During the cold war, the general time period between 1945 and 1991, people believed that a massive exchange of nuclear weapons between the U.S. and U.S.S.R would occur. As we know, and fortunately, this did not happen. The potential nuclear conflict was between countries with reasonably rational and balanced thinking, whose populations and assets were to be protected, and the policy of MAD (mutual assured destruction) was the deterrent. Today though, the “war on terror” and the willingness of terrorists and terrorist nations to sacrifice innocent people, is the reality that we live in. With this in mind, it is not only possible but also conceivable that with the great number of nuclear devices and nuclear materials throughout the world, a terrorist nation, terrorist group, or proxy will successfully use a nuclear device within the United States.
The damage caused from a nuclear device of what would seemingly be available and used by a terror group will not devastate the U.S. as that which would have happened during an exchange with the U.S.S.R. during the cold war, however it could conceivably bring on a major collapse of the psychology of safety, the collapse of the economy, and the end of freedoms as we know them today. Especially if well placed.
With that said, what would be the potential targets for terrorist nuclear weapons?
Population Centers – Major U.S. cities with large populations including concentrations of wealth and western ideology such as New York (8 million), Los Angles (3.7 million), and Chicago (2.9 million).
National Government – Obviously, Washington DC represents the center of U.S. political power. Any significant disruption would cause enormous ramifications within the United States and internationally.
Financial Centers – Major centers that control or administer the economic engines of the U.S. including stock exchanges.
Transportation Centers – Taking out the major shipping ports would cripple the means to import food and products that the U.S. now depends upon for survival. Major airports have and will continue to be targets.
Industrial Centers – Energy infrastructure, refineries, storage depots, pipelines, power grid, large dams, nuclear power plants… are all targets.
Let us not forget that the threat and risk of nuclear detonation is still very real. One could argue that it is even more possible today given the willingness and lack of respect for life of so many radical non-Western groups and terrorist nations today. Be aware that even a relatively small ‘dirty bomb’ would be enough to freak out the majority of citizens who are living in a bubble of a false sense of security, most of whom would panic and bring down ‘the system’ around them.
Are you prepared?