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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Still on Catastrophe's Edge

Dr. Helen Caldicott of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute was on C-span this morning. She and Robert McNamara [former Defense Secretary] wrote the provocative article, "Still on Catastrophe's Edge," for the LA Times. Some excerpts:

As we continue to grapple with the United States' vulnerability to terrorist attack, we fail to recognize the most serious danger, one that is overlooked by politicians and emergency management agencies alike. Thousands of Russian nuclear warheads are targeted on the U.S.

How can this be, after the end of the Cold War nearly 15 years ago? Unfortunately, the targeting strategy of Russia and the United States has changed little, despite a profound change in relations between these two nations...

It estimated that Soviet nuclear war plans had two one-megaton bombs aimed at each of three airports that serve New York, one aimed at each of the major bridges, two at Wall Street and two at each of four oil refineries. The major rail centers and power stations were also targeted, along with the port facilities...

And New York would not be the only devastated city. According to a report on nuclear war planning by the National Resources Defense Council, Russia aims most of its 8,200 nuclear warheads at the U.S...

Caldicott and McNamara go on to point out the Russians have a hair trigger command and control system plus a rapidly decaying early warning system. All of this is increasingly vulnerable to terrorists and hackers. We also note: in 2002 the infamous Doomsday Clock was moved two minutes closer to Doomsday (from 9 minutes to midnight to 7 minutes).

Still on Catastrophe's Edge [NuclearPolicy.org]

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