75 years ago, August 6, 1945, an A-bomb destroyed Hiroshima. Three day later, August 9, 1945, a second A-bomb obliterated Nagasaki. The atomic bombing anniversary has become a time for public debate. Since publication of John Hershey’s Pulitzer prize-winning book “Hiroshima” (1946) the first atomic bombing has become synonymous for both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hiroshima has even become a new word in English and other languages for describing any catastrophe, especially catastrophes of great magnitude and inhumanity.
Kelsey Atherton in “Electromagnetic Pulses Are The Last Thing You Need to Worry About in a Nuclear Explosion” (Foreign Policy July 21, 2020) describes my Task Force on National and Homeland Security (a congressional advisory board) as among the culprits exaggerating the threat from EMP, dismissed by Atherton as “one of America’s weirdest strategic obsessions.”
Unfortunately and irresponsibly, Foreign Policy has not published my rebuttal to Atherton’s erroneous article, allowing their readers to be misinformed.
On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 100,000 people and began what might be called the “Age of Nuclear Terror.” Ever since the horror of the bombing of these two Japanese cities, the nightmarish possibility of nuclear annihilation has hung suspended, like a permanent mushroom cloud, haunting the imaginations of every generation of humanity.
President Trump’s U.S. Space Force is constantly under attack, from critics both foreign and domestic, as a giant step toward supposedly violating long-standing international norms and treaties against “militarizing space.” Russia, China, and perpetual domestic critics of U.S. defense programs like the Arms Control Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Federation of American Scientists are particularly opposed to U.S. space-based missile defenses.
Many China experts in government and academia, and anti-nuclear activists such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Federation of American Scientists, appear not to be worried by China’s rapidly growing nuclear capabilities, because Beijing’s official policy promises that China will not be the first to employ nuclear weapons in a conflict. Beijing promises that its nuclear forces are for deterrence and retaliation only, not for aggression.
As noted in a May 14, 1996, People’s Liberation Army newspaper about a surprise attack on U.S. critical information systems: “When a country grows increasingly powerful economically and technologically … it will become increasingly dependent on modern information systems. … The United States is more vulnerable to attacks than any other country in the world.”