#rsrh “Duck and cover.”

Glenn Reynolds has a very good, very timely article on the subject* that depresses me utterly.  Not just because of the subject matter, which is gruesome, but necessary to contemplate.  What’s depressing is that I grew up in the tail end of the Cold War, and I remember well drawing overlapping circles on a map of the tri-State area and concluding that there wasn’t a chance in Hell that I could get far enough from the primary blast zones if the balloon ever went up**.  I did not mind in the slightest when history appeared to end in 1991.

But history doesn’t end, dammit.  And we need to address our lack of a Civil Defense program.

Moe Lane

*The very short version?  Unless you’re in the “instant kill” zone of a nuke, if one goes off near you it is a very good idea to duck when you see the flash (thus making you less of a target for the wave of infrared radiation and blast wave of pulverized solid materials that will follow), find cover (thus increasing your changes of surviving the shock waves) and seek shelter-in-place (thus not only avoiding fallout, which is going be highly dangerous; it also will help minimize the confusion and panic that will come in the aftermath of a nuclear strike).  The Obama administration is not being goofy by drawing from the 1950s Civil Defense programs; those programs were based on examinations of the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, and the conclusions make sense.

**Fort Monmouth.  Had the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade at the time.  Worth a bomb.  Ten miles from my house.

8 thoughts on “#rsrh “Duck and cover.””

  1. I live right near a major Air Force base (which has only gotten bigger since the Cold War), and the Wife now works there, so we are also secure in the fact that in the event of a nuke, we are SO screwed.

  2. We’re not talking about a nuclear war. We’re talking about one bomb. The most likely target will be a major city. New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami and Detroit are good candidates. The North Koreans would go for a west coast city, would make the most impact. They are the least likely threat. Islamic terror groups and Iran are the most likely choices. I’d have to pick the Sunni’s as the most likely choice. Washington or New York would be my bet, Al Quaeda loves symbolism. You know, we really should get serious about recreating continuity of government and survivable communications systems. Redundent electrical grids would seem a good idea, too. Major power grids being knocked out by EMP would lead to massive deaths to disease and starvation in a short period of time.

  3. I moved to my apartment 2 miles from the Pentagon in 1984, and been there ever since. I always knew my participation in WWIII would be as a cloud of slowly cooling plasma condensing over the Chesapeake…

  4. Continuity of govt: the Constitution provides rules for the Senate — Amdnt 17 specifies gubernatorial appointment followed some special election “as the (state) legislature may direct”. As of 2001 the House had no such provision, and basically, you have to wait until the next even-year election to get your representative back. In 2005 Congress passed a law providing for special elections within 49 days of a vacancy — as determined by the state legislature. However, if the worst happens and more than half of the House Reps are…unavailable, then you don’t have a quorum, and can’t do any House business — such as declaring war — until an enough of the various states hold those elections to provide a quorum. There were proposals like this one from AEI and Brookings which came to the fore soon after 9/11, but I don’t know if they went anywhere; perhaps the 2005 change was the best Congress could manage to pass, but it still leaves a 49 day gap.

  5. You don’t know where terrorists are going to hit us. You think you do and you don’t. You think NYC or DC are Priorities #1 and #2? I got two words for you: Oklahoma City.

  6. “if the balloon ever went up**.”

    That phrase conjured up the West German anti-nuke protest song “99 Red Ballons” that topped the charts in 1984. Although I suspect that was not where you were trying to lead the discussion.

  7. Fort Monmouth? Wow, the intarwebs are a small world. I used to live in NJ and had two family members who worked at the fort (in a civilian capacity).

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