Friday, July 06, 2007

DAILY MUSHROOM CLOUD: Harvard bore pimps book, just like the three or four hundred other books on nuclear terror


July 2 had been a slow day in the editorial office of the Baltimore Sun, so Fenster felt the need to cut his losses. "Just slot that crap from the Harvard guy and we'll head out early," he told a lieutenant. "No one's gonna read it anyway."

"... [Yet] the danger of a nuclear attack by terrorists is not only very real but disturbingly likely," wrote Graham Allison deadeningly for the Balto paper on July 2.

"To assess the threat of nuclear terrorism, it is necessary to answer five questions," lectured the former Pentagon bureaucrat.

While selling a book, Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, one nobody would open unless compelled to by a job, Allison may have been thinking: "We have to be right on this everyday. The nuclear terrorists only have to be right once."

"Who could be planning a nuclear terrorist attack?" he mused.

Answering his own piquant question, Allison replied: "Al-Qaida remains a formidable enemy with clear nuclear ambitions."

Going on to argue from a higher -- though fabulously discredited -- source, Allison continued, "Former CIA Director George J. Tenet wrote in his memoirs that al-Qaida's leadership has remained 'singularly focused on acquiring WMD' - weapons of mass destruction - and willing to 'pay whatever it would cost to get their hands on fissile material.'"

A wonderful talker gifted with the art of telling nothing but that which has already been heard one thousand times or more, Allison posed another question he would take it upon himself to answer.

"What nuclear weapons could terrorists use?

"They could acquire an existing bomb from one of the nuclear weapons states or construct an elementary nuclear device from highly enriched uranium made by a state."

Allison wished people would buy his book but knew that since he'd placed twenty-fifth in Pentagon Political Appointee & Office Worker magazine's annual list of the fifty worst writers peddling rote stuff off their experience as part of the defense department, it was highly unlikely.

So he came up with a catchy hook on which to hang his shopworn story.

"There is a feasible, affordable checklist of actions that, if taken, would shrink the risk of nuclear terrorism to nearly zero," he wrote. "I have proposed a strategy for a no-loose-nukes agenda under a 'Doctrine of Three No's. '"

Wouldn't you like to read it?

No. No. And no.

FoneBone Prize winnerGraham Allison was an assistant secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton and is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His 2006 essay, "Deterring Kim Jong Il," won the Fonebone Prize, an award given out by Senior Appointee Weekly for the national opinion piece most likely to have been written by a computer program and two editorial interns at the Washington Post.



The remarkable archive of Daily Mushroom Clouds at DD blog.

Also see here. Wow, that's a lot of mushroom cloud predictions!

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