Sunday, November 30, 2008

Return of the WMDs - from Pakistan

There is, of course, these press leaks are related to the Obama transition.

The WMDs are back. Emphases and italics mine.
Panel Fears Use of Unconventional Weapon -

An independent commission has concluded that terrorists will most likely carry out an attack with biological, nuclear or other unconventional weapons somewhere in the world in the next five years unless the United States and its allies act urgently to prevent that...

... “Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan,” the report states...

... The report is the result of a six-month study by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which Congress created last spring in keeping with one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission...

.... Commission officials said that date is a judgment based on scores of interviews and classified briefings conducted by members of the panel — led by former Senators Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, and Jim Talent, Republican of Missouri — but does not represent a new formal assessment by the United States intelligence agencies...

... The commission urges the Obama administration to work to halt the Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons programs, backing up any diplomatic initiatives with “the credible threat of direct action” — code for military action, a commission official said....
So what part of this do I personally find least persuasive? This sentence: "unless the United States and its allies act urgently to prevent that."

Ok, so the idea that military action against North Korea, short of occupying it, would prevent a bioweapons attack is probably even stupider.

I don't see how even the smartest and most urgent action could prevent a bioweapons attack -- if someone with money and brains really wanted to try it.

I assume the reason that it appears not to have happened so far [1] is that no national tyrant, even Sadaam, has wanted to do it, and that al Qaeda appears to have alienated all their potential geeks.

Note to murderous religious fundamentalists yearning for the medieval -- you really aren't geek-friendly. Please stay that way.

So, yes, we should pay special attention to bioweapons. Bush made that harder by using smallpox fraud to sell his Iraq invasion -- at the cost of a number of American's maimed or killed by the unwarranted and now forgotten federal immunization program.

So, by all means, pay attention. The threat appears real. But don't imagine we can necessarily prevent this from happening -- especially by attacking North Korea.

The cost of havoc is low and falling.

[1] I say "appears" because if an attack fizzled there's no way we'd recognize it. People die of basically inexplicable causes all the time. It's not a daily event at a sizeable hospital, but a few times a year.

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