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Biological warfare essay

There is no longer a question of whether or not a bioterrorist will attack, but rather the question remains, when will they attack? It is highly likely that a terrorist group could threaten or attack Americans with germs within the next few years, according to President Clinton. (Solomon) Biological warfare intentionally uses viruses, bacteria, fungi, or toxins from living organisms and death or disease in humans, animals, or plants. Fermentation can be used to produce such bacterial agents as anthrax, brucellosis, cholera, meloidosis, plague, q fever, or tularemia.

Other viral agents are smallpox, cimean congo HF, rift valley fever, and vee. Use of these types of viruses and bacteria are becoming widespread in many areas of the world because they can affect many people efficiently and are cost effective. Biological weapons can ve traced back to Exodus when God placed the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, as a result of Pharaohs refusal to free the Jews from slavery. These plagues included blood, frogs, vermin, flies, murrain, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the slaying of the first born.

Even though this type of warfare may have had origins as early as Exodus, the methods of making these germs is described in scientific literature and is no secret to terrorists. This germ warfare is an especially serious threat for several different reasons. The first reason is the ability of these germ agents to be undetectable to spy technology. Secondly, the warfare labs that are used to produce these germs are difficult to detect, and major nations sometimes work together collectively to produce these agents for use in warfare.

Most importantly, it is against this threat that there may be no defense. Even though bioterrorism has been banned, it poses the greatest threat upon the Western World because of the mobility of their population. For this reason it is necessary for extremists to use aerosol dispersion to contaminate food, water, or air resulting in the death of every living organism. Two incidents in particular make this threat of a bioterrorist attack more likely to occur. The first of these occurred in Tokyo when nerve gas was unleashed in a Tokyo subway by the nihilistic Japanese cult group, Aum Shinrikyo.

Twelve people were left dead and another five thousand had to be hospitalized. This incident raises an even greater concern because the taboo that once prevented terrorists from attacking no longer exists; it was broken when these warfare agents were used in the Tokyo subway. This occurrence opened the eyes of the world to the need for strategies that both prepare and prevent these types of terrorist attacks. The second fact is that advancements in biological technologies have become widespread throughout the world.

A shocking number of at least seventeen nations are suspected of having or attempting to acquire germ weapons. Among the seventeen nations is Iraq. Before the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq admitted to research and production facilities and in 1995 confessed to manufacturing anthrax spores, botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin for weaponry. In 1997, Sudaam Husseins banning of American inspectors from investigating their development of these weapons created a widespread public concern. The world was surprised to learn that Iraq had produced enough deadly microbes to kill all the people on Earth several times over.

Because certain essential details remain unknown about perfecting biological weaponry, Iraq was never able to master their bacterial agents. On the other hand, accidental and unpredictable situations can result from these weapons of mass destruction. In Europe, the smallpox epidemic that occurred in the 1970s proved just how dangerous the release of these organisms could be. In 1979, when aerosolized anthrax was released from a Russian biological weapon manufacturing facility, the outcome was proven to be a lethal accident.

Another accident that is to some extent purposeful, but is proving to be dangerous is the island in the Aral Sea of Kazakhstan. It is at this site that Soviet soldiers buried anthrax during the Cold War in a top secret operation. These soldiers assumed the anthrax would never have any effect on anyone because they had soaked it in bleach with the intention of it eventually dying off. The Monterrey Institute of International Studies calls this island a ticking time bomb.

Davidson) The soviet troops buried the anthrax in order to keep the international control inspectors from discovering it. Local authorities will not allow the Monterrey Institute officials to get a close enough view of the burial site; therefore, the physical state of the buried anthrax is unknown. These sixty six gallon containers that originally stored this bacteria unearthed as erosion wore away at the soil in which they lie. Animals or insect that can also cause contamination, thereby, encouraging the rapid spreading of the anthrax.

Because of these potential dangers, the United States should possibly consider getting involved with the clean up effort. America is preparing to deal with biological warfare for several different reasons. Specifically three events have forced them to make preparations. The first event was Iraqs deploying of missiles that were carrying anthrax germs. The second event that is also a threat is botulinum (The toxin that spreads the deadly disease botulism). The last event that has caused America to make preparations is the use of the poison aflatoxin that was used during the 1991 Gulf War.

President Clinton wants to make the public aware to the fact that America is likely to be not only threatened, but also attacked with germs within the next few years. He also said that Iraq would not be permitted to produce these weapons of mass destruction. Surprisingly enough, the United States supplied the raw materials used by Iraq to create their biological weapons. Defenses are also being strengthened and permission for the use of almost three billion dollars is being proposed to Congress in order to combat these numerous varieties of biological warfare.

President Clinton told government agencies in June of 1995 to be prepared for attacks from terrorists. But in March of 1996, the Senate brought up questions concerning Americas contingency plans and whether or not they are sufficient. Medical response is an aspect that is probably the most important concern, but oftentimes the most neglected area for defense. This area is neglected because of the fact that it is difficult to plan a response when different treatments are needed depending on the type of biological agent that is used.

Philip Russell was quoted as saying: Plague is different from smallpox, which is different from anthrax. We need a group of folks to go through different scenarios and think about what could be done other than counting the bodies. (Taylor) According to these statements, more competent plans are mandatory in order to protect the United States. As a result, scientists, public health officials, policy makers, governments, and the public are all scrambling to find methods of preventing and protecting against biological warfare.

The threat remains that a city of five to tem million people could be wiped out prior to the new millennium. For these reasons, new ways are needed to prevent these attacks. First of all, intelligence plays a major role in the necessary measures that are needed. But by limiting the attainability of the starter cultures used by biological terrorists, defenses may be able to be strengthened. Assistant Defense Secretary Harold Smith said that Ideally we would like to develop a detection system using something remote like a laser beam that could detect and identify a biological agent at a standoff distance.

Solomon) President Clinton made a statement pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks. He said that I would be delighted if decades later, Americans can look back on these (biological) threats as the dog that didnt bark. (Solomon, 84) The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention has been organized in order to combat biological warfare. This convention is working on preventing the development, production, stockpiling, and arming of these weapons of mass destruction. On site inspectors are also being suggested to assist in this effort.

Recently a convention was held in Geneva that involved diplomats and experts on arms control. They suggested a plan that would trigger biological terrorist laboratories. On May 22, 1998, President Clinton announced to the United States Naval Academys graduating class that the United States is beginning to make necessary preparations in order to counter these biological attacks. Medical, public health, and other areas that deal with emergency response are especially being strengthened.

In 1997, the Department of Defense proved they were taking preventive measures when they declared they were vaccinating almost two and a half United States soldiers against anthrax. These actions alone are insufficient and other critical steps need to be taken. The first deals with the redefining of the efficiency of the armed forces, police forces, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other security agencies. This is necessary because each branch needs to know exactly what their responsibilities are; therefore, preventing confusion during an extreme emergency.

Secondly, legal factors that deal with search and detainment need to be reconsidered in the light of civil liberty. The psychological aspect of terrorists is another area that requires further study. Also, information terrorists use to make these weapons needs to be limited. Lastly, the legal system needs to be updated on the legal proceedings of the dangers of these new toxic germs. Studies also need to be conducted in order to contract these biological diseases. In conclusion, these biological weapons used by terrorists are becoming a widespread threat.

This threat should be viewed as inevitable because it is difficult to detect and has the potential to wipe out entire cities. Certain nations, namely Iraq, have experimented with these destructive weapons. Because of this, America is making preparations for defenses and searching for new ways that will counteract biological warfare. It is most likely that a terrorist will attack before the year two thousand and that World War III may be the biologists war. (Solomon, 104) The United States needs to step up security measures so they can be more prepared for biological warfare.

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Home » Biological weapons » Biological warfare essay

Biological Warfare Essay

Biological warfare is war waged with deadly chemicals, biological agents, or radioactive materials (CBR). They can be used to kill large amounts of people, destroy food, or just temporarily stun them for a matter of time so troops can come in and torture them or do whatever troops led by an manipulative tyrant who destroys everything. Using CBR, allowed you to kill everything and leave the buildings standing instead of nuclear weapons which destroy everything, put fallout in the air, and have radioactive materials wash into the ground and streams.

Using deadly chemicals in war has been going on since the early 1900s during World War I (1914-1918). Chemicals such as tear gas, chlorine gas, phosgene, and mustard gas. The first 3 are things that irritate the lungs, and mustard gas cause burns. After experimenting with these chemicals, they tried flame throwers but they were ineffective because of their short range. But that later led to napalm. Napalms kind of like gas only longer burning, more thick and its stickier and this is a deadly combination. All of this stuff led to the wide use of fire for World War II (1939-1945).

By the end of W. W. I, European powers have integrated gas warfare capabilities into their armies artillery. During W. W. II, Germany was working on many different things. Such as nerve gases, the atomic bomb, and Adolf Hitler had scientists work on something to increase longevity. At the end of W. W. II every country knew about the advantages of deadly gases than conventional shoot outs and destructive bombs. Gases such as tear gas have been used in limited wars since W. W. II, such as in the Vietnam War; tear gas is also employed by civilian police forces to stop riots.

The more deadly gases such as mustard gas and nerve gas has generally been condemned by most countries. Such weapons do remain in some arsenals, but treaties have gotten rid of them. There is evidence that Iraq used these weapons in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and that allied troops may have been exposed to these gases during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Various chemicals, such as Agent Orange, that alter the metabolism of plant and cause them to die have been employed in modern jungle warfare to reduce the enemys cover and let troops march in without the fear of being ambushed.

Later it was found that Agent Orange harmed everything that was near it. It killed plants, went into the humans lungs, and into streams and killed fish. This was very devastating to the ecosystem. The Hague Conference of 1899 made an attempt to outlaw projectiles carrying poison gases; the agreement to this effect lasted only until W. W. I. In Geneva in 1925 a League of Nations protocol against chemical and biological war was signed; it was not, however, ratified by the United States until 1975.

The treaty outlaws the first use of such weapons in warfare, but nations generally reserve the right to use them in retaliation. Agreements totally banning chemical warfare have proved difficult to achieve. A treaty totally banning biological warfare was drawn up by the Geneva Disarmament Conference in 1971 and approved by the United Nations General Assembly. Some 80 nations signed the Biological Weapons Convention, which the United States ratified in 1974. This treaty is unique because it outlaws a whole class of weapons by most of the world.

Its effectiveness, however, is still questionable; progress in genetic engineering has also complicated this issue. At the Bush-Gorbachev summit in June 1990, a treaty was signed providing for both the United States and USSR to reduce stockpiles of chemical weapons. In May 1991, 19 industrial nations–including the United States-commited to adopt controls on the export of 50 common chemicals used to manufacture these weapons. Anthrax is a contagious disease of warm-blooded animals, including humans, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

One of the oldest known diseases, it was once epidemic and still appears in many world areas, but only rarely in the western and southern United States. It was the first disease for which the in the wrong organism was isolated, by 0. J. Davaine in 1863, for which a pure culture was obtained, by Robert Koch in 1876, and for which an effective vaccine was developed, by Louis Pasteur in 1881. Animals got the disease from drinking water from contaminated dirt, in which the organism may live for years; from eating infected carcasses and feedstuffs; and from the bites of bloodsucking insects.

The disease, sometimes manifested by staggering, bloody discharge, convulsions, and suffocation, may be fatal almost immediately in particular cases and within three to five days in some cases. Death is caused by toxemia. Preseasonal inoculations and antibiotics are effective. In humans, the disease appear’s in both outside and inside forms, with a death rate of about 20 percent. The external form is contracted through cuts in the skin by those who handle infected hides and carcasses and may be self-limiting, but often gets into the bloodstream, with fever and exhaustion.

It is characterized by malignant pustules on exposed skin areas. The inside type is acquired by inhaling anthrax cells, as from animal hair and wool, which take over the lungs and sometimes the intestinal tract to cause lose blood. It is speculated that an intestinal variety may be caused by consuming contaminated meat or milk. Workers exposed to animal products, especially wool, are protected by vaccination. Penicillin is effective in treatment except in rapidly progressing cases.

The worst outbreak of anthrax occurred in 1979, when a biological weapons plant in Sverdlovsk, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (present-day Yekaterinburg) released an aerosol form of the anthrax pathogen. The source of this exposure, which killed 66 people, was publicly denied until 1994. In conclusion, biological weaponry are very deadly and can kill 100s of millions of people without them knowing whats going on. At least it doesnt destroy buildings. So when we drop the big one, later intelligent species can dig up entire buildings and dead bodies.

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