Germ bomb, germ bomb, you're my germ bomb...
September 4, 2001 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Germ bomb, germ bomb, you're my germ bomb... Seems the US has secretly been mixing up the old chemical warfare cocktail. Well I say, good luck to them, and may the best homocidal maniac with supreme power win!
posted by Neale (4 comments total)
What I find disturbing is that this is probably a reasonable move - we now know exactly how big the Soviet Union's biological warfare development program was (Ken Alibek, one of the Biopreparat directors, defected & wrote a book about it) and most of that knowledge has been on the open market for years now. Among other things, they were working to develop strains of various things which were resistent to current drugs and using genetic engineering to increase lethality or virulence. Very nasty stuff, particularly as it's cheaper to produce than nuclear weapons and requires much less exotic equipment.

This seems akin to having a penetration team test the security of your network by attempting to break in. The hard part is controlling the information - they need outside observation but, given how unprepared most countries are for a biological attack, it's not the sort of thing you want to be publicized widely.

It's tempting to say "The US could destroy all life on the planet anyway, what's new?", which is true except that biological weapons are both much easier to make and much easier to spread covertly. I have a feeling we'll be deciding on "least bad" solutions to this problem...
posted by adamsc at 5:37 PM on September 4, 2001

Here is a true story:
About thirty years ago my parents gave a ride to an American couple who were standing in the rain looking for a taxi. They were sort of wet and disappointed - this was supposedly sunny Portugal. My parents must have felt a little guilty and invited them to our house for dinner.
They seemed pleasant enough until, after the second dry martini, the guy started explaining what he did for a living.
"Basically", he said, "I gas sheep".
"I beg your pardon", my mother said. It turned out he was involved in testing biological weapons somewhere in Omaha.
Many years later, watching the Americans search for biological weapons in Iraq, I couldn't help feeling they really knew what they were looking for.
So I suppose there is a reason for the US not signing any of those pesky international treaties about landmines and secret weapons.
Still, at least it's the good guys who are messing about with the bad stuff.
But that it sets a bad example for the bad guys - as if they needed one - is probably undeniable.
A small consolation, perhaps?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:00 PM on September 4, 2001

here is the book mentioned above

highly recommended, especially if you think that "it's the good guys who are messing about with the bad stuff. " :)
posted by sawks at 6:23 PM on September 4, 2001

the US is really getting their "good guy"-image tarnished:

1. they won't sign treaties ( be it biological weapons or polution related )

2. they are going ahead with a missile shield-program the rest of the world opposes ( ...and where might these missiles land when shot down? )

...but with a president like that who can blame them!!
posted by phloe at 7:27 PM on September 5, 2001

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