Who’s afraid of nuclear terrorists?

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama hosted a nuclear security summit in Washington to address an issue so grave, 40 heads of state were in attendance. Had Obama also extended invitations to the mayors of America’s major cities, it’s unclear how many would have been able to squeeze the summit into their busy schedules.

The Washington Times reports:

The U.S. military has canceled a major field exercise that tests its response to a nuclear attack, angering some officials who say that what is now planned for this month will be a waste of time.

U.S. Northern Command in Colorado withdrew from major participation in this month’s National Level Exercise (NLE), a large-scale drill that tests whether the military and the Department of Homeland Security can work with local governments to respond to an attack or natural disaster.

The exercise was canceled recently after the planned site for a post-nuclear-attack response — Las Vegas — pulled out in November, fearing a negative impact on its struggling business environment.

A government official involved in NLE planning said a new site could not be found. The official also said the Northern Command’s exercise plans for “cooping” — continuity of operations, during which commanders go to off-site locations — also had been scratched.

“All I know is it’s been turned into garbage,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. “It’s a nonevent.”

Will al Qaeda be emboldened by this turn of events? I kind of doubt it. In fact Las Vegas — which might not generally epitomize a realistic outlook — is probably making a safe bet here as it wagers that its economic health takes precedence over its need to be prepared to handle a nuclear attack.

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2 thoughts on “Who’s afraid of nuclear terrorists?

  1. pabelmont

    Israel is quoted somewhere as saying [1] that it will respond to an existence-threatening attack with nuclear arms (or so its statements was interpreted) adn [2] that any attack on Israel by rockets, whether with chemical or nuclear or conventional warheads would be DEEMED an existence-threatening attack.

    So, if I were looking for a nuclear threat, I’d know where to find one. Hezbollah sends the usual sort of rockets into Israel (perhaps in response to Israel’s now anticipated good-weather jaunt [aggressive war, war of choice] into Lebanon) adn Israel responds (if indeed the threat was real) with nuclear arms, directed who-knows-where: Iran? Syria? Lebanon.

    Israel may not actually BE a loose cannon but it dearly loves to act like one, as the Gaza fish-in-a-barrel episode of 2008-2009 shows and as the 1982 and 2006 invasions of Lebanon showed.

    If Hezbollah is better equipped and better prepared for this summer’s invasion, the counter-attacks on Israel might be stronger than previously and the nuclear question might be raised.

    If they are, then Israel’s unprovoked attack, provoking the nearly necessary counter measures, might be the “act” which initiates nuclear war in the Middle East, Israel’s earlier protestations (we will never introduce nuclear arms into the middle east) notwithstanding.

  2. Christopher Hoare

    Actually, I have uncovered secret information that explains why the exercise was cancelled. The wives of all the military officers who were to be COOPed to Las Vegas put their collective feet down and vetoed the party.
    Then North Korea sent a diplomatic message saying ‘thank you, but all the other organs of US government were already doing their best to make Dear Leader look good.’ Didn’t want to overdo it.

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