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Caging the Genies: A Workable Solution for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons

NCJ Number
Stansfield Turner
Date Published
206 pages
This book addresses the concern for the threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the United States.
In Part 1, the “problem” of weapons of mass destruction is discussed. The end of the Cold War has lulled citizens into believing there is no longer any concern about the risks associated to nuclear weapons. This attitude is shortsighted because: (1) there are a lot of nuclear warheads around; (2) as long as Russia has nuclear weapons there is a danger they could still use them, and it cannot be predicted where Russia will be in even a few years; (3) there is a possibility that nuclear weapons will proliferate to rogue states and terrorists that will employ them deliberately; and (4) there is a risk of accidental, unauthorized, and mistaken use of the nuclear states. In Part 2, the “theory” is addressed. With biological and chemical weapons, the question is whether either type of weapon could do enough damage to a country like the United States to push it to the point of non-recovery. The highest estimate of 3 million potential fatalities from a biological weapon makes such weapons appear to be competitive with nuclear weapons. There are more factors that can affect lethality, such as the weather, time of day or night, whether agents are stable enough to survive delivery, and whether there are defensive preparations. An appropriate response to chemical and biological attacks needs to be addressed. In Part 3, the “solution” is discussed. One possible solution is that a form of strategic escrow be applied to chemical and biological weapons by placing international observers at sites where chemical agents or weapons are awaiting destruction. Another is that all nuclear powers pledge not to use these weapons first. Civilian defense measures against chemical and biological weapons are suggested, along with offensive measures such as export controls, intelligence sharing, and international disapprobation that would prevent rogue nations and terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Citizen awareness and input is essential. An informed public will demand the most effective leadership for global management of weapons of mass destruction. 3 tables, 3 appendices, notes, index