What Happens if a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in the United States

The NY Times front page: U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable

The article talks about how to increase your chances of surviving a nuclear attack. It also addresses the fact that, as a society, we consider a nuclear attack too horrific to think about. The result is that we are not prepared to deal with it on a personal level or a national level. The article covers the personal response, and that it’s best to not “flee” for a period of 24 hours, and instead recommends that you hide in the basement or other such shelter.

The subject of personal or city-wide response to a nuclear attack is important, but what to me seems significantly more important is the discussion of our government’s response. Given how we rushed into war in Afghanistan and Iraq without much discussion, I think NOW is a good time to talk about what happens if such an attack is executed by a terrorist organization on our homeland. What should the military response be? If we don’t talk about it now, I fear that the response would be too drastic and only escalate the conflict, potentially leading to millions more deaths.

Such an event is almost too horrible to talk about, but perhaps we should, so that the people that do survive can use their head and prevent the government from loosing theirs in a rash widespread military response on suspected “host” nations.

If you think that such an attack is extremely unlikely, unfortunately, I disagree with you. The strategy and technology of destruction is always one step ahead of an effective defense. In my mind, major terrorist attacks in the world are inevitable as long as there are people living in financial and moral poverty somewhere on Earth.

The fact that the risk exists is enough of a motivation to deliberate on a effective policy of a political and military response in the case of such a tragedy.

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