The Wall Street Journal (1 February 2013) has an interesting book review on “The Soviet Biological Weapons Program.”
Although 85 nations, including the Soviet Union, in 1975 signed the “Biological Weapons Convention” (BWC) pledging not to develop, produce, acquire or stockpile bioweapons or toxins for hostile purposes, the Soviet regime was “covertly expanding them.”
In the following years, the Soviets “built the most extensive facilities for the weaponization of bacteria and viruses in history” with “tens of thousands of scientists and support personnel and guarded by hundreds of Ministry of Interior troops.”
Both civilian and military laboratories were used under the guise of biotechnology, and factories that produce flu vaccines and pesticides for crops could relatively easily be converted to mass-produce deadly bioweapons to use against the West.
Apparently, motivating the Red Army were there own horrible experiences in the early 20th century when disease such as typhus and lice killed millions “mowing down our troops.”
“Fighting disease became a priority…and such efforts morphed easily into weapons research.”
While the Soviets could not financially keep pace with the U.S. and eventually lost the Cold War, they continued to funnel their military dollars into nuclear and bioweapons, where they could literally get the most bang for the buck!
Often I think that despite the safety we generally feel in this country surrounded on both sides by large expanses of Ocean and the freedoms that protect us within, we are really only a nuclear suitcase or bio epidemic away from great catastrophe and chaos.
In such an event, would we know who to retaliate against, would we have time, and even if we do, what good does it do us with mass casualties and disruptions?
Make no mistake; being able to retaliate against the perpetrators is critical to bring justice and respite to the nation, to prevent the potential for national annihilation, and to deter other maniacal acts.
However, it is vital as well to protect us from ever getting hit by weapons of mass destruction in the first place and depending on treaties alone cannot be enough.
Rather, excellent intelligence, early warning systems, antimissile defense, stockpiles of antidotes and countermeasures, premier medical facilities, superbly trained first responders, a high state military readiness, and refined continuity plans are all necessary to keep us from a premature and horrible end–and ultimately to preserve the peace. 😉
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Pere Ubu)