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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Is there something happening here?

This Washington Post story discusses the movement of FEMA, the FBI, and other federal agencies out of the so-called "blast zone" of Washington, D.C. - estimated at 50 miles. That's news to us in the Metroplex; a few years ago we were told the blast radius of a "normal" atomic bomb (rather than a city-killer) would be about ten miles and that prevailing winds would determine the direction of the fallout.

Here's a picture of the 50 mile radius:



It is interesting that now, not during the Cold War, is when the federal government seems to be scattering. This could correspond with a change in technology and the ability to locate federal agencies further away from one another. As the story points out, in many cases it might be cheaper to locate, say, a FEMA operation in a small town. On the other hand, these moves might be a tacit admission or expression of concern on the part of the federal government that there is a greater possibility of a nuclear attack on Washington, D.C. in the foreseeable future and that, in order to preserve some semblance of order after such an attack, federal agencies do need to relocate.

The Cold War was characterized by mutually assured destruction which, by their very atheistic nature, the Soviets never really wanted to test. According to the Socialist/Communist system there is no afterlife, no greater glory beyond the present. Therefore, while the system was based upon an Ideal Socialism that would prevail in some distant future, that Ideal Socialism was very much rooted in the terrestrial reality. If, on the other hand, those with nuclear technology are convinced of their reward in the afterlife, or are otherwise convinced that their sacrifice is for a greater good (a la Kamikaze pilots in WWII), then all MAD bets are off.

I wonder if the relocation of federal agencies is not a tacit admission of the new world in which we live. If so, then there a lot of people in the United States in a state of denial or cognitive dissonance. If not, then there must be some other angle for the agencies that I am missing.

Comments:
Hmm... I don't think it's a question between an "atheistic nature" and a theistic nature. One weakness of that argument is that Communism, although nominally atheistic, is actually centered around an impersonal deity called "dialectic materialism", complete with inevitable future prophecies. Your argument may conceivably be true, but it's not been tested by the example you attempted to make.

In my opinion, the inability of MAD to contain this threat is due to the lack of a centralized target. The USSR was eminently strikeable, and the US made it very clear that we would strike; religion or not, nobody wants to be hit that hard. The terrorism-using states have been very careful to keep a semi-plausible distance between themselves and their terrorists.
 
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