The Pros And Cons Of Chemical And Biological Weapons

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“Terrorists imitate governments, and nuclear weapons are in the arsenals of the world’s major powers. That makes them ‘legitimate.’ Chemical and biological weapons also may be found in the arsenals of many nations, but their use has been widely condemned by public opinion and proscribed by treaty, although in recent years the constraints against use seem to be eroding.” 1
—Brian Michael Jenkins, former leading terrorism analyst, written in 1975. More than forty years later, it is more relevant than ever before.
March 20, 1995 marked the first time a non-state actor waged a chemical attack against a civilian population (chemical attacks had been used in the past but never by a non-state actor). Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese terrorist group, released
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In 2004, President George W. Bush stated, “The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of a secret and sudden attack with chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.”2 In 2008, the US State Department wrote in a document, “The nexus of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism poses one of the gravest potential risks to the national security of the United States and its global partners.”3 When President Obama entered office, he began his administration by saying, “If an organization like al-Qaeda got a weapon of mass destruction in its hands...just a few individuals could potentially kill tens of thousands of people, maybe hundreds of thousands.”4 In an age where everything is politicized, Republicans, Democrats, and government agencies all agree on the issue. Past, current, and future leaders are likely to share the concern surrounding weapons of mass destruction and the belief that non-state actors are a grave threat to global societies and thousands—if not millions—of lives could be lost or injured as a result of one successful…show more content…
While the sarin attack used by Aum Shinrikyo was difficult to implement, the use of a highly contagious disease, such a smallpox, could create mass casualties and chaos. Due to its highly contagious nature, it would only need to be spread to a few people in a major transportation hub, and it could be wildly spread clandestinely due to its 12-14 day incubation period. There are only two known existing cultures of Smallpox today, which are held by the US and Russia. Moreover, there is a concern that Russian security surrounding the existing culture is questionable. The concern of a breach is taken so seriously, that the US has 300 million
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