John Smith sendnoemail at futurex.com
Sun Oct 18 17:44:47 EST 1998

Nicholas Landau wrote>...
> "John Smith" writes:...
> >Stockpiles of antibodies and antibiotics
> >specific for the potential bioweapons are 
> >likely to be created as we prepare for an
> >era of bioterrorism, but perhaps the only real
> >defense is the same one used to protect us
> >from nuclear weapons- Mutually Assured 
> >Destruction capability. MAD perhaps, but
> >it has worked.
> I disagree with you here, too, John.  MAD was a very dangerous
> (and somewhat cowardly) approach to enforced peace.  
> [.....]
> MAD would have
> no effect on terrorists, anyway.  How do you assure the destruction
> of a few religious nut cases?  They may not care if they live or die.
> They may not care if everyone in the nation of their birth lives or
> dies.  It is difficult to deter those who harbor fundamentalist
> philosophies.
> Offense is the best defense only then the enemy is interested in
> defending itself.  I say hire lots more microbioliogists to
> develop a credible system of civil defense.  I am sure that it
> won't be cheap, but military spending is generally politically
> feasible.
> What do you say to that proposal?
> --Nick
The threat of retaliation with our own weapons
of mass destruction (nuclear in our case, we have no
bioweapons anymore) might deter a known 
enemy form attacking us with bioweapons, but you are quite correct
in pointing out that this would have no effect on
many terrorists groups or on an unknown enemy.

A "credible system of civil defense" against
highly advanced bioweapons is not possible
either however. Only the crudest of bioweapons 
can be combated effectively with quarantine,
antibodies, and antibiotics. The Russians
have admitted developing anthrax strains that are
able to overcome any vaccination program,
and the other genetically engineered monster bugs
that surely do exist and can be made in a
good bioweapons laboratory would be able to start 
epidemics that we could never stop, but I
suppose that we have to try regardless.

One of the great ironies in this situation is that
in order to develop good defenses against 
potential bioweapons, we must first understand the
offensive capabilities of bioweapons.    
It does not seem possible to separate offensive
research from defensive research, and since we
in the West have abandoned all offensive research
we are at a severe disadvantage defensively
as well.

-John Smith

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