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Roscoe Bartlett and the Electromagnetic Pulse Wave of Doom!

When I go shopping at the grocery store, I never pick up a copy of Weekly World News. I don’t listen to Coast to Coast AM in the middle of the night. Oh, my, what a big story I have missed as a result.

Beware the Electromagnetic Pulse Wave of Doom!.

I came across the issue of the electromagnetic pulse wave of doom while doing research this evening on Maryland’s Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, who is limping his way to re-election this year in his district in western Maryland, competing against the much more energetic Jennifer Dougherty. It seems that Representative Bartlett has been limping through his latest term in Congress too, not able to accomplish very much.

This much Representative Bartlett has accomplished: He did manage to introduce a bill that would have extended the deadline for the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack.

Have you not heard of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States? Well, me neither, not until tonight, but it seems that this electromagnetic pulse attack is imminent, and has been since the early 1990s. Since around the time that Bill Clinton took office as President, a small group of people have been warning that the United States was about to be subjected to an electromagnetic pulse attack.

The idea is that an enemy would loft a nuclear weapon into the high atmosphere above the United States, and explode it there, creating a pulse of electromagnetic energy that would permanently cripple electronics all across the USA. In October of 2004, Roscoe Bartlett wrote an article for the online edition of Military Information Technology Magazine warning that an electromagnetic pulse wave attack could be coming very soon.

“Imagine the only people you could communicate with are those within your visual range or within the sound of your voice. Imagine the only way you could travel was to walk or ride a bike. Imagine no electricity, working telephones or computers; no fuel for cars or airplanes, no running elevators, no heat or light for houses and buildings, no running water and after a few days, no food. Imagine that you had to live under these conditions for weeks, months or even years.”

Off-hand, I’d say that an electromagnetic pulse attack just might slow down global warming.

Be that as it may, Roscoe Bartlett had been focusing on the electromagnetic pulse wave threat for years before 2004. In 2001, Bartlett inserted language into defense authorization legislation that created the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack.

The Commission had six years to finish its report on the constantly impending electromagnetic pulse wave of doom, with a deadline of September 30, 2007. By 2004, however, Roscoe Bartlett was seeking to make the Commission permanent. After all, the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack had not yet found any actual evidence of a real threat of electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States. The purpose of the Commission, as Bartlett saw it, was not so much to determine if there was a threat, but to find evidence of the threat that he believed in but had no proof for.

By January 2007, it became clear even to Roscoe Bartlett that there was no support within Congress to make permanent the X Files operations of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. The final report of the Commission was due that September, however, and Roscoe Bartlett was determined not to look like an idiot.

So, Congressman Bartlett filed for an extension. He introduced H.R. 61, a bill to extend the deadline for the Commission’s final report until the end of June, 2009. Bartlett hoped that, with an extra year and a half, somehow, evidence of a true electromagnetic pulse wave threat would turn up somewhere.

Roscoe Bartlett stood alone, still ranting and raving after years of investigations turned up nothing, insisting that America was doomed, doomed, doomed. The rest of Congress looked away in embarrassment, trying to pretend that Representative Bartlett was not babbling on in their midst. Bartlett got no cosponsors for his bill. There was no extension. There never was any evidence of an imminent electromagnetic pulse wave attack from Iran, from Russia or from China.

Now, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has been reduced to adding his cosponsorship to the strange bits of legislation proposed by other members of Congress, like Paul Broun’s proposed constitutional amendment to make it harder for many Americans to get married.

There is a bit of twisted entertainment value in watching Congressman Bartlett wave his hands about on the floor of Congress, following ever more bizarre fancies, constructing conspiracy theories to patch together his increasingly odd ideas. For the people of Maryland’s 6th congressional district, however, watching their representative in Congress cannot be much fun.

Here’s hoping that in November, they do themselves and Roscoe Bartlett a favor, and put a merciful end to Bartlett’s congressional mania, placing the capable Jennifer Dougherty in the seat instead.

4 comments to Roscoe Bartlett and the Electromagnetic Pulse Wave of Doom!

  • Anonymous

    better put your laptop in the microwave

  • John_Stracke

    Just to be clear: EMPs are real; one happened in 1962, caused by a high-altitude nuclear test. However, in order to cover the whole country, you’d need a nuke going off 250 miles over Kansas, which sharply limits the number of organizations that could pull it off. A terrorist group which could get a nuke into space would do better dropping it on Kansas instead of setting it off up there.

  • So, are you opposing Congressman Bartlett or are you really a stealth Bartlett supporter? Since the Democratic Congress fully supported the continuation of the bipartisan EMP Commission, I am sure you really don’t believe that Congressman Bartlett was alone on this issue. Since there is broad technical and scientific support surrounding the Commission’s assessment including other reports such as the Congressional Research Service, you must know that the concern is not foolish.

    I know you said you didn’t know anything about the topic until the night you wrote your article admitting you didn’t do any consequential research, but, that must just be another ploy you are using to get others to do their homework and support the Congressman.

    If you are really up to discussing the topic factually, either from a technical or political point of view, it could be interesting. For example, there is a whole class of smaller SCUD type missiles that could launch a weapon large enough to impact the East Coast with lots of open source information on the Internet about foreigners who believe it would really be a cost effective way to hurt any industrialized country such as the US. All kinds of political positions could be supported or attacked depending on which source you use that understands the science. (They did their homework, by the way.) Since it is also similar to a 50-100 year solar storm (smaller solar storms ones have created regional and less permanent damage) and much smaller ways to use electromagnetic interference to cause havoc with computing, communications and other critical infrastructure systems, there might be a whole range of reasons to consider protecting mission critical systems proactively and minimize the threats in the first place. Nothing like taking non-violent methods to reduce conflict. (I know that you couldn’t be a radical pro military-industrial complex hawk who prefers violence instead since that would not be consistent with being a stealth Congressman Bartlett supporter.)
    But, since you have no background in the area and have no apparent interest, it doesn’t seem likely that you would want to have such a discussion as fun and enlightening as it might be. But, then, maybe you are interested and just can’t admit it since you may very well be a stealth Congressman Bartlett supporter.

  • Hmm. A 9/11 conspiracy theorist wants to inform me about the electromagnetic pulse danger, and tells me how credible Roscoe Bartlett is on the matter.

    Sorry. Not biting.

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