When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the suffering and death were widespread. People in all parts of the U.S. watched as their televisions depicted massive destruction, dead bodies, thirst, hunger and violence. It was an impact in many ways on the entire country.

In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan introduced the idea of a missile defense system intended to defend our country against nuclear attack. Since then, technology has advanced, and the American people are led to believe that we could survive an attempted nuclear attack.

Yet we have few defenses against an individual carrying a warhead in a backpack or a nuclear weapon brought into our airspace by a privately owned aircraft.

What would it be like if only one or two atomic warheads either made it past our missile defense, or were brought here inconspicuously and detonated?

I believe that such an incident would cripple our country.

The U.S. is far more fragile and subject to various kinds of attacks than we are led to believe. If only one nuclear warhead hit an urban area in the U.S., it would push our already fragile economy to a state of collapse. The public would be in shock, panic and possibly anarchy, and it would probably be necessary to institute martial law. The death toll of a nuclear attack and its aftermath could be in the millions.

Some American citizens who are already prone to violence would see this as an excuse to drive around in their Jeeps and their Hummers with their weapons on board, wreaking violence at anyone who doesn't look patriotic enough.

The U.S. is vulnerable on numerous levels. There is the water supply, the oil refineries, the power grid, the food supply, there are Google and Microsoft, and there is the organized state of government -- all vulnerable to an attack. If we lost any of those infrastructures even for a brief period, it would devastate the American people. It would be like Hurricane Katrina, but a thousandfold.

Currently, we are appeasing countries that could potentially attack us because we buy their products. We can't rely completely on solar energy because it would lead to an attack from nations from which we import oil. We can't manufacture too many of our own goods because we need to stay in good graces with China.

Now the Obama administration is getting tough with Russia. I believe President Barack Obama, by doing this, is playing Russian roulette with the lives of the American people. Obama, in a similar manner to George W. Bush, has a false sense of security because of a strange belief that this country is invincible and can do as it pleases.

The U.S. government needs to realize that a major attack on the U.S. could wipe away our comfortable way of life. There would be no more impressing people with your Audi automobile, no more Super Bowl parties, no more bar scene, and we would probably have to do without chocolate, coffee, and numerous other wonderful things that we take for granted.

People will be fortunate if they can merely obtain food, water and medicine. And there is no guarantee of that.

The government needs to stop throwing around the weight we think we have. Our military isn't fooling anyone, except perhaps some naive Americans, when it attempts a "show of force." We need to treat others as we would have them treat us.

Jack Bragen is a resident of Martinez.