The Search for an Alternative to Weapons of Mass Destruction

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Byline: Burt Constable

War between nations is obsolete.

It has been so since the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945, instantly vaporizing thousands of civilians and eliminating the time-consuming, tax-gobbling, troop-endangering, morale-draining task of killing them piecemeal in a process now known as collateral damage.

Possessed with Weapons of Mass Destruction, a nation effectively relegates all the other instruments of war (Weapons of Trifling Destruction?) to a sort of bloody foreplay. Were the United States ever under an all-out attack or in true danger of being conquered by a foreign nation, we no doubt once again would unleash our Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And we aren't alone.

"Why is Saddam Hussein pushing ahead with Weapons of Mass Destruction if at some point he is not going to use them?" Dr. D.A. Henderson, our government's bioterrorism adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services, asked the press.

Of course, Henderson uttered this warning the day before our government admitted to conducting secret, open-air tests of deadly chemical and biological Weapons of Mass Destruction 40 years ago. But I think the good doctor is right.

Just as you shouldn't buy a gun for protection unless you are willing to kill somebody with it, you shouldn't stockpile Weapons of Mass Destruction unless you are willing to use them.

Pakistan and India have the nuclear trump card in their decks. The Brits and the French have nuclear bombs. China and Russia can nuke an enemy. Israel no doubt possesses that ability. North Korea might. Iran and Iraq are close.

Because a war involving any nuclear power could end in mass destruction, we must consider alternatives. CIA Director George Tenet suggested an attempt to make the world safer by attacking Iraq might backfire in that it may encourage Hussein to take his Weapons of Mass Destruction out of storage.

Hussein hasn't invaded anybody in more than a decade, but invasions are not how modern wars are fought. Today's wars aren't waged by nations and armies. They are fought by individuals or cabals, some of them without approval from any sovereignty.

When Osama bin Laden attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush promised that we'd ride into Afghanistan, smoke out bin Laden from whatever rock he was lurking under, and deliver him to justice, dead or alive. …