GOP House Candidate Pantano Comes Out As EMP Enthusiast

In a wide-ranging interview with Danger Room’s Noah Shachtman, North Carolina Republican Congressional candidate Ilario Pantano explains why he thinks “We’ve become too reliant on technology” in the way we fight wars:

Folks, one day we’re going to be in a fight with an enemy using [an] EMP [gadget-frying electro-magnetic pulse] and we better remember how to use a compass. We better remember how to use smoke. We better remember how to engage the enemy the old-fashioned way because one day we may lose our strong technical advantage. We certainly found that out as we fought primitives, whether it was in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I’m not sure if it’s quite right that we “lost our strong technical advantage” in Iraq or Afghanistan as much as we faced — and are facing — insurgencies that, despite being staffed by “primitives,” have developed and deployed a variety of tactics that have significantly shrunken that advantage.

But the real fun is Pantano’s electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) alarmism, which is basically the national security version of birtherism. As a Weekly Standard editor told Rob Farley for this article on EMP, “I don’t go for that EMP stuff. Kind of more interested in dangerous scenarios that might actually happen.”

Interestingly, this Stratfor article — which also happens to be posted on Pantano’s own campaign website — concludes that an EMP attack requires “the kind of complexity and uncertainty that well-trained terrorist operatives seek to avoid in an operation“:

Besides, a ground-level nuclear detonation in a city such as New York or Washington would be more likely to cause the type of terror, death and physical destruction that is sought in a terrorist attack than could be achieved by generally non-lethal EMP. […]

The EMP threat has been around for more than half a century and there are a number of technical and practical variables that make a HEMP attack using a nuclear warhead highly unlikely.

Maybe Pantano should try reading his own website.