Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fearmongering and the Wingnut Obsession With TV Shows

Let's start the morning off with something so deranged and full of the fantastic that it reads like, well, every other doomsday scenario plot line ever conceived. Playing the part of the rugged, crusty, cynical and morally supreme scientist who warns the government--but, dammit! the government won't listen because it's full of liberals!--is Dr. William Graham.
The United States “would quickly revert to an early 19th century type of country.” except that we would have 10 times as many people with ten times fewer resources, he said.

“Most of the things we depend upon would be gone, and we would literally be depending on our own assets and those we could reach by walking to them,” Graham said.

America would begin to resemble the 2002 TV series, “Jeremiah,” which depicts a world bereft of law, infrastructure, and memory.

In the TV series, an unspecified virus wipes out the entire adult population of the planet. In an EMP attack, the casualties would be caused by our almost total dependence on technology for everything from food and water, to hospital care.

Within a week or two of the attack, people would start dying, Graham says.

“People in hospitals would be dying faster than that, because they depend on power to stay alive. But then it would go to water, food, civil authority, emergency services. And we would end up with a country with many, many people not surviving the event.”

You don't say...

Asked just how many Americans would die if Iran were to launch the EMP attack it appears to be preparing, Graham gave a chilling reply.

“You have to go back into the 1800s to look at the size of population” that could survive in a nation deprived of mechanized agriculture, transportation, power, water, and communication.

“I’d have to say that 70 to 90 percent of the population would not be sustainable after this kind of attack,” he said.

America would be reduced to a core of around 30 million people — about the number that existed in the decades after America’s independence from Great Britain.

The modern electronic economy would shut down, and America would most likely revert to “an earlier economy based on barter,” the EMP commission’s report on Critical National Infrastructure concluded earlier this year.

Barter system? Jeremiah? The 1880s? My, goodness. The wingnut fantasy of the future world they wish to create is this--no one is allowed to rule but the wingnuts and the swimsuit models, and the swimsuit models have to barter sex with the wingnuts for the food that the wingnut slaves--you and me--have to grow for them. Now that's a TV show no one would watch.
In May 2007, then Undersecretary of State John Rood told Congress that the U.S. intelligence community estimates that Iran could develop an ICBM capable of hitting the continental United States by 2015.

But Iran could put a Scud missile on board a cargo ship and launch from the commercial sea lanes off America’s coasts well before then.

The only thing Iran is lacking for an effective EMP attack is a nuclear warhead, and no one knows with any certainty when that will occur. The latest U.S. intelligence estimate states that Iran could acquire the fissile material for a nuclear weapon as early as 2009, or as late as 2015, or possibly later.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld first detailed the “Scud-in-a-bucket” threat during a briefing in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 18, 2004.

Never mind the fact that, during the last test of missiles, Iran seemed more like a pretender than a player, but why rain on the fearmongering parade? Never mind the fact that America stood against a far deadlier enemy for decades and won without shredding the Constitution (President Reagan had a guy or two that tried, but half-assing your way through life never gets you anywhere).

The simple fact is this--these weapons have been around for a very long time, and people with the motive, the reason, the capability, and the inclination to use them against us have had them for as long as these weapons have been around. We are peeing down our legs in fear over nearly-dead mullahs and cash-poor aging revolutionaries who can't control much past a pretty good intelligence gathering network and a secret police apparatus that can't quite tamp down dissent throughout Iran as they would like. They are watching the world oil market run away from them and their crumbling oil producing infrastructure. Their only hope of having any hold on their own destiny is to pray that a handful of terrified American politicians will take them more seriously than the rest of the world does and turn them into the next Powerful, Menacing, Sworn Enemy of American Liberty. When Iran is posturing, the wingnuts take two conflicting positions: they paint Iran as a massive threat, but they downplay Iran's capability to withstand a sustained attack from Israel and the US. Which is it then? Are they a threat, or are they a joke?

I suspect that if someone had just laughed at the Iranians, none of this would be happening right now.


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