This is no mere pipe dream. It is what the ayatollahs appear to be planning. Iran has already put a satellite into orbit, demonstrating that it has the means and the technical know-how to launch a nuclear or EMP payload. The accumulating death toll would be astronomical. Gingrich and Forstchen direct us to studies which “estimate that 90% of all Americans might very well die in the year after such an attack.” German director Wim Wenders’ film Until the End of the World, as well as William Forstchen’s recent novel, One Second After, depict in their different ways what such an event would entail. It is hard to assimilate so unthinkable a prospect, and inertia or dismissal is a natural response to the probability of cataclysms. Nevertheless, in today’s explosive world, and in the light of the developments I have outlined, it is a realistic picture. We would be foolhardy to ignore it.
There is no question that the electrical network that powers the nation must be hardened and rendered resistant before it is too late. This is precisely Graham’s argument. Alternatively, one way to neutralize the threat would be to initiate an EMP strike over Iran from the Persian Gulf, turning the tables on an enemy state that presents an imminent danger to the U.S. Properly conducted, the source of the attack could not be identified and the gander will have trumped the goose. The fact that oil prices would spike temporarily is something that would happen anyway when war breaks out in the Middle East, an event that is clearly inevitable. Better sooner while we still have the upper hand than later when the ayatollahs will have cut off our hands entirely. Those who minimize the likelihood of such a catastrophe, like The New York Times William Broad, are living in the cloud-cuckoo land of leftwing political complacency. An upholstered reverie is no consolation when the lights go out.
An EMP attack is distinctly possible, perhaps even probable. To regard such an irruption as merely fictitious, as nothing but a celluloid fable or the wild imaginings of sci-fi enthusiasts rather than an appalling aspect of enemy calculation, is to make a category mistake whose consequences we might not live to deplore.
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