Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy and The Short Count

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism at 6:29 pm by George Smith

In today’s Washington Times, Arnaud de Borchgrave, often called ‘the Short Count’ behind closed doors, if he is called at all, writes about how a neocon thinks the Obama administration can save and revitalize the country.

Bomb Iran!

The Short Count writes:

Mr. Obama is floundering as he tries to reset his presidency on economics. Defense is sacrosanct. Either taxes go up, or entitlements go down, or both. On Capitol Hill, it’s still burned toast for the president.

For centuries, leaders faced with insuperable domestic problems found escape in foreign distractions. In some cases, the distractions occurred suddenly and fortuitously, such as World War II, which started in Europe and pulled America out of the Great Depression.

President Obama isn’t looking for such a distraction, but others have no pangs illuminating what they think is the way out of the “clueless in Washington” dilemma. Right-wing scholar-activist Daniel Pipes, a neocon icon, could not be more blunt: President Obama can “save” his presidency by bombing Iran. The fact that this also could cost him the presidency is not deemed worthy of discussion.


“Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity. It would have the advantage of sidelining health care, push Republicans to work with Democrats, make Tea Party-ers jump for joy, conservatives and neoconservatives would swoon ecstatically.”

In 2003, President George H.W. Bush appointed Mr. Pipes to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

And what better way to promote peace than to advocate bombing. Even the President can get behind that in America.

So what else is there? Electromagnetic pulse crazy, that’s what!

To reinforce the war party’s arguments, Mr. Pipes also says that “the apocalyptic-minded leaders in Tehran” could eventually “launch an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S., utterly devastating the country.” His detractors dismiss EMP alarmism as flimflam. But they are wrong. EMP is a very real concern of those who ponder future asymmetrical threats.

Those durned accusers of flimflam’d be us (as in here and here and other places) and Armchair Generalist.

To summarize: One would be hard-pressed to imagine a bigger instance in which a group of people offer themselves up for deserved ridicule.

If a thing is backed up by hard science [like global warming or evolution], the Republican party denies its existence. If, however … something [is] rather abstract to almost all Americans, rests almost entirely on theoretical prediction, is … not likely to ever occur at all, and then only in the context of what would promise to be an all out nuclear war, [like electromagnetic pulse doom], the GOP extreme right believes in it very strongly.

And so The Short Count writes, repeating the electromagnetic pulse crazy/bomb Iran lobby’s favorite script of doom:

One Scud-type nuclear missile, fired from the cargo hold of a freighter off the East Coast, set to explode 75 miles up, could fry everything electrical in one-third of the United States, from every cell phone and computer to aircraft, trains, vehicles, elevators, and the entire government, including the Pentagon.

This comes to de Borchgrave through a Pipes article in National Review.

In it, Pipes writes:

Not only does a strong majority — 57, 52, 58, 61, and 61 percent in these five polls — already favor using force, but after a strike Americans will presumably rally around the flag, sending that number much higher.

Fourth, if the U.S.limited its strike to taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities and did not attempt any regime change, it would require few “boots on the ground??? and entail relatively few casualties, making an attack more politically palatable.

DD had missed this but it’s ably pointed out by Don Emmerich here.

Cult of EMP Crazies from the archives.

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