Introduction to Terrorism

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In a 200-300 word essay, elaborate on the history of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and the types of WMD. Make sure to answer all the following questions in detail and cite your sources.

  1. Analyze the history of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), biological weapons, chemical weapons, and nuclear weapons and the future threat of WMD.
  2. Explain the types of WMD that are readily available to terrorist groups and explain the toxicity of the agent.

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Explanation & Answer

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Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new weapons of mass destruction?[1]

At the time, the United States (with help from Western Allies) had yet to develop and use nuclear weapons. Japan conducted research on biological weapons (see Unit 731),[2] and chemical weapons had seen wide battlefield use in World War I. They were outlawed by the Geneva Protocol of 1925.[3] Italy used mustard gas against civilians and soldiers in Ethiopia in 1935-36.[4]

Following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II, and progressing through the Cold War, the term came to refer more to non-conventional weapons. The application of the term to specifically nuclear and radiological weapons is traced by William Safire to the Russian phrase "Оружие массового поражения" – oruzhiye massovovo porazheniya (weapons of mass destruction).

He credits James Goodby (of the Brookings Institution) with tracing what he considers the earliest known English-language use soon after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (although it is not quite verbatim): a communique from a 15 November 1945, meeting of Harry Truman, Clement Attlee and Mackenzie King (probably drafted by Vannevar Bush– or so Bush claimed in 1970) referred to "weapons adaptable to mass destruction

 Biological weapons- Humans are susceptible to microbial infections from many sources. Biological warfare is the use of microbial forms of life to diminish the capabilities, disrupt the organization, and terrorize the noncombatant population of an adversary. This form of warfare has been used throughout history and has gained renewed interest with the current use of asymmetrical warfare. The civilized world has condemned its use by the implementation of treaties specifically against it. This is a brief review of some of the more easily used biological agents such as anthrax, plague, tularemia, Q fever, and smallpox. Each agent's biology, infectious route, and disease course will be discussed. Possible delivery systems and signs of outbreak will also be reviewed. There are few real neurosurgery-related implications in biological warfare.

chemical weapon, any of several chemical compounds, usually toxic agents, that are intended to kill, injure, or incapacitate enemy personnel. In modern warfare, chemical weapons were first used in World War I (1914–18), during which gas warfare inflicted more than one million of the casualties suffered by combatants in that conflict and killed an estimated 90,000. In the years since then, chemical arms have been employed numerous times, most notably in the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88). The United States and the Soviet Union, during their decades of confrontation in the Cold War (1945–91), built up enormous stockpiles of chemical weapons. The end of the Cold War enabled those former adversaries to agree to ban all chemical weapons of the types that had been developed during World War I (first generation), World War II (second generation), and the Cold War (third generation).

Nuclear weapons facts

  • There are 16,400 nuclear weapons on Earth today, more than 20 years after the Cold War ended.
  • Five states are declared as nuclear weapon zones under the Non-Proliferation Treaty: US, UK, France, Russia and China. These countries are committed to disarmament under international law. It is illegal for any other country that has signed the NPT to develop these weapons.
  • Many other countries have been suspected of developing nuclear weapons including India, Pakistan, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Korea.
  • The US has nuclear weapons deployed across Europe for use by all NATO allies, including the UK.
  • Britain has one nuclear weapon system, Trident. Trident replaced Polaris in the 1980s and consists of four submarines, each one capable of carrying 16 missiles. Each warhead on the missiles can be guided to a separate target.
  • The only nuclear bombs ever to be used were by the US against Japan. In 1945 nuclear bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands of people. Today Hiroshima’s peace park attracts visitors from across the world.
  • Trident is more than 1,000 times powerful than the bomb that hit Hiroshima. Each warhead’s destructive power is measured in kilotons (kts). A kiloton is equal to 1,000 tons of TNT. The Hiroshima bomb was 16kts. Trident is far more deadly – each warhead is up to 100kts and there are 160 of them. That’s 16,000kts.

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Rice University

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