America in the Crossfire

, Alana Goodman, Leave a comment

At a foreign policy discussion at the Heritage Foundation on June 29th, former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) warned that there would likely be a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) attack somewhere in the world within the next four years.

According to former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and Talent, other threats on the horizon are North Korea, which currently has enough plutonium for 10-12 nuclear weapons and almost has the ability to produce these weapons at an assembly line basis; the South Asia nuclear arms race between China, Pakistan, and India; as well as al-Qaeda franchises within the U.S.

Graham and Talent were at the Heritage Foundation to discuss the release of their commission’s recent report titled “World at Risk: The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism.”

Talent, who is also a member of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, said that there was “more than a 50-50 chance” of a WMD attack by the year 2013.

Graham, also a member of the commission, echoed Sen. Talent’s prediction, arguing that “we do not have another four years to wait” to start preventing WMD proliferation by our enemies. “[A large-scale attack] is a looming reality and the clock is ticking,” Graham added.

According to Talent, “it is more likely that the weapon will be a biological weapon as opposed to a nuclear weapon” because “biological weapons are readily available [to our enemies].”

The commission members said that there are 10,000 sites around the world that can currently convert biological weapons. Specific bio-terror threats that the former Senators mentioned were anthrax, a deadly disease that can be converted to powder form in order to infect humans, and the Spanish Influenza, a lethal strain of the ‘flu virus that killed tens of millions of people in 1918. Scientists have recently reproduced the Spanish Influenza for study purposes, reported MSNBC, generating controversy that these experiments could have deadly consequences. “This experiment is only one step away from taking the 1918 demon entirely out of the bottle and bringing the Spanish flu back to life,” argued the Sunshine Project Backgrounder in a brief titled “Emerging Technologies: Genetic Engineering and Biological Weapons.”

In 2001, anthrax gained notoriety in the U.S. when letters laced with the disease were sent through the mail to random citizens. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened by the attack, according to the FBI.

Talent acknowledged that many Americans have a hard time believing that we have enemies who are so intent on our destruction. “It’s hard for us to conceive of any group of people who would do this, who would be so twisted,” he said, adding that people need to realize this is “really happening.”

Alana Goodman is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.