In theory, an EMP attack is straightforward. However, it is not as easy as it sounds.
Still, IF ...
U.S. Intel: Iran Plans Nuclear Strike on U.S.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:00 AM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
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If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 kilometers to 400 kilometers above the earth, in a split-second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse [EMP] that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure, the report warned.
While not causing immediate civilian casualties, the near-term impact on U.S. society would dwarf the damage of a direct nuclear strike on a U.S. city.
“The first indication [of such an attack] would be that the power would go out, and some, but not all, the telecommunications would go out. We would not physically feel anything in our bodies,” Graham said.
As electric power, water and gas delivery systems failed, there would be “truly massive traffic jams,” Graham added, since modern automobiles and signaling systems all depend on sophisticated electronics that would be disabled by the EMP wave.
“So you would be walking. You wouldn’t be driving at that point,” Dr. Graham said. “And it wouldn’t do any good to call the maintenance or repair people because they wouldn’t be able to get there, even if you could get through to them.”
The food distribution system also would grind to a halt as cold-storage warehouses stockpiling perishables went offline. Even warehouses equipped with backup diesel generators would fail, because “we wouldn’t be able to pump the fuel into the trucks and get the trucks to the warehouses,” Graham said.
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, Dr. 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.”
Asked just how many Americans would die if Iran were to launch the EMP attack it appears to be preparing, Dr. 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.