Terrorism and Weapons of Mass
• refuse to provide funds for U.S. military presence and interventions overseas that are not required to defend U.S. vital interests and could result in catastrophic retaliatory attacks on the U.S. homeland by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction; • resist “anti-terrorism” initiatives that would undermine civil liberties and be ineffective in preventing terrorist attacks; and • consider using a small portion of the savings from reducing unnecessary defense programs to stockpile antidotes to common chemical and biological agents and to train emergency response personnel to mitigate the effects of catastrophic attacks.
Recently, several U.S. government reports have emphasized the need for increased national attention to the defense of the American homeland. That mission has not been prominent since the 1950s, but the proliferation of technology for creating weapons of mass destruction, or WMD (chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons), has reawakened interest in protecting the homeland.
A study completed for the Department of Defense notes that historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and terrorist attacks on the United States. Once regarded as pinpricks by great powers, attacks by terrorist groups could now be catastrophic for the American homeland. Terrorists might now be able to obtain the technology for weapons of mass terror and may have fewer qualms about using them to cause massive casualties. A high-level official in the U.S. Department of Defense stated that such catastrophic attacks are almost certain to occur. It would be extremely difficult to deter, stop, detect, or mitigate such attacks.
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Publication information: Book title: Cato Handbook for Congress:Policy Recommendations for the 106th Congress. Contributors: Edward H. Crane - Editor, David Boaz - Editor. Publisher: Cato Institute. Place of publication: Washington, DC. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 527.
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