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Subject: WMD V.S. WME - Which is it?
Elbandeedo    1/17/2003 9:10:33 AM
Lately I've been hearing a lot of talk of WME in certain circles, while the rest of the world still chugs away with WMD. Which is more appropriate? or are both useful in their context, and some folks are just confusing the issue? E.
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Vigilis    Vigilis's Answer   2/16/2011 9:42:50 PM

A very timely question.  According to a pertinent article at Wikipedia, a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans (and other life forms) and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures (e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general.

The term "weapon of mass destruction" was first attributed to one Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1937 in reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain:

? Who can think at this present time without a sickening of the heart of the appalling slaughter, the suffering, the manifold misery brought by war to Spain and to China? Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new weapons of mass destruction?[1]

The more modern, less familiar term WME ("Weapon of Mass Effect") can be traced to a June 23, 2005, Homeland Security Advisory Council Meeting in Washington, D.C., and again, more specifically to a follow on "Weapons of Mass Effect Task Force" Advisory Council Meeting on January 10, 2006. On page 3 of 39 in the presentation document for the latter meeting, 'WME' was defined in footnote 1 as follows:
"...weapons capable of inflicting grave destructive, psychological and/or economic damage to the united States." There are subsequent references to WMD and on page 30 "WMD/WME".  Apparently, WMD may be a subset of WME, which is a term intended "toward forcing the adversary toward a decision against WME use....  Advanced planning on maintaining transportation and other functions in the aftermath, diminishes the attractiveness of WME use by a potential perpetrator desiring massive effect."
The distinction is no doubt euphemistic, definitively flawed, and created by one or more academics lacking real world experience. Now, perhaps you can be so good as to tell us who exacly appointed such useless dolts.
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heraldabc    WME versus WMD   2/21/2011 9:34:03 PM
Weapons of mass effect can be incapacitating or mission kill. (electronic or biological disabler as opposed to killer)
WMD emphasizes destruction.
A fission device (neutron bomb) can be designed to destroy (kill) people over a wide area but has limited local infrastructure effect
It can be a fission device that creates an electromagnetic pulse that destroys enemy electronics over a wide area, but on people has limited or no local physical effect..
Which weapon is the weapon of mass destruction, and which is the weapon of mass effect?
Depends on your moral viewpoint. 

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