Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, February 28, 2003

Jane's says there are seven questions we need to consider when assessing the likelihood of a bio or chem terrorist attack.

First, what cost/benefit analysis would influence a terrorist group to employ either/or both chemical or biological weapons and devices in its warfare?

Second, would a group choose to employ agents and toxins that can cause mass destruction, such as the highly contagious smallpox biological agent, or CB weapons and devices of mass disruption, such as sarin nerve gas, which could kill tens or hundreds of victims yet remain contained geographically? Moreover, would they employ agents and toxins that would cause immediate effects, delayed effects, short or long-term effects, and, most importantly, injury or death?

Third, how technologically feasible is it for a terrorist group to use CB weapons and devices, ranging from low to high technology?

Fourth, would such weapons and devices be indigenously developed, acquired in the black or "gray" markets, or provided by a state sponsor?

Fifth, given the technological feasibility and the likely impact of such use, what targets would these weapons be used against? Moreover, would such weapons be employed indoors or outdoors, or against civilian or military targets?

Sixth, what ideological or religious motivations and strategic objectives would drive a terrorist group to employ CB as opposed to 'conventional' weapons, particularly when the use of 'unconventional' weapons would generate a massive retaliation by the targeted adversary that would eliminate the perpetrator and its allies, and damage the constituents' cause?

Seventh, of the currently operating terrorist groups (or newly emergent groups), which ones would be most likely to resort to such warfare?

< email | 2/28/2003 12:55:00 PM | link

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