Saturday, October 14, 2017

Some Semblance of Normalcy

"We're being told in Colorado Springs [NORAD headquarters] that the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada."
"[In the] heat of the moment [the U.S. command could go contrary to the policy, but] it would be entirely a U.S. discussion and a U.S. decision."
Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, deputy commander, North American Aerospace Defence Command

"The U.S. isn't going to take the chance of radioactive drift coming across from Vancouver or Toronto."
"Any missile coming towards North America would be targeted by the Americans. We don't need to be part of U.S. missile defence for that to happen."
Michael Byers, political science professor, University of British Columbia

"We trained children in schools to get under their desks and cover the backs of their necks to protect themselves from shattered glass, which does absolutely nothing to protect them from radiation."
"[Once a nuclear detonation has gone off] all electronic communications would be out. A public education campaign should be going on now."
Dennis Mileti, former director, National Hazards Center, University of Colorado

"Part of the problem is that the emergency planners themselves, personally, are overwhelmed psychologically by the thought of nuclear catastrophe. They are paralyzed."
"You say 'nuclear' to them, and they're thinking, 'Oh my God, we're all gone. What's the point? It's futile. And we're trying to tell them 'It's not futile. We can change the survival rates by doing some commonsensical things."
"You want as much distance and as much shielding as possible between you and the detonation, and you stay in this shelter environment [either underground or on the middle floors of a tall building, away from windows] for somewhere between 24 and 72 hours."
"We would have essentially permanent loss of real estate that will not be habitable for people's lifetimes and more. [There would be economic reverberations] not just locally in the communities affected, but regionally, nationally and internationally."
"I hope we're never in that position where we have to choose between not responding to an actual nuclear attack or wiping out another country, which consists of 99.9999% of people who just want to get up in the morning and have some semblance of normalcy."
Irwin Redlener, public health professor, Columbia University

"Just imagining this kind of incident is already impacting the general public [by causing anxiety]."
"The closer you are, the more connection you have with the country, the higher the impact is."
"You should not expect government emergency responders to reach you, even before two weeks. They would be exposed to radiation that might affect them. It is better even for emergency responders to wait for a few days sometimes so that radiation level goes down and they can go to help."
Ali Asgary, Associate professor of Disaster and Emergency Management, York University, Toronto
 The British Government is reportedly working on a new nuclear new alert system
The British Government is reportedly working on a new nuclear alert blast system. Alamy
Should a nuclear-tipped missile hit an area, it is the resulting size of the blast that speaks to the extent of the fallout. Wind speed affects fallout spread, sandlike grains. Even while potentially fatal radiation sees a rapid drop, hundreds of kilometres off from the target of a bomb to mitigate the effects of fallout, protective measures should be planned for. In 2010 the American government produced a response guide reflective of a 10-kiloton nuclear detonation. In that scenario it was pointed out that fallout could "have a low-level continental impact".

Should Asia, as an example, be the venue, which is to say under current political circumstances, should a preemptive strike hit North Korea, radiation would be certain to drift onward to North America; no region would be exempt from long-term health effects. In addition to the physical impacts, the psychological damage from nuclear radiation fallout would be far-ranging, the wholesale traumatization that would result could incapacitate a nation.

And the reality just happens to be should a North Korean nuclear warhead manage to thread its way through missile defences to strike a city in North America, disaster preparedness experts are quick to point out that there is no preparedness for a response. There have been no appreciable actions taken by authorities to educate people what they should do, how they should ideally react to help themselves in the wake of a nuclear detonation. Dr. Redlener of Columbia University has been foiled time and again in attempting to alert the public.

Not a single city in the United States has formulated plans that might be even marginally effective in dealing with a nuclear detonation, and the disaster it would plant on the continent. And nor is Canada any more responsible in alerting its citizens to self-defence in reaction to such potentially unimaginable events. Within the blast zone no human life would be expected to survive, but beyond that zone the greatest risk to survival would be represented by the resulting radioactive dust and debris falling to ground in the explosion's wake, with no time to outrun its return to ground level.

The blast wave and thermal pulse created by a nuclear explosion would result in immediate deaths within seconds; for a 150-kiloton warhead, within a radius of several kilometres a dead zone would prevail. Canadians work with Americans in the vital task of detecting missiles, at NORAD headquarters. They are not the decision-makers though we are the risk-takers. "Look at Canada, we can unleash a demonstration on Canada, a light-and-fire spectacular as ample proof of what we can achieve in levelling the imperialist majesty of the United States", a not-unlikely thought process flickering through Kim Jong-un's febrile mind.

Labels: , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet