We, the United States, are currently under a President and an administration which plays fast and loose with the truth, facts and often creates its own version of reality. Some Americans revel in this chaos of “draining the swamp,” which by the way leaves only slimy, gooey mud that grips you and sucks you down into oblivion. Other Americans have rushed to the aid of this wanna be dictator in hopes of enriching their position, and other Americans watch with horror as threats of nuclear attacks are tossed about like water balloons. Let’s attempt the impossible. Cut the bullshit politics and misinformation out of the game for a moment and examine one issue: What a Nuclear Attack on the United States Would look like.
We need to set some parameters for our scenario that are based on facts and the most realistic projection if void of factual information.
Wiping any American city, much alone a large one, off the face of the earth requires blast power well beyond the capacity of any terrorists group. In order to accomplish this task they’d need nuclear weapons powerful enough and in the numbers that only countries with nuclear weapons possess. Keep this in mind as we proceed.
People consider bigger, the bigger the bomb, the more powerful the bomb. is always better. In reality that is not true as the US and USSR discovered during their initial arms race. As they built bigger, they realized they were developing a problem being able to deliver the bomb, as well as increasing cost to build and maintain larger bombs.
Scientists discovered they could achieve the same destruction level, if not more, by detonating several small bombs in a tight pattern. One very large bomb (a B83, 1.2 megaton) US arsenal’s largest warhead, dropped on New York City would be devastating costing millions of lives and reducing the city to rubble. However, 7 smaller warheads detonated close together with overlapping shock waves would create exponentially more damage than the 1 large bomb, reducing a larger area to ashes and killing more people.
Another issue a terrorist organization would face in deploying a large nuclear bomb is the ability to deliver it. A nuclear bomb is not detonated when it hits the ground, instead it explodes in an air-burst at optimal altitudes to maximize the destructive force. No terrorist group would have access to an ICBM in order to achieve an air-burst. A surface detonation is much less destructive and would require a much larger bomb for the same results. The larger the bomb the increased chances of discovery by the authorities.
Okay, so again, what a Nuclear Attack on the United States would look like and am I safe? Well, let’s assume the enemy will target the largest 15 American cities for destruction. Those cities are, defined by city limits:
Notice something awry? Washington, DC, an obvious prime target is not on the list, nor are Boston, Atlanta or Seattle, major transportation and infrastructure centers. The point is, we need to qualify which cities would be the more obvious targets for an enemy. I suggest the list would look more like this:
The current administration dominates the news cycles every night with some sort of new revelation of collusion, sex scandal, crooked real estate deals, money laundering, treason, or other incredible story which was unfathomable two years ago. Whether you believe the stories or not is inconsequential, as long as you admit to yourself that the claim of dominating the news is true and accurate.
This continuous circus draws attention away from very serious events occurring daily throughout the world that could have serious consequences on America and her traditional allies. Not that the US intelligence agencies are slacking, but the administration dismisses their reports as propaganda. This attitude, the fact the President can not read and breaches of security himself, either through ignorance or intentional acts of treason has isolated America from her traditional intelligence allies.
Now let’s delve into a completely realistic, too realistic, a scenario that could be occurring as you read this article. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has always been considered vulnerable due to the uncertainty of political stability of the government. A recent Taliban offensive results in the theft of 15 nuclear warheads from Pakistan’s nuclear inventory.
World wide intelligence agencies raise the alarm of the possible thefts, but the Pakistan government maintains the Taliban never got close to nuclear weapons and without the aid of the US government pressuring the Pakistan government to allow outside forces to investigate for themselves the accuracy of said claims, the world is shut out. Why wouldn’t we demand access? We would if the nation was aware of it, but the American people and news cycles are too engrossed in the latest scandal of the Trump administration.
Pakistan’s intelligence service is coming unglued over the loss of 15 nuclear weapons, each with a blast of 45 kilotons, enough power to destroy most world downtown centers turning them into ash. Finally Pakistan is forced to admit the theft of the nuclear weapons, but their extended length of delay allowed the Taliban to dismantle the warheads and sneak them out of the country during the ensuing chaos.
One day, sometime later, the warheads arrive in the United States, are loaded into normal looking delivery trucks, moving vans or ambulances and sent to their assigned target. It only takes 15 fanatics who wish to see Allah and get a bunch of virgins in bed to accomplish this task. Much easier than finding a Democrat who would piss on a Republican if they were on fire, and visa versa.
On a specified day at 2PM on the East Coast, peak business hours and traffic, the terrorists detonate their nuclear weapons, immediately killing over 2 million Americans and seriously injuring many millions more from shrapnel and burns in a matter of literally seconds. There are those who are dead and those who will die. Cities that remain intact due to low yields of blast or misplacement of the devises, will still have the main downtown area totally destroyed and massive fires will finish the destruction.
Prior to 9/11 it may have taken an hour or longer for Americans to admit something so horrible could occur on US soil, but now within a matter of minutes panicked people are desperately attempting to exit the cities, both the affected and those not affected. The internet crashes as its overwhelmed with information regarding the attacks are posted and surviving cable news stations are trying to make sense of the thousands of rumors and reports of additional bombs about to be detonated.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, a well placed bomb has destroyed the White House and what was not destroyed by the pressure waves was turned to ashes by the intense thermal radiation. The President and Vice-President are confirmed dead.
On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue the Speaker of the house, next in line for the Presidency, is standing in his office window looking out over the National Mall when the fire-ball raises from the destroyed downtown area a Washington DC. Having no shielding he’s exposed to the full effect of the blast, suffering second and third degree burns over his entire body. Loose papers and wood panels inside the office explode into flames.
The speaker’s security detail pulls him from the rubble, but his chances of surviving are questionable at best. There is now a leadership vacuum that will create another crisis.
Under the 1947 Presidential Succession Act, the Speaker assumes the role of acting President, unless he fails to qualify. What exactly does that mean? Does disability due to injures qualify? You’d think so, but the definition of Fails to Qualify pertains only to the President, Vice-President, President pro-tempore of the Senate and successive Cabinet members. Nothing about the Speaker.
First Constitutional crisis. What if the President pro-tempore demands to be sworn in as President? Will the Supreme court agree, or are they even alive? What if they agree, then the Speaker of the House recuperates. Who is President then?
Meanwhile, the Pentagon, across the Potomac River has been relatively unscathed by the blast. A few officers received minor burns and a couple of unfortunate souls were blinded, but the headquarters is the only government office that is still operational. The military brings the Armed Forces to its highest ready alert in anticipation of a counter strike to Pakistan, which is declared complicit in the attack because they failed to warn the US and the world of the dangers although they were fully aware of the threat. However, the law does not allow the Secretary of Defense to take control of the National Command Authority, only the President can authorize that, and we currently have no President. The military is helpless to provide protection against further aggression.
Meanwhile, remaining leaders of the civil service make their way to secondary government sites and await orders from the surviving heads of their respective agencies. However, many Cabinet members and their deputies have been killed in the blast leaving nobody officially in charge. Most agencies are paralyzed by lack of leadership.
The worlds’ financial markets have imploded. The loss of financial capital and power due to the destruction of New York City, LA and Chicago has devastated confidence world wide sending economies plummeting. While countries’ military forces brace themselves for further attacks and heads of state contemplate preemptive strikes, heads of finance expect a global depression is imminent.
Within hours of the attack, all 50 states call up their National Guard in an attempt to quell the chaos and restore order that is rapidly spreading across the country. Health services are overwhelmed with the injured, law enforcement is spread thin, and cities and states not effected struggle to figure out how to help the affected areas and treat the displaced and panicked masses.
The country’s transportation network has ground to a complete halt as interstates are clogged with refugees, air traffic control has grounded all air traffic except military, major rail hubs are inoperable and most of the nation’s biggest and busiest seaports are closed down. If the facilities were not damaged by a blast, they are vacated as workers leave the sites to tend to their families.
In the days following the attack, the President pro-tempore of the Senate has been sworn in as Acting President by the few Supreme Court Justices still alive, but there is no mention of what happens should the Speaker of the House recuperate and demands the Presidency.
There were enough members of Congress out of town and left alive to provide a quorum and while playing fast and loose with the Constitution, grants themselves the authority to govern outside the destroyed capital city. This will not be the last of Congress playing fast and loose with the Constitution in order to achieve their goals, which are not a return to a pure democracy.
Thirsty for vengeance and with no doubt Pakistan was deemed complicit in the attack for failure to cooperate with the international community in tracking down the stolen nuclear weapons, the US threatens nuclear retaliation. Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, although sending their sympathies and regrets for the killed and injured, threaten action if the US does launch a nuclear attack. The world is tense.
As the world watches and holds its breath the US economy effectively collapses. Not since the Great Depression has consumer confidence been this low which prompts the government to close all banks leaving millions with no access to funds. People flee the cities leaving them resembling ghost towns rather than once thriving urban centers.
Millions of people, mostly in and around the densely populated areas of the Northeastern Corridor between DC and Boston are now beginning to experience the effects of radiation sickness and will begin dying in mass. The medical services are overwhelmed and for all practical purposes non-existent. International aid is mobilizing as quickly as possible, but with nearly all major airports and seaports out of commission the ability to transport relief is severely hampered. It could take months for significant relief to arrive and meanwhile millions of desperate Americans struggle to stay alive.
The military response against Pakistan, once it is organized, is swift and brutal. Over International objections and appeals for calm, the US destroys every major urban center inside Pakistan. The US, along with a few allies, quickly overwhelm the Pakistan armed forces, forcing surrender or annihilation. Their second mandate is to remove the government and quell the Taliban insurgency. This they accomplish with a tenacity and viciousness never before demonstrated by the American military. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea do not interfere.
Perhaps within a year after the attack, and the US economy has begun to show signs of life. Many have made their way back to urban areas which have been declared safe, but others have begun to settle in other cities, creating boom towns in the upper Midwest, New England, and mid-South. However, the strength and longevity of America’s economic recovery is in doubt as the global depression persists and there is serious talk of replacing the US Dollar with the Euro as the world’s reserve currency, leaving its value at historic lows, further entrenching the depression’s depth and length.
The political chaos built on lies and cons by the Trump administration had already severely weaken the rule of law in the United States. The political chaos in the aftermath of the attack, and in the beginnings of investigations into how such an attack could have been possible, has enraged an already government-resentful population.
Recent election results held to replace those Members of Congress killed in and as a result of the attack have shown to favor a rise of third-parties and extremists. America will be forever changed and may never be the America we live in today.
What a Nuclear Attack on the United States would look like? It’d look like the end of the United States as we know it. Whether you love Trump and believe all his lies, or you hate him, you both have something in common. Trying to live through the destruction of the United States.
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