Nuclear Blindness: An Overview of the Biological Weapons Programs of the Former Soviet Union and Iraq   [open pdf - 67KB]

"The demise of the biological weapons capability of the United States in 1969 and the advent of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972 caused governments in the West to go to sleep to the possibility of biological weapons development throughout the rest of the world, as technically knowledgeable workers were transferred and retired, intelligence desks were closed down, and budgets were cut. By 1979, despite the Sverdlovsk anthrax release, a senior British government policy official described any biological weapons threat as nebulous. President Nixon's biological weapons disarmament declaration in 1969 had conveyed the impression that biological weapons were uncontrollable and that the U.S. program had not been successful in producing usable weapons (when in fact the opposite was true). Add to this the rise of truly intercontinental ballistic missile delivery of nuclear weapons, and the stage was set for what I have termed nuclear blindness and defined as the tunnel vision suffered by successive governments, brought on by the mistaken belief that it is only the size of the bang that matters Throughout this period, both the former Soviet Union and Iraq conceived, albeit in different ways, their new biological weapons programs. It took until 1989-1991 for government technical experts in the West to persuade the world and their own governments that these programs were real and of enormous potential importance to the security of the West, if not the whole world. Too many times in the past we have failed to anticipate future developments; refused to think the unthinkable and expect the unexpected. Too many times we have been out maneuvered by those who take the time to think and plan and do not simply rely on reacting to events. We must learn to think like our potential adversaries if we are to avoid conflict or blunt an attack, because only superior thinking and planning (not just better technology) will enable us to survive biological warfare."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/
Media Type:
Emerging Infectious Diseases (July-August 1999), v.5 no.4, p. 509-512
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