Weapons of mass destruction are not a theoretical subject. These weapons include Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons. These were used and are still being used increasingly in military wars. Whether such weapons are biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, they pose serious threat to national defense of any country (Kort & Nolan, 2010 p 1). Most modern militaries in view of this fact have therefore a stock of WMD in their military arsenals which they don’t necessarily intend to use as weapons but rather as a deterrent to other nations attacking them. The US, Great Britain and China among other small democracies have these weapons.
WMD are one of the modern chemical engineering invention that posses the greatest threat to civilians and therefore countries have come up with measure to ensure that countries who have them don’t use them on civilians (Kort & Nolan, 2010 p 1). These measures include disarming terrorist with access to WMD such as that lead by US to a cruise missile attack against a chemical weapons factory in Sudan following the 1998 attacks on Kenya and Tanzania by terrorists (Rumsfield, 2006).
Weapons of mass destruction
The Department of Defense defines a WMD as any weapon or device which is build with the intent to or having the capability, leads to death including serious bodily injury to a huge number of people. Death can be caused by either releasing toxics or poisonous chemicals or their precursors; disease organisms, radiations or radioactive substances (Bowman, 2002).
Size is not the factor that is used to identify a weapon of mass destruction. WMD vary from a balloon filled with deadly gasses to a 55 gallon drum filled with explosives wrapped in radioactive materials that if its contents get to a crowd can cause very many deaths (Bowman, 2002). Major terms to refer to WMD include radiological dispersal device (RDD) and Improvised Nuclear Device (IND).
The US department of defense in the report dubbed “National Military Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction” reported that the thereat from the use of WMD on civilians has increased mostly due to the rapid technological change that ha enabled non-State actors who include terrorists networks and extremists, transnational threats, non-governmental organizations or businesses, rogue scientist and individual to make and detonate WMD (Rumsfield, 2006). These efforts are facilitated by business, international proliferation and terrorist networks which finance these undertakings.
The fact that technical expertise, materials, and sophisticated dual use technology is at their disposal; these organizations can secretly build these weapons and use them on civilians. Unless the partners working to together to combat the thereat of CBRN gather information on any undergoing nuclear activities increases the thereat that these can be use on countries far from the building site using medium- and longer-range ballistic missiles; cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (Bowman, 2002). It is therefore very easy to make a biological weapon in a small laboratory.
Unless the US and the world leaders come together o combat the threat form the use of CBRN weapons on civilians, the threat of another attack with more deaths and suffering than that of Nagasaki which killed thousands will with increasing probability recur. This will include countries entering into treaties such as Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention to guide the use of WMD.