Terrorist Superbugs

Far be it for me to accuse the military of baseless and unsubstantiated fearmongering where the terrorist “threat” is concerned; such a claim would be unpatriotic, perhaps even treasonous, and rather petty, to boot. So, instead, let me simply say, in government-approved fashion, that we’re all going to die.

Don’t believe me? Check out the following excerpt from the most recent, not-at-all hysteria-filled edition of Terrorism and WMD in the Contemporary Operational Environment (13MB PDF file), a supplement to the Military Guide to Terrorism in the 21st Century:

Genetic engineering has provided advances in science but can also be a grim landscape of microbiology and biotechnology for a terrorist. The ability to isolate specific genes and manipulate their basic DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid] has advanced numerous health care, agriculture, and aspects of animal husbandry. This recombinant DNA (rDNA) is the product of taking a gene from the DNA of one type of cell and splicing it to the DNA of another type of cell. Lethal components of a bacterium, toxin, organic substance, or fungus might be spliced to an otherwise harmless genetic substance in order to create a deadly biological agent. When used as a biological weapon, the new signature of the cell hides the actual genetic characteristics and prevents natural immune systems for countering an infection. Disease could be altered to increase their virility, survivability, and communicability. Timely medical diagnoses and treatments are all the more difficult.

Holy cow, Batman! Terrorists are capable of gene splicing? We’re all going to die!

This isn’t the only bit of really over-the-top (but no doubt well-founded… right?) hysteria in the handbook, which seems to have been written by a committee, but is perhaps the most notable such part. (A most curious bit is the dismissive reference to the terror attacks of September 11th as merely “al Qaeda-inspired”, which seems a significantly milder description than the government usually uses. Fuel for the conspiracy theorists, no doubt…)

The whole thing does make an interesting read, if you do so with skeptic cap firmly in place. This, incidentally, is the new and improved version of this publication, from August 2007; it evidently is much revamped to include even more fear, uncertainty, doubt, and raisins in every delicious bite than ever before.

Published in: General, Security | on October 11th, 2007| Comments Off on Terrorist Superbugs

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.