NBC Weapons: August 10, 1999

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Former CIA Director John Deutch's commission found that the US lacks the ability to detect most biological/chemical agents. This is just one symptom of the governments lack of a coherent unified approach to WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Currently no country can openly attack the US because of the threat of nuclear retaliation. Unfortunately if no aggressor can be identified the US will be unable to use its weapons. Further unless the US is willing to endure near universal condemnation it would have to have an air tight case establishing the guilt of any country before retaliating. The problem is that for a relatively minor attack such as the one on the World Trade Center the American public will endure a lack of action and the nations security will not be significantly hurt. However an attack on a major population center with a WMD- usually construed to mean Nuclear, Biological or Chemical weapons-neither the public nor national security could probably allow a successful attack to go unpunished. Without significant advanced planning and development of intelligence sources , detection systems, and response plans a coherent, and rapid, response will be unlikely. The lack of technology, and deployed equipment, to detect and identify Chemical and Biological agents would significantly hamper quick response which will increase both the casualty levels and the psychological impact of any attack. --Tom Trinko

 


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