Eliminating Adversary Weapons of Mass Destruction: What's at Stake?
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
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The failure to find substantial evidence of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in Iraq has exposed serious weaknesses in the U.S. understanding of the weapons of mass destruction WMD threat posed by its adversaries as well as in its ability to deal effectively with these threats. A rancorous and highly politicized debate, primarily about the intelligence assessments of Iraqi WMD capabilities before Operation Iraqi Freedom, has dominated national discussion for months. Unfortunately, the current preoccupation with intelligence might mask other issues and shortcomings in the American ability to eliminate the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of its enemies. Events in Iraq did not unfold as many might have expected. The expected smoking gun never materialized large stocks of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were not strewn throughout the countryside. And, most importantly, neither U.S. forces nor innocent civilians had to face WMD use. Even so, weapons of mass destruction were very much a condition of this most recent war in Iraq, simply not in the shape and form that many predicted. The Armed Forces had to plan and prepare for conflict as if WMD use was not only possible but also likely. In addition, coalition forces had to prepare to disarm a country of its WMD programs, a mission neither anticipated nor planned for since World War II. This mission has come to be called WMD elimination.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare
- Nuclear Warfare