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May 22, 2010

Essay on America

America has long been called the most powerful nation, but are we really as secure as we think. America has many nuclear weapons and could destroy any opposing country. Our military is sizable and so are our navy and marine forces, but America is not ready for any type of Biological, Chemical, or nuclear attacks. “Before September eleventh, the threat of an attack with weapons of mass destruction was just theoretical” says Janet Williams, a reporter from the BBC news station.

In a survey carried out by a team from West Virginia University before September eleventh, thirty U.S. hospitals were contacted at random. A total of twenty six said they would only be able to handle a maximum of fifteen victims in the event of a bio-terror attack. Twenty two of those hospitals revealed they would not be able to handle a chemical or nuclear attack. It is apparent that America would not be able to handle the amount of casualties in the event of a bio-terror attack if all hospitals follow this trend.

In the event of a dirty bomb, a makeshift bomb made from unsafe materials such as cesium 137 and cobalt 60, being placed near the capital there would be wide spread, irrational panic. The average cancer risks are about two thousand deaths per ten thousand or around twenty percent. Here is a scenario, if ten pounds of TNT and a pea sized sample of cesium 137 were placed in Washington DC, the initial casualties would be limited to the site of explosion, which would mainly be by cancer from radiation. The EPA contamination threshold is an increase of one cancer death per ten thousand people.

“This is an example of irrational fears a lot of people have.” says Michael Levi, an expert scientist with the Federation of American Scientists. In scenario two the dirty bomb would be constructed with a foot long “pencil” of cobalt 60, and placed anywhere in New York. There would be no immediate casualties from radiation, much higher levels of contamination, and would reach through Westchester County. The outcome would also include, in Manhattan, one cancer death per one hundred people and it assumes thirty years of exposure.

These test scenarios help scientists determine wether the threat of a dirty bomb is substantial. The main devastation would come from the initial blast and contamination from radiation. As stated before, America would not be ready or able to handle the actual effects of scenario two. In a classified report filed by the CIA to Congress on the acquisition of technology relating to weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional munitions, January 1 through June 20, 2000, it states that Iran remains one of the most active countries to aquire WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and ACW (Advanced Conventional Weapons) technology from abroad.

In doing so, Tehran is attempting to develop an indigenous capability to produce various types of weapons — chemical, biological, and nuclear — and their delivery systems. It appears that the threat of Iraq very much alive. Iraq, since Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, Baghdad has refused to allow United Nations inspectors into Iraq as required by Security Council Resolution 687. America spends most of its money on defense and neglects properly staffing and supplying hospitals in the case that a bomb gets through its defenses.

That is a down fall of the American government. America needs to spend more of its budget on making the hospitals better. Even if the attack never comes to be we will never look back and say that we were not prepared. America should have learned from September eleventh that a terrorist attack can happen any time and our hospitals should be stocked with blood and other materials. Americas national debt in 2002 is around six trillion dollars. It would not increase the debt by concentrating on the internal affairs for a year or two.

All America seems to be doing now is ignoring the threat of other countries and focusing on Iraq and Saddam Hussein. It is a topic of great importance and needs to be addressed but if Iraq, which has nuclear weapon capabilities, fires on America, and if it lands in America, that could be a signal to other terrorist countries that America is weak. This is not a debate wether America should be spending money on good defense. Defense is absolutely crucial in stopping a nuclear device from hitting America.

America is somewhat vain in thinking that all it needs is defense. America’s offensive capabilities are among the top three in the world but as far as defense, there is more to being safe than simply putting satellites in orbit that have a fifty–fifty chance of blowing up the bomb before it hits the ground. America should come up with other ways, failsafe ways, of protecting its people. The American people should also take more interest in what their government is, and can do to protect them better.

A biological threat is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than a nuclear attack. After the smallpox disease was thought to be “extinct”, all of the virus was destroyed except for two samples kept alive in America and Russia for research. Americans are now worried that a terrorist group has the virus and is engineering a bio-toxic weapon of destruction. Both USSR and Russia were known for making, particularly nasty and almost impossible to cure, “viral cocktails.” This means that if you got infected with one of these cocktails, the doctors could most likely cure one of the diseases but in doing so would cause another to become worse.

Another fear about a nuclear attack is that if the bomb were a few thousand feet above its target, and exploded it would cause a massive EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) wave that would short circuit all electronic devices within a one hundred (100) mile radius. The EMP bombs were first engineered just after the Cold War had ended, and since then they have been fitted in with other types of bombs so that the bomb would have a double effect.

With the technological advances throughout the past one hundred years America could have built up a substantial barrier against terror attacks, but didn’t. There is enough information stated that clearly shows that America is not ready for any type of Biological, chemical or nuclear attack.

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