Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 17, 2006

Chomsky doesn’t know his WMD’s

Filed under: Radiological & Nuclear Threats — by Christian Beckner on January 17, 2006

Attention MIT physics department!

Please alert your colleague in the linguistics department, Noam Chomsky, that there’s a big difference between a radiological (“dirty”) bomb and a nuclear bomb. In spite of his earlier forays into homeland security punditry, he evidently doesn’t know the difference, and conflates the two here:

Take, say, nuclear terror. The American intelligence systems estimate that the likelihood of a “dirty bomb,” a dirty nuclear bomb attack in the United States in the next ten years, is about 50 percent. Well, that’s pretty high. Are they doing anything about it? Yeah. They’re increasing the threat, by increasing nuclear proliferation, by compelling potential adversaries to take very dangerous measures to try to counter rising American threats.

Repeat after me:

dirty bomb = traditional explosives laced with radiological material, but no nuclear reaction.
nuclear bomb = nuclear reaction

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1 Comment »


Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Blog Archive » New terror attack fact sheets

March 22, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

[…] Earlier this month the National Academies released a set of fact sheets on different types of terrorist attacks – one each for biological attacks, chemical attacks, nuclear attacks, and radiological attacks. They provide useful and clarifying primers on these different types of attacks, answering questions that often confuse people, such as the differences between nuclear and radiological attacks. The fact sheets should be useful for professional training sessions as well as university courses on terrorism and homeland security. […]

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