Monday, December 15, 2008


This article was published in the LA Times on June 15, 1997 by reporter Christopher Ruddy. Read it and weep at the repercussions of a deaf and blind society...

LOS ANGELES - For most of Sam Cohen's life, he has struggled against politicians who, in his opinion, have sacrificed good sense when it comes to the nation's defenses. Cohen is the physicist who invented the neutron bomb, the one that kills people but leaves things like tanks and buildings intact. Plans to deploy his creations in Europe during the '70s and '80s awakened the "peace movement" across that continent, stopping its deployment.

With that and other battles lost, the 76-year-old Cohen finds solace in his Brentwood home, nestled high on a hill overlooking Los Angeles. There the world is far more peaceful, or so it seems. Just down the road is the Rockingham estate of one O.J. Simpson. Cohen would pass there often during his morning walks, and occasionally see the former football star. "He was always pleasant," Cohen recounted.

Cohen would probably be unfazed if confronted by a knife-wielding mugger—a threat insignificant in the scheme of things. What worries him are weapons of mass destruction—nuclear ones that destroy whole cities.

The politicians tell us that our security has never been better. Cohen describes the present situation as "scary, more scary than ever before." He's concerned that the Clinton administration has decided it is politically incorrect to even think about the design and development of nuclear weapons. The head of the division of the Livermore National Laboratories in charge of such weapon development has threatened to resign if he is ordered to develop new weapons, Cohen noted in a recent interview.

The government doesn't want people to even think about nuclear weapons, which is like telling Sam Cohen he is no longer permitted to breathe.

As a kid from Brooklyn who graduated with a physics degree from UCLA, he enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. In 1944 Cohen was assigned to the top-secret Manhattan Project to develop atomic weapons at Los Alamos, N.M. Cohen had the mundane job of calculating how neutrons behaved in "Fat Man"— the nickname of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. (The bomb dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier was nicknamed "Little Boy.")

The boring work was all worthwhile because Cohen eventually stood in the Nevada desert and witnessed something on par with the Transfiguration: an atomic explosion. Cohen saw firsthand the awesome power of the unleashed atom as human history entered a new age. "Awesome spectacle" is how Cohen still describes the event. Puffing on a cigar as he relaxed in his easy chair wearing a T-shirt and jogging pants, Sam remembered that day vividly.

World War II flying hero Jimmy Doolittle stood next to him when the bomb went off. "The little guy was blown down," Cohen recalled.

After the war ended, Cohen joined the Rand Corp. where he was paid to continue thinking about nuclear weapons. He was obsessed with the idea of a neutron bomb, one that would make use of the lethal particles he had observed so studiously at Los Alamos.

The earliest bombs had used nuclear fission, splitting heavy atoms to release energy. Later bombs used nuclear fusion, which fused hydrogen atoms to release energy. Both designs produced tremendous blasts that could level whole cities, and left them uninhabitable for long periods because of lingering radiation.

Cohen's neutron bomb would use nuclear fusion, but in a different way. The detonation of a neutron bomb would still produce an explosion, but one much smaller than a standard nuclear weapon's. The main effect of a neutron bomb would be the release of high-energy neutrons that would take lives far beyond the blast area. The result: fewer buildings, cars, tanks, roads, highways and other structures destroyed.

And unlike standard nuclear bombs that leave long-term contamination of the soil and infrastructure, the neutron radiation quickly dissipates after the explosion.

For Cohen, the neutron bomb is the ultimate sane weapon. It kills humans, or as he puts it "the bad guys," but doesn't produce tremendous collateral damage on civilian populations and the infrastructure a civilian population needs to survive.

This meant, in Cohen's mind, that a conventional war could escalate without immediately leading to an all-out nuclear holocaust. If regular nuclear weapons were used across Europe, the radioactive fallout could turn the continent into a wasteland for decades. That wouldn't be the case if neutron bombs were used.

Between 1958 and 1961 the neutron bomb idea was tested successfully, but the politicians in Washington nixed development and deployment of the weapon. Cohen persisted. As the Vietnam War began and festered in the 1960s, Cohen became an advocate of using neutron bombs there. To Cohen, his weapon was "a perfect fit" for dealing with the Viet Cong hidden in the jungles and rice paddies.

Again, the politicians had other ideas. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ruled that no nuclear weapons of any type would be used in the war. The use of the small neutron bombs would have brought the war to a quick end, Cohen still argues, and saved the loss of more than 50,000 American lives.

In 1969, Cohen was fired from the Rand Corp. for continuing to advocate the use of tactical neutron bombs to end the conflict. "I lost all my battles," Cohen says today.

In 1979, he was in Paris helping the French build their own arsenal of neutron bombs when presidential candidate Ronald Reagan came through on a European tour. Cohen met with Reagan to brief him on the neutron bomb. Reagan grasped the idea of neutron weaponry immediately, and made a pledge to Cohen, and later a public pledge, that he would reverse Carter administration policy by building and deploying a large number of neutron bombs.

As president, Reagan fulfilled that pledge and approximately a thousand weapons were constructed. But criticism from European allies kept the weapons from being deployed across Europe.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism as we knew it, the Bush administration moved to dismantle all of our tactical nuclear weapons, including the Reagan stockpile of neutron bombs. In Cohen's mind, America was brought back to Square One. Without tactical weapons like the neutron bomb, America would be left with two choices if an enemy was winning a conventional war: surrender, or unleash the holocaust of strategic nuclear weapons.

Other nation's haven't been afflicted by the U.S. blindness regarding neutron bombs. According to Cohen:

Evidence exists that China has neutron bombs stockpiled, and that the United States gave the Chinese the technology to build them. Russia has a large quantity of such weapons, as well as the world's largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Israel has hundreds of neutron weapons. The neutron bombs would allow Israel to stop advancing Arab armies and tank columns—even one on Israeli soil—without permanently contaminating the land.

South Africa, which constructed a cache of neutron weapons before the end of white rule, claimed it dismantled those weapons before handing over power to the Nelson Mandela government. Cohen, however, claims to have it on good authority that white military leaders still control the secret stockpile as "an insurance policy."

Most frightening for Cohen is the relative ease by which neutron bombs can be created with a substance called red mercury. Red mercury is a compound containing mercury that has undergone massive irradiation. When exploded, it creates tremendous heat and pressure— the same type needed to trigger a fusion device such as a mini-neutron bomb.

Before, an obstacle to creating a nuclear bomb was the need for plutonium, which when exploded could create a fusion reaction in hydrogen atoms. But red mercury has changed that. The cheap substance has been produced in Russia, Cohen said, and shipped on the black market throughout the world.

Cohen said that when U.N. inspectors went to Iraq to examine the Iraqis' nuclear weapons capabilities, the U.N. team found documents showing that they had purchased quantities of red mercury. The material means a neutron bomb can be built "the size of baseball" but able to kill everyone within several square blocks.

The public isn't being warned about this development because the politicians have little desire to combat the menace or to confront nations like Iraq, Iran and Libya that likely would use such weapons, Cohen said.

Cohen has little faith in the politicians anyway. "Every president since Truman, with the possible exception of Eisenhower, would have sold the country out if it came down to a nuclear confrontation," he said.

Cohen on nation security issues

In a recent interview, Sam Cohen, the father of the neutron bomb, offered his views on several national security issues:

RUSSIA: Though the Cold War is over and Russia appears in disarray, Cohen suggested that the situation remains dangerous because Russia has "far and away substantially more nuclear weapons than we do." While U.S. policy makers have been busy dismantling our nuclear arsenal, Russia continues to modernize.

The United States has been paying billions of dollars for the leftover plutonium from Russia's dismantled weapons, but evidence indicates that the Russians have not been turning over weapons-grade plutonium. Instead, the United States has been paying for, and not objecting to, material from their nuclear power plants - a strong sign the Russians are not dismantling their weapons.

MISSILE DEFENSES: Calling a ballistic missile defense system "absolutely necessary," Cohen said American space-based plans so far have been a "debacle" that have cost taxpayers more than $50 billion.

Cohen argued that the "Star Wars" plan envisioned by President Ronald Reagan was inherently flawed. Politicians, once again fearing the "n" word, promised that nuclear weapons would not be used in any missile defense system. Cohen contends Reagan received misleading advice that technology was advanced enough to create a non-nuclear missile defense system.

Almost 15 years have passed since Reagan's call for a missile defense system, and still no weapons have been deployed. Cohen said that, had nuclear weapons been used, a fairly inexpensive system could already have been deployed. In such a system, nuclear weapons are exploded high in the atmosphere to either destroy or knock off trajectory incoming missiles. While the radioactive fallout from such explosions would pose some threat to civilian populations, it would be infinitely less harmful than having enemy missiles hit their targets.

Already, Cohen reported, the Russians have a sophisticated nuclear-based missile defense system around Moscow and possibly elsewhere. According to published intelligence reports, in the late 1980s the Russians began developing a "plasma weapon" for missile defenses. The plasma weapon uses nuclear energy to ionize the atmosphere, destroying or rendering inoperable any missiles passing through the plasma field.

SEAPOWER: Cohen said navies have become "obsolete" in terms of global warfare using nuclear weapons, and he described floating ships as "sitting ducks" for nuclear weapons. The U.S. Navy depends on AEGIS missile defense systems to protect its fleets, but Cohen said AEGIS has failed all of its tests, and there is no proof that it could fend off a multi-missile strike against a fleet, let alone a country.

Cohen said the U.S. Navy should put more resources into nuclear-powered submarines because of the difficulty any enemy might have in destroying them in a first strike.

For years, the nuclear submarines were the most important part of our deterrent against surprise nuclear attack, primarily because the submarine captain and crew did not need special codes, known as permissive action links or PALs, to fire their weapons. Thus, if a surprise attack disabled our military communications, the submarine could still counterattack.

In recent years, Cohen said, the Clinton administration has instituted the use of PALs on nuclear missile submarines, limiting their deterrence value.

CHINA: Cohen thinks China will soon be in position to blackmail the United States into reneging on promises to defend Taiwan. Already China has made overt threats about hitting the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons. "China has said, `OK, if you defend Taiwan, we'll drop a nuclear weapon on Los Angeles,'" Cohen said.

In a trip to Taiwan, Cohen spoke before the military leadership there and strongly advised them to begin their own nuclear weapons program. The United States will not defend you because the politicians don't care about you, he told them.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008


BATTLING FEARS OF THE FUTURE? Here's what one fellow says you can do to help ease your mind. Consider the necessities of life—purchase now in bulk, especially storable food.

  • if inflation ensues, it will be worth more tomorrow.
  • if deflation, it may not be available tomorrow due to shortages.
  • If a complete financial breakdown follows, you're already more self-sufficient and can barter for other necessities.
  • If nothing happens, you will have paid off the future now instead of later.

    Begin buying in your local area now, and keep buying there. Tell your friends what you are doing, and encourage them to do the same. We also need to slow down on purchasing imported items. I am one who doesn't believe we MUST buy imported anything! Globalism has suffocated American industrial know-how and can do, and thus the skills of self-preservation.

    The problem in America is the same problem as in the rest of the nations on our planet; it's the rich/poor system. As long as rich people get richer, the country and the world will continue to spiral towards the oblivion we see elsewhere around the world. We must again tax the rich according to the benefits they have acquired through a system slanted in their favor at the outset; once upon a time if one earned in excess of the masses annually, one would be obliged to give back in kind to the system.

    I am not a socialist or a communist. Nor am I currently poverty-stricken. But we are our brother's keeper, and as long as competition squashes the natural caring for our nation, we will keep slouching as a civilization toward that beastly keeper of Hell.

    On the national front, here's some advice from an old codger:

  • Cut non-essential government spending. Nearly all of it is non-essential. Cut all social programs. Cut all pork spending. Cut at least half of the humongous Federal work force (the government will run better.)
  • Bring our troops home who are scattered all around the world. We'll be stronger. Drastically downsize our armed forces, but maintain a large reserve in case we're attacked.
  • Bail out no one. No home owners, no Companies. For every company or homeowner that fails there is someone there to pick up the pieces at a bargain price. We're a resilient people. We'll bounce back.
  • Tighten our belt. If we survived The Great Depression—we can survive anything. I'm near eighty and I remember the depression. It was awful. Incidentally, we were slowly pulling out of it before WWII started.

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  • Wednesday, December 10, 2008


    BEIJING—China's trade growth collapsed in November as global consumer demand plunged, adding to pressure on Beijing to reverse a worsening economic slump and avert heavy job losses, data showed Wednesday.

    November's exports fell 2.2 percent from the year-earlier period, the first decline in seven years, the government reported. That was down sharply from October's export growth of 19.1 percent and well below analysts' forecasts of a 13 to 15 percent rise. Imports fell by 17.9 percent, pushing China's trade surplus to a new high of $40.1 billion.

    The decline adds to mounting signs that China's downturn is worsening in areas from manufacturing to real estate to auto sales. Beijing has launched a massive stimulus package to boost growth, but it could be months before the effects are felt and its impact is unclear.

    "The economy has almost ground to a halt. Job losses will be very significant, and the risk of social unrest is rising," said JP Morgan economist Frank F.X. Gong. "They urgently need to stimulate growth to generate jobs and keep society stable."

    This is, of course, NOT good news for Americans. While many of our antagonistic trading partners, such as Russia and Iran, look to bluster and blame the United States, and yes, much blame is warranted, for the recent financial crisis, the short fact is this: the United States has too often shared its prosperity and economic protocols with the rest of the world much to its own disadvantage. Trade surpluses with its partners, specifically the US, have boosted China as it races to gain financial superiority in pursuit of its own century of global power. While China collects billions of dollars in surplus trade while micromanaging the relative value of its own currency, only to lend the bankrupt US those same dollars earned on trade imbalances, the newest economic power of Asia has participated in many of the same practices of explosive greed that occasionally stymie the Western powers.

    So with this newest downturn in consumption of Chinese goods, even the Chinese are feeling the pinch of the global systems of checks and balances. This is a good thing, especially in light of the dumping of inferior quality exports in exchange for Western technologies and know-how. This means the Chinese have lots of stuff they just produced, but not enough money in the pockets of people to buy them, even though their trade surplus which our politicians have failed to curtail, has increased even more. But a Chinese slowdown is good for America at this moment because Americans are also hurting.

    The global slowdown, while painful in many ways to many populations, can only be considered a necessary correction to the slingshot growth that has been reeling on far too long. A bevy of Middle Eastern sheiks have also been hit hard. And oil prices are expected to remain flat, even though the ME cartel oscillates between threatens of cutting back production and increasing it. Even the more aggressive trends of our friends in Venezuela and Russia are tottering as a result of this global slowdown.

    We consider this a godsend. It's no secret. Americans must wean itself off oil dependency. Do we need higher gas taxes the Democrats insist we need to keep us honest, or can we simply retool our mindsets, and use less, stay closer to home, re-invent our cities to more properly engage public transportation opportunities in the work-shop-sleep matrix, perhaps one of the few gems of the socialist dhimmitudinal European model? Let's hope someone we trust can sort this out, since it's obvious the average voter has little power in this country as politician after politician fails us.

    I had a discussion with a fellow of decidedly leftist leanings who informed me quite churlishly that China has a right to oil, cars, ACs, better food, bigger houses, any and all the trappings of American life. I agreed of course they do, but my point to him is that China must compete for these this higher standards of living just as ordinary Americans must. And in this rat race, I am an American, and as such I advocate standards and practices that benefit my own nation's general welfare first.

    So, let us as Americans pull together in friendly competition to clean up this mess. Retract. Stop the immigration chaos. Look inward in rebuilding our collapsing infrastructure. Reinstall American cultural pride. Name the Islamic jihadist enemy properly, and prepare to fight the menace that threatens ALL civilization. Welcome to the rip-roaring 21st Century.

    Read it all

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    Tuesday, December 09, 2008


    OF ALL THE THINGS that can go wrong on moving day, few could be worse than arriving at your new home to find another family already living there. Then again, in today's Darwinian housing market, worse things do indeed occur.

    Like when a devious foreclosure agent tried to trick a Fairfax County teenager into handing over her family's house keys. Or when a "landlord" collecting security deposits and rent turned out to be an impostor with no legal claim to the property whatsoever.

    In the past 18 months, the foreclosure debacle has pushed tens of thousands of area residents into the rental market, many with crippled credit and a desperate need for housing. Waiting for them is a new cast of swindlers, cheats and real estate sharks ready to prey on the weak and needy. Scams of various stripes are thriving in the foreclosure mess and flourishing at the margins of landlord-tenant laws.

    Rental scams have generally been more of an urban problem, but the high incidence of foreclosure in the Washington region's suburbs and the relative lack of tenants' rights organizations there have helped create areas of vulnerability in such places as Prince William County. Opportunities are rife: The county and the adjacent cities of Manassas and Manassas Park have tallied 7,672 foreclosures this year through November, according to court records, up from 3,344 in 2007 and 282 the year before.

    Many of those homes are bank-owned and vacant, and investors have been buying them at deep discounts and converting them into rental properties. But houses that remain vacant present some of the ripest targets for fraud, officials said.

    Read it all.

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    Monday, December 01, 2008


    Yikes! And double yikes! Will this "foreign aid to our enemies" money pit that should be more properly known as jizya ever stop?

    WASHINGTON—When President-elect Barack Obama introduces his national security team on Monday, it will include two veteran cold warriors and a political rival whose records are all more hawkish than that of the new president who will face them in the White House Situation Room.

    Yet all three of his choices—Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as the rival turned secretary of state; Gen. James L. Jones, the former NATO commander, as national security adviser, and Robert M. Gates, the current and future defense secretary—have embraced a sweeping shift of priorities and resources in the national security arena.

    The shift would create a greatly expanded corps of diplomats and aid workers that, in the vision of the incoming Obama administration, would be engaged in projects around the world aimed at preventing conflicts and rebuilding failed states. However, it is unclear whether the financing would be shifted from the Pentagon; Mr. Obama has also committed to increasing the number of American combat troops.Whether they can make the change—one that Mr. Obama started talking about in the summer of 2007, when his candidacy was a long shot at best—“will be the great foreign policy experiment of the Obama presidency,” one of his senior advisers said recently.

    The adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the three have all embraced “a rebalancing of America’s national security portfolio” after a huge investment in new combat capabilities during the Bush years.

    Denis McDonough, a senior Obama foreign policy adviser, cast the issue slightly differently in an interview on Sunday.

    “This is not an experiment, but a pragmatic solution to a long-acknowledged problem,” he said. “During the campaign the then-senator invested a lot of time reaching out to retired military and also younger officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to draw on lessons learned. There wasn’t a meeting that didn’t include a discussion of the need to strengthen and integrate the other tools of national power to succeed against unconventional threats. It is critical to a long-term successful and sustainable national security strategy in the 21st century.” Mr. Obama’s advisers said they were already bracing themselves for the charge from the right that he is investing in social work, even though President Bush repeatedly promised such a shift, starting in a series of speeches in late 2005. But they also expect battles within the Democratic Party over questions like whether the billion dollars in aid to rebuild Afghanistan that Mr. Obama promised during the campaign should now be spent on job-creation projects at home.

    Mr. Obama’s best political cover may come from Mr. Gates, the former Central Intelligence Agency director and veteran of the cold war, who just months ago said it was “hard to imagine any circumstance” in which he would stay in his post at the Pentagon. Now he will do exactly that.

    A year ago, to studied silence from the Bush White House, Mr. Gates began giving a series of speeches about the limits of military power in wars in which no military victory is possible. He made popular the statistic, quoted by Mr. Obama, that the United States has more members of military marching bands than foreign service officers.

    He also denounced “the gutting of America’s ability to engage, assist and communicate with other parts of the world—the ‘soft power’ which had been so important throughout the cold war.” He blamed both the Clinton and Bush administrations and said later in an interview that “it is almost like we forgot everything we learned in Vietnam.”

    Read it all.

    Try as we might, there are those of us who flatly refuse to believe that this penchant of American leadership to try to buy friendship around the world is the proper motivation to quell the ire of our declared enemies. This is just more of the same tired Bush policy. More American treasure out the door, while our own nation's industrial sector is gutted and our long neglected infrastructure continues to rot. Obama intends to continue the policies which does nothing but sell America out to the highest bidder, dismantling this country piece by piece at a time when the US economy is already at a critical breaking point. This is NOT a good thing. Our own national security is at stake.

    Of course this article does not list which so-called failed states has attracted Obama's attention. Weren't we all led to believe that rebuilding Iraq was a waste of good American treasure and human resources? The continued pig-headedness to send American resources to countries that will never bend to Western jurisprudence because these countries live and die by a so-called noble book that tells them to resist down to the last breath, is simply irresponsible. The cloaked paternalism of the Western mindset just can't seem to peer through it own veil of self-righteousness on the one-hand, or break its cultural addiction to Middle Eastern oil and our own high standard of living which binds us in supplication to our enemies, on the other.

    This is a sad state of affairs which must be properly addressed. Might against might. Depending on state-level bribery when our treasury is empty will not ensure our victory, but spell our defeat.

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