Sunday, August 01, 2010

Should we lose any sleep worrying about terrorists with nuclear weapons and dirty bombs?

Since 9/11 there has been a lot of chatter about the risks of terrorists getting hold of nuclear weapons and so-called dirty bombs. Should we lose any sleep worrying such risks? In short, the answer is a very clear No. Yes, the government should and does take such risks seriously and should and has programs in place to minimize such risks, but there are three simple and compelling facts: 1) No terrorist has ever obtained let alone used a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb, 2) the technical complexity of do so is far greater than pundits and the media suggest, and 3) there is no evidence whatsoever that terrorists are making any progress on either front. Sure, terrorists may certainly want to obtain and use such weapons, but desire rarely leads to capability when dealing with such technical complexity. Yes, we expect our government to continue to be vigilant on this front, so there is no good reason for any American citizen to lose even a single moment of sleep worrying about terrorists and nuclear weapons and so-called dirty bombs. Just say No to the fearmongerers.

There has also been a lot of chatter suggesting that Iran would give nuclear weapons to terrorists if they had them. That is a ridiculous assertion. First there is no evidence to suggest that the assertion might be valid. Even North Korea has not given or sold nuclear technology to terrorists. It is extremely unlikely, virtually certainly unlikely that Iran would give nuclear weapons to terrorists. Sure, Iran finds Hamas and Hezbollah useful tools of foreign policy, but there would be no possible benefit to Iran of risking the wrath of the U.S. or Israel with the clumsy use of a nuclear weapon by a typical terrorist group. The "mullahs" of Iran may seem inscrutable to many naive people in the U.S., but they are certainly not as mindless and stupid as the fearmongerers are suggesting. In fact, the available evidence indicates that they are quite pragmatic. Finally, there is zero evidence that Iran has even ever contemplated taking such an action. Is is fiction and fantasy and fabrication of those who seek to incite conflict with Iran. Once again, there is no good reason for any American citizen to lose even a single moment of sleep worrying about Iran providing terrorists with nuclear weapons and so-called dirty bombs. Again, just say No to the fearmongerers.

Is it hypothetically possible that terrorists could obtain nuclear weapons or dirty bombs? Yes, it is hypothetically possible, but extremely unlikely. Those of us who are pragmatic base our thinking and decisions on what is likely, not what is hypothetically possible in the extreme case. That is one of the purposes of government in the pragmatic worldview, to design and implement pragmatic programs to cover extreme cases so that citizens need not worry about them and can sleep at night. How effective are such government programs? Well, the available evidence is that they are extremely effective, with a failure rate to-date of... zero.

-- Jack Krupansky


At 10:04 PM , Blogger ITscout said...

It certainly would be more reassuring if your wishful analysis were more than conjecture.

North Korea has not been directly tied to terrorist organizations. They have, however, gone to great lengths to earn foreign currency anyway they can.

The description of Iran's mullahs doesn't fit especially well with their past behaviors beginning with the taking of American hostages up to the actions of their Hezbollah and Hamas proxies. Under almost any other president than Carter, Iran would have been pummeled for their hostage-taking action. It's no surprise that America's hostages were released within hours of Reagan becoming president.

Iran is behaving more and more like a military dictatorship. How much the military is controlled by the mullahs is certainly worth questioning. I can't imagine Hezbollah or Hamas doing anything without Tehran's tacit approval. What is the Hamas rationale for the continued rocket attacks against Israel? What was Hezbollah's gain from their rocket attacks during the last Lebanon-Israeli war?

What if Iran wants to lead the Muslim world and advance worldwide sharia law. In that respect how different is Iran than Al Queda? What was the rationale for 9/11?

At 10:54 PM , Anonymous Jack Krupansky said...

I would not agree that reality is a conjecture. It is the ongoing fearmongering that is all based on conjecture.

If Iran were to moved more towards a military dictatorship (like Pakistan was and still sort of is), it is even more unlikely that they would share nukes with terrorists. The military is even more focused on maintaining power than engaging in foreign adventures or in any way risking a loss of control or the wrath of the U.S. or Israel. It is civilian politicians who look for adventure abroad. Iranian support for Hamas and Hezbollah would seem to be an exception, but the obvious truth is that the Iranian support is rather limited and mostly moral in nature.

There is ZERO evidence that Iran or any of the nominally Muslim countries is seeking to spread sharia law. Zero. Zilch. Yet another one of the falsehoods promoted by fearmongerers in America as a tool for inciting unnecessary conflict with Iran.

-- Jack Krupansky


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