Who was it who said the more things change the more they stay the same? Whomever it was couldn’t have possibly known how right they were. The precarious nature of modern American society is the equivalent of balancing a house on the head of a pin. As stable as the foundation may appear to the unnoticing, the realities hide the truth. While our American spirit may be likened to the Prudential rock, our actual infrastructures are a delicate balance of ignorance, over-confidence & our turning a blind eye to the facts.
Our nation is sophisticated beyond our daily notice of it. We go about our busy, 21st Century lives paying no attention to just how our nation operates, and I do not mean government, but the things we take for granted: the immediate availability of any food we wish to eat; flush toilets; the flipping of a switch and magically light appears; turning on our computers and our immediate connection to the world and all the rest of our modern world we accept as “the way it is.”
Don’t look now friends but we are closer to the edge of oblivion than most are aware.
How many of you are familiar with the term “EMP?” EMP is the acronym for Electromagnetic Pulse (For a detailed explanation see the included link in the resources section). How many are aware that a nuclear burst of a bomb 300 miles up in the atmosphere over Kansas City, Missouri would destroy every piece of non-insulated electronics across the entire nation? Such a bust would fry every transistor that was un-insulated from an EMP from northern Canada all the way south past Mexico City, and from the entire Atlantic seaboard all the way to the West Coast.
Every non-insulated computer, television, radio, IPod, automobile electronic ignition system, cell phone and anything that runs on electricity or batteries would be fried. EVERYTHING!
Now, the realities are that few nations and no terrorist group have the capability to launch such a weapon to a 300 mile altitude, which for reference is well above the International Space Station and most satellites that orbit our planet. But to achieve the ends of a rogue nation or terror group there is no need to launch such a huge weapon to such a high altitude.
A series of smaller yield weapons launched to an altitude of only 30 miles would achieve the same goal, at least on the coasts of the nation, and in fact well inland. Allow me to explain.
Let’s say Iran decides they have had enough of the US and our imperial ways. They have Scud Missiles which are more than capable of doing the job. Let’s say Iran dispatches 6 ships – one each positioned off the coast of New Jersey, North Carolina, the Florida panhandle, the Texas coast, central California and Portland, Oregon.
In a coordinated effort, launching 2 missiles from each ship, and having the missiles climb to 30 miles in altitude on an inland (toward the central US) trajectory before their high altitude detonations would end the US as we know it! No ifs, ands or buts about it – that’s it Kiddies! The effects of these near simultaneous blasts would fry every transistor in their fallout zones.
A 30 mile high blast would cause a crippling EMP for a range of 480 miles out from the center of the detonation location (See the Wikipedia link and the chart included on the Wikipedia page for a more detailed graphic representation). 30 miles is not that high and the Scud missiles of North Korea or Iran can easily accomplish this goal. Here’s how it works.
The missiles could be launched from aboard ships at sea and headed toward our inland regions. If the missiles flew inland for 300 miles on the way to their detonation altitude of 30 miles the blasts would destroy all non-insulated electronics from the coast to almost 800 miles inland from the coast. Launch the missiles from off the coast of New Jersey and every electronic piece of equipment from Boston to DC and as far inland as Indiana and central Kentucky would be instantly rendered useless..
Missiles launched off the coast of N. Carolina and detonated 300 miles inland would fry the transistors from DC south to Atlanta and as far inland as Alabama & Tennessee. The 300 mile inland detonation of a bomb launched from the Gulf of Mexico toward say Birmingham, AL, would effect Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, etc. One launched from the gulf toward northwestern Texas would effect Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska.
One launched off the coast of central California and detonated over southern Nevada would fry everything from San Diego to Arizona north to Reno, Nevada and the San Fernando Valley. One launched near Portland, Oregon and headed inland and detonated over southern Oregon would fry the electronics from San Francisco all the way to Seattle and inland as far as Utah.
The only places not affected by my proposed scenario are the far inland regions of the eastern Great Plains, maybe Chicago and the Dakotas and the far inland northern Great Plains. Every other non-insulated transistor would be fried to its death.
So how will you and I and American society be effected? The next article in the series will lay out some possible ramifications from the complete loss of electronics for most of the nation. It will follow shortly. I apologize for the need to publish a multi-part series but to sufficiently cover the topic requires more than a person would generally like to read in one article.