Letter writer: Consider Asheville’s readiness for a nuclear strike on U.S.

Graphic by Lori Deaton

On Oct. 24, The Wall Street Journal published a story about Vladimir Putin and Russia’s large-scale, new preparations for a possible nuclear war with the United States.

On a local level, here in Asheville, I have seen nothing in any of our area media reporting on this, as well as nothing on the large number of news stories that have just appeared elsewhere concerning Putin’s statements about the very real possibility of nuclear war and Russian spending on upgrades for nuclear bomb shelters in major cities, radiation defensive gear, gas masks, food storage and actual widespread nuclear drills in Russian major cities.

In addition to this, the treaty between the U.S. and Russia for control and disposal of weapons-grade nuclear materials no longer exists because President Obama is moving the MOX [mixed oxide fuel] facility (where this is done) out of South Carolina and did this without first notifying the Russians, and their response was that this treaty will no longer be in effect.

Recently, I called Mayor [Esther] Manheimer’s office and suggested that the mayor and City Council needed to be aware of all this and think about Asheville’s readiness for a nuclear strike on the U.S. Of course, her aide who answered the phone laughed and listened, but I could tell he thought I was nuts. I am not, and this is why I am writing a letter for publication in Mountain Xpress.

This NPR story covers the issues well: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/10/28/499754655/a-dangerous-situation-as-u-s-russia-tensions-spill-over-to-nuclear-pacts

— John Penley


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33 thoughts on “Letter writer: Consider Asheville’s readiness for a nuclear strike on U.S.

  1. boatrocker

    Why would Russia ever want to nuke its new puppet state? That makes no sense.

  2. Kirk Gipson

    If you think we would survive a nuclear bomb of the size and scale that exist now through any type of bomb shelter, you are indeed crazy.

  3. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    With the removal of Clinton from the equation, I think the potential for nuclear war has gone way down.

    • Caliwildflowers

      Please back up this statement with actual, journalistically researched facts. Otherwise, you’re just another ignorant Republicant-Trump-loving drone repeating the party lines.

  4. The Real World

    Seriously, who would want to survive after that? I’m, at minimum, more than halfway thru my life so I would just take a nice, deep breath as that nuke plume rolled my way.

    It’s VERY low probability and the outcome so horrendous why give in 10 seconds thought? However, you may want to ponder how you’d manage if some wacko terrorists decided to take out several US electrical grids. A higher probability and certainly survivable, if you’re prepared.

    • boatrocker

      Agreed- for having to be forced to watch ‘The Day After’ in elementary school and having read ‘One Second After’, the lucky ones go up in flames.
      The rest will get to live out their prepper gun fetish fantasies by stealing, robbing and looting with their precious guns and putting zero effort into farming or rebuilding. No thanks.

    • John Penley

      First of all. I doubt there would be a nuclear strike on Asheville but, there would be a definite strike on the military facilities in NC and on the TVA in Tennessee and our problem would be fallout. Second, the breakdown of the nuclear material control treaty makes it much more likely that weapons grade plutonium may be transferred by elements in Russia to Iran or to third party terrorists who might use it in a dirty bomb at say Fort Bragg or near enough to us that once again we may be exposed to fallout. Obviously most of the comments which say yes I am crazy did not listen to the NPR story or consider what I have said here. Lack of preparations in the US while Russia is prepared may also increase the chances they would do a nuclear strike on the US. Think about all that and are you naysayers as smart as you think you are ? Boy Scout motto [Troop 3 West Asheville] Be Prepared. FYI I wanted to spark a discussion with this letter because the local media has not even covered the breakdown of the nuclear weapons treaties and most in our area don’t even know about it.

  5. Realist

    The nukes of today are much more powerful than the nukes of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, and a nuke has several warheads as well.

    But let’s say the USA were to do a surprise attack on another country before it could launch an attack on us. We still would have completely obliterated our atmosphere, leaving us with nothing to eat for 20 years. Plants and crops would die, everywhere. Animals, which depend on the crops would, now also die. Even if we don’t die from radiation, we die from starvation.

    Cheery thought. I think I’d rather die from the bomb than be the survivor in a mass nuclear war.

    • boatrocker

      Very true, but as numerous cranks love to point out here (as well as the incoming administration)-
      who needs clean air, water, soil or food? That’s all a ‘liberal hoax’ and fossil fuels magically come from the earth
      and are in infinite supply.

      Reminds me of “Brawndo, it’s what plants crave!”

  6. jason

    thank you JOHN for attempting to increase awareness. A nuclear strike may happen for many reasons; EX. mis- communications or artificial intelligence. I’m sorry you got laughed at; but what else would you expect from a government worker?
    If you fail to plan; you’re planning to fail!

  7. bsummers

    Mr. Penley

    Sorry that you were misled by the Trump/Putin propaganda – there is little-to-zero chance that the U.S. (much less, sleepy Asheville North Carolina), will be struck by Russian nuclear weapons.

    Enjoy your binky.

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      With Clinton out of the picture that’s true. And it’s really irrelevant whether Asheville receives a direct hit or not. It is surrounded by nuclear reactors; if the electrical grid and transportation structure go down and those reactors meltdown, it will very likely be very screwed. Just like parts of Japan are now.

      • bsummers

        Your Putin tribute surely has to be close to nothing at this point. If I buy you a Coke, will you denounce the Duke Energy power lines to Asheville?

    • ApePeeD

      Do you even know how close Alaska is to Russia?

      OK, Sarah Palin might not be able to see Russia from her patio, but there isn’t enough time for Alaska to do any kind of missile defense if Russia nukes Alaska. It’s toast.

      • bsummers

        That’s moronic. Sorry, but you are apparently, willingly, ignorant of decades of US/Russia nuclear “Mutual Assured Destruction” strategy. This is how we’ve escaped nuking each other for the past 50 years.

        But please, do continue to spread treasonous undermining of US global defense policy. It’s of use to the current fuhrer-to-be, so sew those seeds…

        • Big Al

          I think you meant “sow those seeds…”, but I get your point.

          50 years of U.S. membership and support of NATO have also dissuaded Russia from conventional military adventures in Poland and Bulgaria, both of which are now scrambling to strengthen themselves against incursions like those in non-NATO nations Georgia and Ukraine since 2008.

          As he prepares to govern rather than campaign, Trump is already backsliding on many of his ridiculous campaign promises. It is my hope that he continue this trend by appointing experienced Secretaries of State and Defense who will dissuade him of his non-nonsensical policy statements against NATO and in support of Putin. It is especially important that we not abandon Europe’s defense, especially as NATO is on the verge of losing Turkey, and Britain’s links are weakened by Brexit.

    • The Real World

      John – Is something up with your computer? Or are you just trying to make a MAJOR point? Today you’ve posted the exact same text 6 times. What’s that about?

      You prepare for the highly unlikely nearby nuclear fallout which would be horrible to live thru and I’ll prepare for a more possible intentional electrical grid outage for days or weeks. Or a national/international severe credit crunch that causes the food trucks to stop coming for awhile. Both are higher probability and both survivable. My motto is: prepare for the most likely.

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      It’s not that you’re out to lunch, you’re just misinformed. NATO has moved its troops right up to Russia’s border. When the USSR dissolved NATO promised to not expand into former soviet bloc countries. They betrayed that promise and now those countries are part of NATO. It would be like Russia moving 300,000 troops to the US borders in Mexico and Canada. Imagine how threatened you’d feel if that happened, and how it dramatically escalates the potential for war. But that is exactly what NATO did to Russia.

  8. Mike

    Calm down snowflakes Pres. Trump is no more likely to start a nuc war that Pres. (the bombing starts in 5 minutes) Reagan, or aspiring Pres. Goldwater. If there is a nuclear det in the USA, it (they) will be of limited scope WW-II yield weapons produced by Pakistan or now Iran.

    • boatrocker

      Somehow that’s not very reassuring, though I would agree. Only our foreign produced sweatshop clothes, phones, cars
      and oil would crackle when exposed to a Geiger counter.

      Forschten’s ‘One Second After’ seems a more likely scenario- loved the book for all the local places I recognize in WNC, even with Gingrich’s forward.
      Still, what a great pick up line- “we might not get out of this alive, honey”.

  9. treelady

    A large scale nuclear strike is one thing. But there is great potential for small scale nuclear accidents and a realistic potential for a small nuclear device detonated at high altitude causing and electromagnetic pulse that could take down the electrical grid. Two federal government studies support this. While these scenarios are “survivable,” it would be better if we were to(1) harden our electrical grid against the well-known threats, and (2) deal with the issue of spent fuel at our nuclear power plants which is an accident waiting to happen. Given bipartisan interest in infrastructure improvement, it really IS a good idea to write your representatives to ask for any infrastructure proposal to include dealing with these issues.

    • The Real World

      Welcome treelady! By golly, a rational and pragmatic voice; we are always in short supply of those.

      Your numbers 1 and 2 make sense to me. Forward………..

    • boatrocker

      What you’re describing is the plot of William R. Forschten’s 2009 “One Second After”. Sorry, spoiler alert.

      It’s part 1970’s disaster movie and part Reagan-era paranoia, but it takes place between Exit 55 off I40 and Montreat College.
      Newt Gingrich (for a very intelligent person and a history type but still a Contract out on America shut the gub’ment down type of guy)
      writing to Congress for a fwd to the book, anyway, just buy it and read it.

    • boatrocker

      Ever notice that one of the tell tale signs a dictator is truly unhinged is his hair?

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