Term Paper: Biological Weapons

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Biological Weapons

How real is the threat of Biological Attack in USA

Are we prepared for the threat of a biological attack?

End Notes

Biological Weapons

Arms of mass devastation can be utilized to hurt and intimidate populations. Arms with chemical, nuclear or biological properties are also included in these. Computer viruses can also be an obstacle to a fast reaction. Biologicals are the most efficient, less expensive and maximum terrorization. Biological fear is not new, and biological weapons have been put to use for centuries. But due to the modern technology, the dangers are higher and the results are dreadful. In the present day live pathogens, various toxins and theoretically bioregulators that are biochemical that alters cell signaling. Changed cell signaling could be used to bring in apoptosis-cell death, or an increased outburst of cytokines imitating overwhelming sepsis, or even an intracellular, biochemical strike leading to cellular paralysis.

Biological warfare may be described as the deliberate use of microorganisms or toxins to create death or illness in humans, animals or plants. Microorganisms comprise of bacteria and viruses, which are also at times called replicating agents. Such agents can increase within our bodies and create disease or death after contagion with a fairly small number of organisms. Biological toxins can be considered to be as chemicals, which are formed not by man, but by other living things such as animals, plants or microorganisms. The exposure level of toxins itself is what instigates illness as toxins do not make more of themselves.

Biological weaponeers now have the alarming skill to modify the genetic structure of pathogens, making them strong not only to existing antibiotic treatment but also to available effectual vaccines. In the sideline, bioweaponeers are looking for the means of devising pathogens that aim certain races, by virtue of differentiating the ligands. The consequential melancholy and fatality from use of any biological weapons will be led by confusion, governmental and social unsteadiness, fright, an unusual usage of available resources, and a constant outbreak of wakeful nights.

How real is the threat of Biological Attack in USA

The threat of a biological weapons assault on the U.S. is very real. Experts say that the anthrax may be the likely biological killer that the terrorist may use. Even 1 billionth of a gram or the size of a speck of dust is deadly. The effects made by anthrax first make fever and stomach pains. A ghastly death can take place within 24 to 36 hours of the beginning of acute indications. Though much difficult for the terrorist to get is the smallpox virus, which is even more terrorizing and that disease has been stated eliminated worldwide in 1980. Experts now think that a single case of smallpox anyplace in the world would call for a worldwide medical emergency. A single contaminated individual produced a wave of smallpox in Yugoslavia in 1972. The plague was stopped in its fourth wave by quarantines, forceful police and military measures, and 18 million emergency vaccinations to safeguard a population of 21 million that was previously extremely immunized.

U.S. officials think that Al Qaeda is engaged in refined biological weapons and a United Nations panel has affirmed that it is simply a matter of time before Al Qaeda tries a biological or chemical assault. Anthrax is one of the highest anxieties. In the fall of 2001, weapons rated anthrax was diffused through the U.S. mail, slaying seven people, contaminating 22 others, and pushed to the mass departure and shutting of postal facilities and a Senate office building for many months. These assaults showed that terrorists have the capability to use anthrax as weapons and our intelligence agencies have evaluated that a major aerosol discharge of anthrax is well within the technical capacity of al Qaeda and other foreign or domestic terrorist organizations. As indicated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), terrorists could produce anthrax using only usual microbiological methods, and could discharge it in the air above a city or town using commercially accessible spraying device. Plague was transformed into a biological weapon by the Japanese in World War II and by the Soviet Union. Smallpox, if discharged, would be destructive to the extent of killing thousands to millions. Though the only identified samples of the virus are extremely protected in two laboratories, some have contemplated that the virus is not restricted to them and may be reachable to terrorists.

Some state that it is only a matter of time before terrorists make use of their weapons of mass destruction against our military forces. In the Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, Secretary Cohen ended that the danger or use of chemical and biological weapons is a probable condition of forthcoming war, including in the early phases of war to disturb U.S. operations and logistics. Many experts agree that it is probable for the terrorist groups to use chemical or biological weapons against a nuclear weapon. The main returns of Chemical/Biological weapons are the unlimited accessibility of the required information, the reasonably small funds needed, and the capacity to examine the product. There are no significant controls on the accessibility of chemicals, and what little control is present over pathogenic cultures can be conquered in many ways.

Possibly most important fact is that the chemical and biological materials can be formed under the disguise of an apparently lawful business venture such as a small research company, excellent chemical manufacturer, or bio-medical laboratory. As per Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, before, terrorism was not just an issue of having the determination and inspiration to act, but of possessing the ability to do so, the basic instruction, access to weapons, and working knowledge. But in the modern days, the ways and techniques of terrorism can be easily got at bookstores, from mail-order publishers, on CD-ROM, or even over the Internet. A part-time terrorist can be just as lethal and harmful as his more specialized equivalent by relying on such commercially published or readily available handbook and operational guides.

According to those taking part in Dark Winter, the outcome of a bio-terrorism assault on the United States would be huge civilian losses, collapse in important organizations, and infringement of democratic procedures, civil chaos, and loss of belief in government and decreased strategic flexibility abroad. All these are the ways a biological attack would negotiate on the national security. TOPOFF, Dr. Tara O'Toole, deputy director of Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Bio-defense Studies told Congress that a meager amount of 100 grams of anthrax spores opened over Washington, D.C., would kill from 150,000 to an unthinkable 3 million people in the area. This would create fear all over the country as millions will hurry to doctors to be examined. Osama bin Laden's hopeless effort to get biological weaponry is explicable in light of the fact that the spring of a germ warfare assault would be undetectable.

President George W. Bush elucidates that it is no doubt that Iraq has used the last four years devoid of weapons inspectors to enlarge its biological weapon store. As per CIA Director George Tenet, most constituents of Iraq's bio-weapons programs, counting its arsenal of anthrax, botulism toxin and possibly smallpox, are bigger and more superior than they were before the Gulf War. Of greatest anxiety is the reality that, as the president enlightens, Iraq could make a decision on any given day to offer a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorist. A terrorist equipped with a small hand-held aerosol could easily diffuse 300 million smallpox viral particles within a closed area. Toxins could also be distributed through pollution of food or water. Latest FBI security warnings focused on a sharp, though imprecise, danger to U.S. food and water supplies. Several thousands could expire in both situations.

In both bio-terrorist situations, unless the toxin is immediately known, vaccines are inappropriate. Moreover, terrorists will possibly employ a cocktail of agents to baffle recognition systems and a main assault will rapidly overpower the hospital system making instant help completely unfeasible. The blow marked in the September 11th attack in the U.S. is frightening proof of the means and inspiration of terrorist groups to join in highly detrimental assignments. It is also obvious that the application of biological weapons could force an even larger number of people if terrorist groups are capable of organizing them fruitfully. There is not anything to prevent America's opponents from attacking with biological weapons. It is less dangerous than other techniques because of the incubation period in spreading the disease, and it's hard to locate from where the pathogens came from once they're released.

Are we prepared for the threat of a biological attack?

The United States is unprepared to face a biological assault. As per government officials and specialists in bio-terrorism and public health the United States stays sadly ill equipped to defend the public against terrorists using biological agents in spite of remarkable upsurges… [END OF PREVIEW]

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