U.S. Wide Open For Asymmetrical Warfare On A Horrific Scale
By WILLIAM MAYER
November 10, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – PipeLineNews.org – There is no more important job for the President of the United States than that of defending and protecting the security of its citizens against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Over a period spanning nearly seventy years the ultimate deterrent which prevented attacks on the United States by hostile nations has been its nuclear arsenal; the triad, thousands of atomic weapons on a variety of platforms and deployed in a segmented array including weapons delivered via stealth bombers, silo based intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched as well as surface ship launched ballistic missiles
The operative theory is that an attack on the U.S. homeland or any of its allies would be met with the total, overwhelming and certain annihilation of the attacking power. Supplementing this was the proviso that if conditions deemed it necessary the United States might strike first, rather than absorb the first wave of an attack and then respond.
At the time, this system of Mutual Assured Destruction [acronym, MAD] wasn't guided by the modern notion of “proportionality.” If a foreign power recklessly stuck America, it wouldn't just “be taught a lesson” it would largely and indiscriminately be incinerated with no distinction made between military and civilian targets.
The idea might be thought of as the ultimate embodiment of Theodore Roosevelt’s aphorism, “walk softly and carry a big stick.”
We currently have an announced [thanks Mr. Obama, why not tell everyone their location also?] 5,113 warheads, certainly a big stick but not as large as that maintained during the Cold War when the U.S. had in excess of 10,000 warheads.
Though we remain in numerous mini cold wars around the globe, the real outlying nations with Soviet type bellicosity and intent which remain are North Korea and Iran...when it gets its dream weapon. Sorry folks unless it takes them more than two years to develop, or the Israelis take out its research and production infrastructure, Iran will be our most hair-trigger nuke threat [note as we reported on October 6, Israel Strikes? - Iran’s Parchin Nuke Site Spontaneously Explodes, PipeLineNews.org, the Israelis view this issue with the utmost gravity].
Iran’s possession of nukes carries an additional complication. Islamic ideologues are not deterred by the notion of certain death, in fact “dying in the way of Allah” promises an afterworld of carnal delight
Recently Mr. Obama announced his intent to cut the U.S. nuke stockpile by at least 30%. Though he is quick to caution that such an action would be dependent upon a negotiated agreement with Vlad Putin. Even casual students of history should know that treaties by and between the U.S. and what is shaping up as a neo-Soviet Union, are worthless exercises in diplomatic tom-foolery.
“After a comprehensive review, I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third. And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.” [source, Remarks by President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate -- Berlin, Germany , WH website]
Given that our president apparently knows little [and cares less] about the history and development of the West’s classical defense policies, those which won the Cold War, the above statement is irresonsible beyond measure. Moreover, based upon his public pronouncements and conduct of foreign policy, we have seen no evidence that he's ever read the seminal document upon which America’s policy of nuclear deterrence was formulated [see, George F. Kennan, The Sources of Soviet Conduct, Foreign Policy Magazine July 1947].
Obama hasn't been reticent about stating his intentions in this matter.
In his 2010 Nuclear Posture Review the president's breathless announcement that he is seeking "a world without nuclear weapons," is just another indication of this administration’s cavalier attitude about these matters.
Of supreme concern to defense planners and other concerned parties was the intentionally leaked disclosure that the president has “reassessed” the circumstances under which the United States will mount a nuclear response to an attack.
Regarding that aspect of the policy, the New York Times states, "Mr. Obama's new strategy makes just about every nonnuclear state immune from any threat of nuclear retaliation by the United States..." [source, David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, Obama’s Nuclear Strategy Intended as a Message, New York Times]
Responding at that time, what did outside experts with an intimate knowledge of national security matters think about this? Few commentators are more competent to speak to this issue than former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, who wrote:
"The Nuclear Posture Review is deeply troubling in many respects, starting at the conceptual level with its unfounded assertion that the need for American nuclear deterrence has declined. By further unilaterally limiting the circumstances in which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons to protect itself and its allies, the Obama administration is in fact increasing international instability and the risks of future conflicts. By abandoning the reliable replacement warhead project, and drastically limiting programs to ensure the safety and reliability of our existing nuclear stockpile, the president is risking our security and obtaining nothing in return. Nuclear proliferators, as well as countries with chemical and biological weapons programs, can only welcome these further unforced American errors on the road to nuclear impotence." [source, John Bolton, The President’s New Nuclear Policy, originally published in National Review]
Obama’s change in nuclear policy ignores the possibility of a sophisticated non-nuclear attack against the United States and exempting “non-nuke” states from retaliation gives external bad actors the green light to proceed. This is a massive hole in the president's national security logic and it places every American citizen at increased risk.
Questions naturally arise. How serious might an attack be; what infrastructure would in place to respond; what type of media strategy be required to inform and calm what would be a very nervous public without bending the truth beyond recognition?
The main focus of this monograph is understanding how an event such as this might occur and then play out based upon recent history. We consider this a case study on the need for this government to restructure its planned response to potential existential threats. Our thesis is that the Bush administration’s efforts to prevent a CBW attack have tremendously increased relevance now that Ebola has hit our shores through natural processes.
But what if Ebola or similar communicable deadly disease were weaponized and used against us? Though the public is largely unaware of it, we have been there before, during the GW Bush presidency and most of the issues which faced the CIC at that time remain largely unaddressed today.
1. Though the removal of Saddam Hussein eliminated one threat, that required going to war knowing the risks, complications and blowback which are inherent to such weighty decisions. But the administration was not to be deterred showing the lengths a responsible government would go to avoid the horror of a WMD attack.
2. Despite the evidence turned up in a flawed and bumbling process by both the Iraq Survey Group and Duelfer Report, DC was so dysfunctional [this is a statement irrespective of party] that it was unable to interpret the findings and clearly articulate to a skeptical public why we entered into this conflict when “no stockpile of nukes or CBW weapons were found.” In crises such as this, the ability to quickly determine the facts while retaining the trust of the average American is key in preventing the matter from spinning out of control and possibly destroying social cohesion – the fabric which holds a society together.
3. Even before 9/11 the WH was concerned about this possibility. In response the DOD ran an exercise which revealed, among other things, that the American public health system had no plan whatsoever to comprehensively deal with what might be the worst case scenario, a massive epidemic of external origin.
4. Despite the passage of 13 years, 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and daily reminders that Islamic jihad is at war with us [throat cuttings, head choppings, bomb plots and various other atrocities to gruesome to print] we remain on square one, exactly where we were in the Summer of 2001...no clue and no plan. The government has simply failed to establish the mechanism of dealing with a national pandemic.
5. The entire matter, the search for Saddam’s WMDs, the various government investigations, the misinterpretation of evidence, the negative public reaction and finally the conduct of the war game all point to the natural incompetence of government by bureaucracy, especially in efforts involving multiple countries and NGOs such as the United Nations. When faced with this level of threat, every misstatement, error in judgment or botched execution erodes confidence and brings people one step closer to the anarchy of the mob when it can least be afforded.
6. As popularly understood and after years of a savage partisan effort to undermine the administration, the Bush administration stands wrongly accused of creating a myth in order to justify going to war. The process can be likened, somewhat, to a blind man looking for his hat in a dark room. Hence despite massive evidence that Saddam’s WMD programs and weapons existed, the bureaucratic mindset of the members of the Iraq Survey Group [ISG] and the Duelfer Report [Duelfer], numerous internal rivalries and turf fights and the sheer volume of evidence to be collated and assessed showed how difficult it is for institutions to sort through massive amounts of data and then reach the appropriate conclusion.
This is how government agencies work, it’s not the exception. Incompetence is the rule as is the pervasive interagency rivalries which pits the major players - the Department of State, the DOD, CIA/DNI/NSC complex and the WH foreign policy advisory team against each other in nasty turf wars.
At this point in our analysis it might be helpful to reason from conclusion to evidence so as to crystallize the nature of the overall threat. The long hunt for Saddam's WMDs shouldn't be treated as a pointless review of ancient history with no current applicability because it provides insight into how these things take form, develop and play out in the real world.
A striking defect of the way consecutive administrations [Clinton and Bush] approached this problem was the failure to assemble and evaluate the evidence at hand as a whole. If this had been done, it should have been possible to have taken preemptive action much earlier because we would have seen the pattern and known then rather than years after the fact, that Saddam absolutely had WMDs, used them, and acted to retain the infrastructure to continue these programs to completion when the climate was less restrictive.
Though Saddam had thousands of WMDs, veritable stockpiles, it was the lack of proof thereof which Bush's critics cleverly used first, to mischaracterize the reason we went to war, and second, to then use that fable to discredit every aspect of the administration's effort to prevent a potential nightmare, for which he would have been held responsible had it actually occurred.
However Bush's 2003 ultimatum to Saddam Hussein didn't support the false narrative created by the leftist/media revisionists:
"...For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy...passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned. The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men. Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people..."
The record has only recently and partially been corrected, albeit with the omnipresent anti-Bush bias remaining. This time the spin serves the purpose of sidestepping the empirical fact that on this point, the Bush critics got it entirely wrong. For example, we turn to the left’s most sacred news source, the New York Times which, after the passage of more than a decade has seen fit to finally publish part of the truth regarding this matter.
“With remarkable speed, Iraq built a program with equipment and precursor purchases from companies in an extraordinary array of countries…German construction firms helped create a sprawling manufacturing complex in the desert south of Samarra and three plants in Falluja…Iraq produced 10 metric tons of mustard blister agent in 1981; by 1987 its production had grown 90-fold, with late-war output aided by two American companies that provided hundreds of tons of thiodiglycol, a mustard agent precursor. Production of nerve agents also took off…Rising production created another need. Mr. Hussein’s military did not possess the munitions for dispersing chemical agents. So it embarked on another buying spree, purchasing empty ordnance - aviation bombs from a Spanish manufacturer, American-designed artillery shells from European companies, and Egyptian and Italian ground-to-ground rockets - to be filled in Iraq…” [source C. J. Chivers, The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons , NYT]
As part of the NYT investigation and consequent FOIA actions, formerly classified government documents reveal that not only were thousands of weapons found, but that hundreds of U.S. servicemen were seriously injured through contact with blistering agents and Sarin nerve gas. A subsequent review of DOD records reveals that, "...734 U.S. troops who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan reported potential exposure to chemical warfare agents, according to the Pentagon..." [see, Jon Harper, U.S. Intelligence Documents on Chemical Weapons Found in Iraq , Stars And Stripes]
The fact that most of the weapons, primarily large caliber [155mm] artillery projectiles are said by some to have been manufactured prior to 1991 has no bearing on the now established truth, that Saddam did indeed have stockpiles of WMD, the total number of which has been estimated at about 5,000. He had also developed the capacity to manufacture, often clandestinely, the components from which these and other weapons might be constructed.
But is this all there is to the story? Odds are than many citizens still earnestly believe the urban legend that “Bush lied, people died,” despite the fact that even then those responsible knew the politicized charge to be false but failed or were unable to convincingly articulate that message.
It wasn't the presence of CBW artillery munitions themselves that represented an imminent threat to nations outside the range of Iraq's delivery systems; but Saddam's ability to produce the chemical, biological or nerve agents most assuredly did. That combined with the dictator’s proven intent is what sounded the alarm.
Enter General Georges Sada, at the time Iraq’s second ranking air force officer. He became over time one of Saddam’s most trusted confidants and advisors, one whom the strongman respected so much that Sada could tell his boss the truth and not end up being eaten alive by Dobermans, even though he was a Christian in a Muslim country.
In 2006 Sada, having escaped Iraq, wrote a book, Saddam’s Secrets , in which as the publisher describes in part:
“He also, for the first time, reveals the disturbing truth about Saddam's plots to destroy Israel, hide weapons of mass destruction and overtake the Arab world. As an eye witness to history, Sada paints a painfully truthful picture of Hussein and his country”
In the below video Sada sketches a story which should give cause for concern on many levels to national security/military planners.
In the summer of 2002 Saddam Hussein knew that he would imminently be under attack. Everyone paying attention also knew this because the assault had been debated and organized in public, it was anything but a secret. The Bush team's misperceived need to build a huge coalition of nations in order to somehow legitimize the effort - Republican inferiority syndrome was on full display here - led to one of many strategic mistakes when the best course of action would have been to strike without warning given the nonpareil capability of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The process actually started 5 years before the invasion with the passage of H.R. 4655 on September 29, 1998, the Clinton administrations, Iraq Freedom Act. It was passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan vote 360-30. In the ensuing years invading Iraq with the goal of regime change became a commonly agreed upon goal. This vote was conducted in an atmosphere of a multi-year charade in which United Nations agents - rather than U.S. intelligence - were granted on again, off again limited access to some of Saddam’s clandestine weapons sites.
On November 8, 2002 the UN slapped Saddam with a final ultimatum, Resolution 1441, in which he was given the option of complying with a renewed and more robust regimen of inspections or face the consequences, which all concerned new meant war.
It took the administration the better part of a year to build what has now been derisively termed the “coalition of the bribed.” There was really no element of surprise, all concerned including Saddam Hussein knew what was coming. Shuttle diplomacy was undertaken without any attempt to conceal the purpose. Saddam had no doubt that we were coming and the growing size of the coalition proved to the Iraqi strongman that the invasion would likely be overwhelming.
Hussein was a highly intelligent man and more than competent military leader, considering the constraints the inspections and various attempts to damage him economically, some of which were more than moderately effective.
Having no doubt as to what was about to happen, he set about as part of his defensive preparations, to conceal his WMDs and the programs which made them possible.
On June 4, 2002, Syria’s Zeyzoun Dam collapsed, a gift of inestimable worth as Saddam saw it. Though undoubtedly tragic, less than 30 people were killed by the flood and about 200 homes were destroyed, making it a relatively minor event as far as the system of international aid was concerned.
Saddam however saw a tremendous opportunity and used it to move his most advanced WMDs, the manufacturing capability and knowledge base which produced them to Syria under cover of providing humanitarian relief. That Syria's President Assad would have to have been complicit in this operation is undeniable.
He organized an emergency airlift that according to General Soda comprised 56 separate flights by cargo planes [converted Boeing commercial airliners] as well as a land bridge operation in which about 100 semi-tractor trailers transported hundreds of tons of international contraband through Western Iraq and across the border to Syria. There is evidence that the Russians assisted in this weapon transfer since they had already provided Saddam with some of the sophisticated tools and techniques whereby bacteriological agents could be produced.
One of the principal advisors in the run up to Operation Iraqi Freedom was Douglas Feith [Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for United States, 2001 - 2005, GW Bush administration]. He is shown below discussing Saddam's WMD program with Frank Gaffney [President of the Center for Security Policy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy and later, the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, for President Reagan]
Adding further weight to this contention is an unlikely source, James R. Clapper, currently Director of National Intelligence.
[James Clapper] "...said Tuesday that he believes that material from Iraq's illicit weapons program had been transported into Syria and perhaps other countries as part of an effort by the Iraqis to disperse and destroy evidence immediately before the recent war. The official, James Clapper Jr., a retired lieutenant general, said satellite imagery showing a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria, just before the U.S. invasion in March, led him to believe that illicit weapons material "unquestionably" had been moved out of Iraq. "I think people below the Saddam-Hussein-and-his-sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse," Clapper, who leads the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said at a breakfast with reporters. He said he was providing a personal assessment..." [source, Douglas Jehl, New York Times News Service, Syria said to have Iraq arms, Chicago Tribune]
And this from AFP:
“BAGHDAD, June 9  (AFP) - Iraq said Sunday it has sent 20 planeloads of humanitarian assistance to Syria to help victims of Tuesday's Zeyzoun dam collapse in the north of the neighbouring country. "Iraqi Airways planes have made 20 flights to Damascus until today to take foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products to the victims," Transport Minister Ahmad Murtada Ahmad told the official INA news agency. Planes continued to take off from Baghdad's international airport on Sunday in the airlift put in place on Thursday at the request of President Saddam Hussein, Ahmad said. Iraq's Health Minister Omid Medhat Mubarak added that the sanctions-hit country would also send teams of specialised doctors, surgeons and chemists to Syria.”/p>
The admission that chemists and "specialised doctors" were part of the Exodus, is probative:
"ISG formed a working group to investigate the possibility of the evacuation of WMD-related material from Iraq prior to the 2003 war. This group spent several months examining documents, interviewing former Iraqi officials, examining previous intelligence reports, and conducting some site investigations. The declining security situation limited and finally halted this investigation. The results remain inconclusive, but further investigation may be undertaken when circumstances on the ground improve. The investigation centered on the possibility that WMD materials were moved to Syria. As is obvious from other sections of the Comprehensive Report,
Syria was involved in transactions and shipments of military and other material to Iraq in contravention of the UN sanctions. This indicated a flexibility with respect to international law and a strong willingness to work with Iraq—at least when there was considerable profit for those involved. Whether Syria received military items from Iraq for safekeeping or other reasons has yet to be determined. There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation. ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war. It should be noted that no information from debriefing of Iraqis in custody supports this possibility...given the insular and compartmented nature of the Regime, ISG analysts believed there was enough evidence to merit further investigation. It is worth noting that even if ISG had been able to fully examine all the leads it possessed, it is unlikely that conclusive information would have been found. At best, barring discovery of original documentary evidence of the transfer, reports or sources may have been substantiated or negated, but firm conclusions on actual WMD movements may not be possible..."That being, Saddam had worked clandestinely to produce nuclear WMD stockpiles, planning to either deliver the weapons via one of his state agents or, more likely, handing them off to one of the myriad of Islamist terror organizations with which he had working relationships or contacts, thus making determining the origins of any attack against the United States hard to trace." [sourced, Addendums to the Comprehensive Report, of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD, aka Duelfer Report, part 4]
The public generally misperceived the broad nature of what constituted a WMD. This was undoubtedly due in part to the Bush administration's lack of public relations savvy. That the entire legacy media worked in concert to undermine the president made penetrating the chaff next to impossible. Evidence of this was the reprehensible practice of running a daily ghoulish body count of those killed in action on the front page, above the fold.
The media was so full of itself during this period that the then editor in chief of the publishing world's house organ, Editor and Publisher, Greg Mitchell, in 2005 wrote:
"It's time for newspapers, many of which helped get us into this war, to consider using their editorial pages as platforms to help get us out of it. So far, few have done much more than wring their hands, or simply criticize the conduct of the war, or the lack of body armor for our troops. Not many months ago, in fact, some papers, including The New York Times, were calling for more U.S. troops for Iraq. Now it's literally do-or-die time." [source, Greg Mitchell, The Tipping Point On Iraq, August 22, 2005]
To call this reckless is to do disservice to the term.The Nature of the Threat
American citizens were and mostly likely still are, thinking nukes, not biological weapons, and not just a single weapon but rather, "stockpiles."
The difficulty with this model is the extraordinary level of engineering required to design and construct a fission weapon. Though "dirty" nuke weapons are far easier to assemble, their threat is far more psychological than physical compared to even an inefficient but working nuclear weapon that goes bang. Saddam became aware of an additional impediment when the IDF destroyed the country's French built light water reactor at Osirak in 1981 [Operation Opera/Babylon].
Though the regime wasn't able to recover from the destruction of the facility, meaning that Saddam would likely never have the capability of manufacturing a nuclear weapon didn't conflate to him having given up on using whatever weapons he had available against his enemies, the greatest of which was the United States which drove him out of Kuwait during the short but brutal First Gulf War, and proceeded to decimate Saddam's military as it was forced to flee along what was called the Highway of Death.
Sequestered within the Bush administration's attempts to explain why we went to war to topple Saddam lurked the kernel of truth. The most devastating method of attack on the United States wasn't the weapon then that generated the most popular concern playing as it did into the archetype of the upward rising mushroom cloud.
The real threat was biological weapons, of a very specific type, delivered in multiple locations in America.Yet the rallying cry, which eventually led to massive street demonstrations in the United States and around the world, was, "Bush lied, people died"
Though untrue it was nonetheless a highly effective piece of propaganda.
That the messenger and the message were both destroyed in this manner left the public groping and susceptible to manipulation and outright fabrication. This despite the fact that there were no claims made by the administration that Iraq had nuclear weapon or was close to producing them and at no time did the Bush team posit their existence as a pretext for regime change in Iraq.
As aforementioned, Saddam went to extraordinary lengths to protect his WMD programs and/or the infrastructure to produce them quickly again if and when the Americans left him alone, which of course never happened.
But what there about Saddam's clandestine enterprise that loomed as a serious threat?
From the Duelfer report:
"Dr. Hazim 'Ali, recruited in July 1990 to lead the development of viral agents, took over the FMDV Plant at Al Dawrah in September of that year, renaming it 'Al Manal'. He commenced work on viruses including hemorrhagic conjunctivis, human rotavirus, and camel pox with a view to weaponization." [source, Duelfer Report, Vol 3, p. 138, http://www.foia.cia.gov/duelfer/Iraqs_WMD_Vol3.pdf]
"Iraq's interest in camel pox and its inclusion in the viral BW program have led ISG to assess that camel pox R&D was a surrogate for smallpox research, analogous to the use of nonpathogenic Bacillus species and Bacillus anthracis. According to Hazim 'Ali, researchers in Iraq's BW program followed the practice of working with particularly pathogenic micro-organisms surrogates to facilitate transition to the actual pathogens. This approach permitted the researcher to familiarize and learn techniques, procedures and processes to increase the safety margin for the researcher and technicians. In Dr. Rihab's own words, Hazim's decision to work with camel pox was because "it was near to smallpox." [source, ibid, p. 155]
Camelpox was chosen as the ideal agent to work with because it was in the same family as smallpox [orthopox], and the techniques needed to handle and propagate it were similar but the risk associated with such work was several orders of magnitude less.
Thus it was more feasible [and certainly safer] to develop camelpox in a form that was weaponizable and then substitute smallpox in its place after the methodology had been worked out adequately:
"ISG also visited the building where animal pox vaccines are produced in tissue culture. Their assessment was that as with the Newcastle vaccine unit, the equipment in this building could also be used to produce large amounts of smallpox virus in tissue culture although all equipment present is consistent with the expressed purpose of making animal vaccines".[source, ibid, Vol 3, p. 159]
So it is beyond doubt that the threat was there. It's also clear that though Saddam is gone any nation or group which has the technology to work with biological agents [or has access to the end product] remains a potentially deadly foe. [note: for readers who wish to see more details regarding the etiology of the Iraqi threat please refer to the addendum.]
One of those few setting forth the high risk associated with allowing Saddam's regime to continue towards this kind of capability was GWB advisor, Douglas Feith.
His seminal book, "War and Decision," is perhaps the best single source fair assessment of the Iraq war and the thinking of the administration regarding its planning and execution. Below Feith relates the administration's core concern in a PBS broadcast:
"Feith: Well, I think that the Bush doctrine actually was a somewhat different proposition. The Bush doctrine was a recognition that certain kinds of threats are of the type that we would not be able to know in advance when a country was actually going to attack imminently. And so the standard of waiting for an imminent attack, the upraised knife, that standard was not realistic in a world where countries, for example, could build biological weapons, smallpox weapons, for example, and then launch them on us". [source, interview with Douglas Feith, http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200804/20080408_feith.html]
The risk of a biological attack involving smallpox against the United States was so great that even before 9/11, a full-scale war game was undertaken - complete with a stand-in president - Senator Sam Nunn, simulated news broadcasts and other elements to make it realistic- to study the manner in which a smallpox attack might play out domestically, both from an epidemiological and societal perspective.
This work was detailed in the 2001 work, "Dark Winter - Bioterrorism Simulation Exercise," Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC; Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies.
Thinking about the unthinkable, the simulation bared many unpleasant realities.
"An attack on the United States with biological weapons could threaten vital national security interests. Massive civilian casualties, breakdown in essential institutions, violation of democratic processes, civil disorder, loss of confidence in government and reduced U.S. strategic flexibility abroad are among the ways a biological attack might compromise U.S. security."
All below reference and characterization to the Dark Winter study was taken from the actual script that defense planners used to drive the exercise.
Scenario, major assumptions:
"Six months ago, the US lifted sanctions against Iraq and ceased enforcement of the "no-fly zones." Saddam has since pursued an aggressive effort to upgrade military forces and has imported equipment and materials that might be used to build chemical or biological weapons. The Al Daura vaccine plant, near Baghdad, closed by UN inspectors after the Gulf War, renewed full-scale production in 2001. The ostensible justification for this was the preparation of vaccines against Foot & Mouth disease. There are also reports that several top of scientists from the former Soviet bioweapons program began working in Iraq and Iran 1 yr ago."
Saddam has massed his troops on the border between Iraq and Kuwait and with no provocation he once again invades the country.
Many nations, including those in the Middle East request that the U.S. deploy forces in Desert Storm fashion, to repulse the Iraqi attack. As an initial move, the U.S. sends a carrier group into the Gulf and prepares to send the approximately 400,000 troops that would be required to deal with Saddam's aggression.
Not coincidentally, tensions are at the same time also growing between Taiwan and Red China, with many fearing an invasion from the mainland.
At the height of this tension a massive swine flu epidemic breaks out in Taiwan, killing its pig population, decimating its economy. Because of the timing of the outbreak, Red China is widely suspected to be the source.
Within a matter of weeks of the Taiwanese infection, the first cases of smallpox seen since 1949 appear in the United States, operating upon similar logic, Iraq is suspected as the source.
These first cases are reported on December 9, 50 of them in three states, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Oklahoma, where the majority are occurring. Given the 9 day incubation period, the infection is assumed to have started on or about December 1.
Smallpox is highly contagious, there is no natural immunity. There are only 12 million doses of vaccine available in the United States and in order for it to be effective it must be used before symptoms of the disease manifest themselves. Each infection can generate from 13-20 additional cases. Lethality is 30% , i.e., for every three cases, one will prove fatal.
The contagion proceeds rapidly:
December 15 - 2,000 cases in 14 states.
December 22 - 16,000 cases in 25 states.
In less than thirty days the disease careens out of control:
January 20 - 300,000 cases, 100,000 deaths
February 6 – 3,000,000 cases, 1,000,000 deaths.
In a period of less than two months, the United States as a super power if not destroyed is so weakened that it verges on total destabilization, with martial law brought about by massive civil unrest and destruction of important elements of our infrastructure.
At this point the war game scenario was brought to an abrupt halt. At the time it was expected that the real job of formulating sufficient counter measures by the DOD, CDC, NIH and other governmental agencies to devise a defense against this most deadly threat..
The CDC Mission Statement, "Collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health - through health promotion; prevention of disease, injury, and disability and preparedness for new health threats.” [source, CDC document]
Bringing this full circle to the matter at hand, the most effective ways to prevent and defend against such an almost unimaginable threat is through deterrence. As described earlier in this essay, since the closing days of World War II the United States' nuclear arsenal has served as the supreme guarantor that this country [and the West by extension] can counter almost any external threat. However, the amateurs in this administration seem to have precluded that possibility. Team Obama, by taking the option of a nuclear response against non-nuclear states entirely off the table, has placed this country at a level of risk that is historically unprecedented.
But the problem goes deeper than that because assigning blame after the fact could in no way prevent the consequences of a full-blown biological attack, in which case preventing the spread of the contagion would become the only avenue of defense.
Let's remember that the Dark Winter war game was held in June of 2001 and though this certainly demonstrates the depth of understanding regarding potential national security threats of an irregular nature and Bush 42s effort to combat them, what has been done in the ensuing 13 years to prepare for this worst scenario threat?
Where Do We Go From Here?
No classroom or war-game speculation is necessary. We are witness to how ineptly Team Obama has dealt with a very limited number of cases of Ebola, a disease which we are told is not that easily spread, as opposed to the explosively contagious smallpox.
Though long a scourge in Western Africa, the first case in the United States was diagnosed on September 28 when Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, was placed into isolation. According to most reports, Duncan knew that he had come into contact with the disease in the form of bodily fluids while in his native country before he departed on a series of flights which eventually brought him to Dallas. His condition wasn't considered grave [despite a high fever and being in a great deal of pain] when he first showed up at Texas Presbyterian Hospital's emergency room, but was very seriously ill a few days later when he again arrived, this time by ambulance. Less than two weeks after his hospitalization he succumbed to the disease.
One might have hoped that since the bureaucracies had a decade plus to establish awareness, nationwide protocols, specialized treatment units and emergency response teams, Duncan's condition should have been diagnosed upon his first visit, at which point [ideally] he would have been shuttled into an off-the-shelf ready to go plan designed to treat him while preventing the disease from spreading. But this didn't happened. Instead CDC thrashed around issuing contradictory statements which left all concerned confused and fearful.
The organization is still apparently unsure at this very late date if Ebola can be spread outside of direct contact. Thankfully, it seems that the few cases which have been diagnosed and treated so far will be the extent of this threat...this time.
What has been on display over the last month is a reckless disregard for American public health. That there were only a handful of people affected should be seen as an act of divine providence, because the federal response rather than reassuring the public was on the verge or producing hysteria. A very ugly feature was also revealed when it became obvious that this WH is so wrapped up in identity politics that the most basic precautions such as denying flights originating in Western Africa landing rights in America were rejected, alleging that such measures are racist as well as ineffective, a claim which is specious on its face.
For the moment we have been given a reprieve, The sobering truth is that If the CDC had been dealing with a worst case challenge such as smallpox, the United States would now probably be about a month away from one million deaths - Dark Winter
If this isn’t unsettling enough consider that any deadly communicable disease can be spread by contact with bodily fluids and some, upon mere proximity to an infected party. Imagine one, or ten or dozens of self-infected [smallpox, Ebola, other hemorrhagic fever or anthrax for example] jihadists placing themselves in the center of a crowd, a sports game, a musical concert, the U.S. stock exchange…any mass event and then detonating suicide bombs thus creating a deadly aerosol which would, absent the strictest measures [certainly curtailing civil freedoms] spread exponentially.
Consider the dozens of American Muslims who have left the country to take up arms with ISIS. According to authorities their passports will remain valid so their right to an easy return is assured. Isn't this exactly the profile of the potential "lone wolf?" Joining a terrorist army which has declared war on the United States makes these people a toxic threat to national security...imagine if they have self infected with some horrific communicable disease. That would make them the ultimate Trojan Horse and the United States' incredible bumbling response to Ebola has been on display for the whole world to see making that type of attack even more likely.
Unbelievably, despite what the American public has been put through, the CDC website continues to make the absurd claim that they have already created the means to deal with this kind of attack:
"However, in the aftermath of the events of September and October, 2001, there is heightened concern that the variola virus might be used as an agent of bioterrorism. For this reason, the U.S. government is taking precautions for dealing with a smallpox outbreak."
Saddam’s WMD program, the American inability/unwillingness to see the danger of a potential BW assault even with a dozen years of having been forewarned and mountains of evidence, the Dark Winter exercise and now the Ebola outbreak are all wake-up calls. The question remains, is the American public health establishment capable of doing its job? So far it has failed utterly and consistently lied, leaving America wide open to an event which could destroy it without a shot being fired or an angry word exchanged.
Generally, direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact is required to spread smallpox from one person to another. Smallpox also can be spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects such as bedding or clothing. Rarely, smallpox has been spread by virus carried in the air in enclosed settings such as buildings, buses, and trains. Humans are the only natural hosts of variola. Smallpox is not known to be transmitted by insects or animals.
“…Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria that is closely related to B. anthracis…” [source, Potential for Aerosol Dissemination of Biological Weapons: Lessons from Biological Control of Insects , MedScape]. Bacillus Anthacis is Anthrax.
“…1993-1995 Bacillus thuringiensis (dry formulated preparation) produced at Al-Hakam…” [source, Duelfer 1, p. 444]
Early 1995 UNSCOM discovers 42 tons of unaccounted-for BW growth medium; Iraq cannot explain
BW 01-Jul-95 Iraq admits offensive BW program but denies weaponization
151 BW 01-Jul-95 Iraq submits draft BW FFCD based on 1 July admission of BW program
152 BW 01-Jul-95 Russia agrees to provide Iraq with 50 cubic meter fermentation plant…” [source, ibid]
“…BW March/April 1998 BW Technical Evaluation Meetings conclude Iraq has not fully disclosed BW programs..” [source, ibid p.447]
05-Feb-03 US SecState Powell presents evidence of Iraqi WMD programs to UNSC
UNSCOM clearly incapable of dealing with Saddam’s CBW program.
“…Iraq’s interest in camel pox and its inclusion in the viral BW program have led ISG to assess that camel pox R&D was a surrogate for smallpox research, analogous to the use of nonpathogenic Bacillus species and Bacillus anthracis.
According to [Ms.] Hazim ‘Ali, researchers in Iraq’s BW program followed the practice of working with particularly pathogenic micro-organisms surrogates to facilitate transition to the actual pathogens. This approach permitted the researcher to familiarize and learn techniques, procedures and processes to increase the safety margin for the researcher and technicians.
In Dr. Rihab’s own words, Hazim’s decision to work with camel pox was because “it was near to smallpox.” When directly questioned about the possibility of smallpox in Iraq, she misspoke on 3 occasions saying “there is no camel pox in Iraq…” [source, Duelfer 3, p. 143]
Hazim did not “misspeak” she lied and this is the problem with much of the ISG’s work, it simply refused to see what was in front of its eyes or make the logical jump from fact to conclusion.
It’s clear Saddam didn’t care about camelpox, except in the context of weaponized BW agents such as smallpox.
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