Most people today believe that the world is a better place than it was 20 to 30 years ago. But I, on the other hand, believe that the world is becoming a very dangerous place. Even though the world’s superpowers condemn nuclear and biological warfare, I believe that the next millennium will bring a war that will make them change their beliefs toward weapons of mass destruction.
There are many countries with these weapons. “For the past several years, U.S. government officials noted that there are at least ten countries known to have biological warfare programs.” There are also another twelve countries that possess nuclear weapons. Other countries are seeking to develop such weapons. Some of these countries pay for the technological secrets or for the actual ingredients for these weapons. One such case is that of Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, who “was so fixated by the dream of owning atomic bombs that he allegedly offered to pay India the equivalent of its national debt- nearly $18 billion for the technology.” But India refused to sell Qaddafi its technology.
Some of the countries that are suspected of having biological warfare programs are unfriendly toward the U.S. Some of these countries are located in the Middle East and some are signatories to the Biological Weapons Convention. This 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, prohibited its signatories from possessing or employing such weapons. This possess a significant threat to the U.S. and all the other countries who hold grudges with the ones who have biological warfare programs.
Nations acquire biological programs because they view it as an “inexpensive route to acquisition of a weapon of mass destruction.” Biological weapons are often called a “poor man’s atomic bomb.” Another reason why nations acquire these weapons is because they “desire to influence the political-military calculations of potential adversaries, and to scare enemy countries. They want the world to recognize them as a military power and that they can destroy an entire nation with their weapons.
These weapons are very destructive. The atomic bombs of today are about eight to forty times greater than the bomb detonated on Hiroshima. The Hiroshima blast killed between 70,000 to 100,000 people instantly. A biological agent can cause a similar amount of deaths; it all depends on how well the country is prepared to spot the spread of the germs, and how populated the area is.In third world nations, for example, the death toll could be greater because of the fact that they don’t have the necessary medical equipment to stop the spread of germs and viruses.
These weapons are ready to be used at any time. With recent conflicts between Iraq and the U.S. & Britain, and also India and Pakistan, the threat of unleashing the power of such a weapon has increased greatly. In the past decades, India and Pakistan have come close on three occasions to starting a nuclear war. Some problems between nations are high and can cause war when the hostility gets too high to handle.
The favorite biological weapons of nations with biological weapons are Anthrax, Botulinum, Clostridium and ricin. These agents usually kill the victims within a day or two after it has come into contact with its host. Surprisingly enough, starting cultures for these microorganisms are easily found in most areas. These weapons are effective because the particles remain suspended in the atmosphere for a long enough period of time to infect large numbers of people.
Whenever these weapons are used, they have to decide how the weapons will arrive at their target. Countries using these weapons use missiles to deliver the microorganisms. A terrorist group would differ by actually taking the biological agents to their target and releasing it in the open, so people-as well as the wind-will spread the biological agents.
Terrorism is probably the factor that is the key to the beginning of the next war. “Small nations, even subnational terrorist groups have the ability to inflict mass destruction upon their enemies.” One such group is Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group who has enough money to support his actions. This group also asks countries to house his group. The U.S. has acknowledged that some countries suspected of pursuing biological warfare programs are known sponsors of terrorism. One such terrorist act that could have been worse was the bombing at the World Trade Center in New York. Had the bombers used a nuclear weapon with plutonium, both structures would have had to be torn down and buried as radioactive waste. This is because plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years-that’s the time it takes for half it to decay.
Some people believe that this will not happen because there are treaties that ban biological orders and ask countries to reduce the amount of their nuclear weapons. They also believe organizations such as the U.N. will stop a potential war from starting. But there are countries who will not take advice form anyone and will do what they think is best.
These types of weapons are becoming widely available to more nations and even terrorist groups. So far, no country has had to resort to using a nuclear strike in war. With so many problems between countries these days, its only a matter of time before these weapons are to put to use. That’s why I believe that countries who condemned the use of these weapons will change their views and ultimately use them.