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After Hawaii false alarm, get serious about preparing for nuclear attack

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After Hawaii false alarm, get serious about preparing for nuclear attack

By Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Opinion columnist.

This stuff is physics, and it works the same no matter what your politics are. We need to get past that and get people ready before the fact.

As the recent missile-attack false alarm in Hawaii demonstrated, Americans are simultaneously worried about nuclear war and not seriously prepared for it. But the problem goes far beyond the inept handling of an emergency-alert system.

Take, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recently announced a program to work on preparing for a nuclear attack. “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps.

Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness,” the agency wrote.

That’s certainly true. Back during the Cold War, when Americans feared (with reason) that we might face a massive nuclear exchange with the old Soviet Union, we had a lot of planning and infrastructure in place to deal with the aftermath.

Such an exchange would have been much worse than anything we’re likely to see now: The standard unit of counting casualties was a “megadeath,” that is, 1 million deaths; now that’s just the name of a nostalgia heavy-metal act.

But an attack by North Korea or Iran, or perhaps terrorist groups backed by one or the other or someone else, would be bad enough. Getting serious about preparation makes sense.

Read more… USA TODAY

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