Over the past few years, (citing fiction novels) Newt Gingrich has been trying to sound the alarm that the United States is facing a very serious threat of an “Electromagnetic Pulse” (EMP) attack. An EMP is a nuclear weapon detonated at a high altitude, an act that would shut down all electrical power throughout large swaths of the country.
The New York Times reported last month that “a number of scientists say they consider Mr. Gingrich’s alarms far-fetched” and that “many nuclear experts dismiss the threat.” Yet, Herman Cain signed on to the hysteria this election cycle. But he’s not the only one. Resurgent GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has previously dabbled in this EMP nonsense too.
Writing in an August 2009 column for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Ignoring a doomsday scenario,” Santorum said “the scale of potential destruction” from an EMP “demands action now.” He then endorsed allocating more federal dollars to combat this so-called threat:
Our post-Cold War strategy to prevent nuclear attacks has been to stop nuclear proliferation. That is a great strategy until it fails, which has already happened and is continuing to happen in Iran. We need to make our missile defense system fully operational now.
What else? Here is something the big spenders from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other will be glad to hear: We need to spend money to study the electromagnetic pulse threat; to help states, localities, and families prepare; and to protect our critical electric infrastructure and transportation networks now.