Rutland makes China’s best list - as nuke target
By Bruce Edwards
STAFF WRITER | November 06,2013
Global Times Image
This map, published by the government-controlled Global Times in China, shows nuclear strike targets in the Northeast, including one that seems to be in the region of Rutland, Vt.
It’s likely not the kind of list Rutlanders would aspire to. It’s not a list about the best place to take a vacation or the place with the best business environment. Nope, none of those.
The Chinese government, or more exactly China’s government-controlled news media, has placed Rutland and several New England locations on its nuclear target list.
Rutland and Nashua, N.H., appeared to be cities targeted on a map that accompanied The Washington Times column last week, “Inside China,” by Miles Yu.
But before anyone rushes to build a bomb shelter, military analysts, including Bill Arkin of South Pomfret, dismissed The Washington Times column as lacking credibility.
The column focused on what Chinese-controlled media claimed was its government’s capability to attack U.S. cities with its land-based and nuclear submarine forces. The strategy, according to the reports, is to serve as a deterrent to U.S. nuclear forces in the Pacific.
“If we launch our DF 31A ICBMs over the North Pole, we can easily destroy a whole list of metropolises on the East Coast and the New England region of the U.S., including Annapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Portland, Baltimore and Norfolk, whose population accounts for about one-eighth of America’s total residents,” Yu wrote, quoting China’s Global Times.
But Arkin, who has written a number of books on national security and intelligence, calls the column and target map in particular, cockeyed.
“You mean to tell me the Chinese are not targeting Strategic Command in Omaha and they’re not targeting Washington, D.C., and they’re not targeting New York City?” said Arkin, whose latest book, “American Coup,” examines the government’s role in subverting the Constitution.
He said the map only makes sense if the dots are moved south over targets like Washington.
“Why would they want to target Las Vegas or the middle of nowhere in Michigan?” he said incredulously.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert with the Federation of American Scientists, came to much the same conclusion.
“With all due respect to the citizens up there, I wonder why the Chinese would waste a warhead on that,” said Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Washington, D.C., organization.
Rutland’s only defense-related industry of significance is the GE Aviation plant.
Kristensen said the strategy of the Chinese, who have limited nuclear capability, is to target large cities and large military bases.
“There is nothing in this that indicates it’s authentic,” he said.
Despite questions about the validity of his column and target map, Yu said in an email Tuesday that he was accurately reporting what appeared in the Chinese media.
“I don’t know why your city was on the official Chinese nuke target but I reported on what the official Chinese government media was saying,” Yu wrote, “which is that the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) had the capability to nuke the U.S. and they had some specific nuke attack scenarios in many revealing graphics in open publications.”
Yu continued: “Whether these scenarios or graphics make sense to you or your experts or not should not matter that much because the fact remains that the Chinese official media did indeed publish such nuke casualty projections.”