Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bioterrorism within 5 years.

A new report from the congressionally mandated bi partisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (created last spring in keeping with one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission) has just concluded in the opening sentence of the executive summary:
“Unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.”
The final result of this six-month study headed by former Senators Bob Graham (D-FL), and Jim Talent (R-MO) correctly faults the Bush administration for failing to devote the same degree of high-level attention and resources to the threat of bioterrorism as it has to nuclear threats. But, the panel’s 13 recommendations falter themselves by suggesting it’s possible to secure dangerous pathogens and tighten oversight of high-containment laboratories by strengthening international organizations. International organizations will have to have unlimited access to every nation, every laboratory and every cave in the world to eliminate all bioterrorist threats. And this won’t protect us from natural occurring biological pathogens of mass destruction. And it’s questionable if even a Nazi like intrusive presence of weapons inspectors would be able to stop to cleaver and committed group from creating the perfect genocidal gene targeting biological weapon.
The panel’s recommendations for improved bioforensic capabilities and strengthening international organizations will be useful, but ‘preventing’ a bioterrorist event will require two other approaches not mentioned by the Commission.
First, not making so many enemies in the world. This will require powerful international institutions capable of creating a climate of shared security and protection of basic human rights. An environment where poor people as well as the rich have a direct incentive to reporting any suspicious actors or actions. Second, the creation of international institutions endowed with the capacity of enforcing globally agreed upon standards of control, intelligence gathering and incident reporting. In summary, we need to make more friends, less enemies, and enforceable world laws.


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