scale (to prevent a total strength retaliation) and through a proxy. Thus making the plan more prone to failure and take longer to get in place.

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noel c.
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Tom,

"The central U.S. would be just about the best possible place for that kind of localized EMP to happen, though, so let's move it to the eastern seaboard, where it'd do a lot more damage. "...

Do you know anything about Fenring's reference to the "Starfish Prime" test carried out in 1962? Look up the radius of affected area, and then convince me you are not incurably ignorant.

"Sadly, we're still insisting that the utilities pay for this themselves, despite the fact that a war with Iran would cost considerably more than nationwide utility upgrades. "...

Well, at least you are beginning to understand the problem.

DW,

"Just incase I'm reading you wrong. You don't think it would be worth our time to retaliate if a country EMP'ed us? "...

No, you are not reading me wrong.

"Even if it was the last act we took as a 'super power' as we slipped into another dark age, we would retaliate. An EMP, no matter how effective would not remove our capability to do so. "...

I agree it would not remove our capability... due once again to our navy. If there was enough will to divert resources from domestic recovery, I can even see a rational for retaliation... but not out of spite.

"Even if it was an artificial choice of erase our enemy from the map, to insure we have the time to rebuild in peace, or get a 20 year head start on the rebuilding effort... we'd strike. "...

That is the best justification I can think of. You may even be right that it would happen. Certainly a competent commander in chief would do it, but what if we had another iteration of Barry?

[ August 07, 2015, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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NobleHunter
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Divert what resources from domestic recovery? If anything, nuking Iran would free up resources because there'd be fewer warheads to maintain.
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noel c.
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Donald,

"Iran is a long way from deploying any such weapon against a target, and there are steps along the way that will trigger actions by foreign powers that would further delay such an eventuality. So yes, decades is probably reasonable. "...

During the Clinton administration, 1998 to be exact, China could not place an object in Earth orbit. Now they can deliver a nuclear device anywhere in the world at hypersonic velocity thanks to Loral, a defense contractor authorized by Willie to teach them how. Pandora's box has already been opened.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Do you know anything about Fenring's reference to the "Starfish Prime" test carried out in 1962?
*sigh* Yes, noel. It's not an obscure fact. Please look into the actual research. Starfish exploded over the ocean in the '60s, ultimately affecting an area with limited infrastructure; there are some elements there which do not allow it to map perfectly to an explosion over modern-day Kansas City.

But, no, I am not "beginning to understand the problem." My position on this has not budged; I have repeatedly pointed out that this is an irrational bugaboo that cannot possibly destroy the United States.

[ August 07, 2015, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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noel c.
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NH,

"Divert what resources from domestic recovery? If anything, nuking Iran would free up resources because there'd be fewer warheads to maintain. "...

OMG, did you have to think to come up with that?

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