U.S. Blocks Inspections

There is a Biological Weapons Convention. Most of the signatories want to establish a protocol for international inspections. Guess who blocked it? The United States of America.

It is interesting to note that while President Bush now claims to want inspections in Iraq to succeed, his administration argued at a recent meeting that inspections were useless. Take careful note of what the U.S. spokesman said:

Formal arms-control inspections to determine biological weapons activities could not be effective because the components can be found in the everyday environment and can simultaneously have legitimate and illegitimate uses. “They are,” the United States continued, “used for many peaceful purposes, such as routine studies against disease, the creation of vaccines and the study of defensive measures against a biological attack. Detecting violations is nearly impossible. Proving a violation is impossible.”

Let’s hope the United States remembers its own words in addressing the situation in Iraq. Saddam Hussein should be happy to hear that the United States admits in an international forum that it cannot prove that Iraq or any other country is violation of the prohibition against biological weapons.

The fact is, of course, that it is the United States that does not wish to be inspected. Is that because we have our own biological weapons programs still being conducted clandestinely? One can only wonder. About the only conclusion halfway drawn from our inept investigation of the anthrax attacks is that the anthrax spores appear to be of American origin.

Despite the baloney pouring out of Washington these days about homeland security, there really is no defense against an attack by biological weapons. Reacting to an attack is not a defense any more than cleaning up the mess left by an explosion is a defense against a bomb attack. Nor are vaccines a good defense, since it is so easy to switch from one virus or bacteria to another. Also keep in mind that most viruses are always mutating, and that today they can be genetically altered to resist existing vaccines.

The best hope would be inspections in an effort to discourage all countries from developing these things — not to mention, naturally, a broad policy to eliminate conflicts in the world. Every act of terror proceeds from a political cause. Every act of war proceeds from a political cause. In my lifetime, the United States has done damned little to pursue peace, except on all-too-frequent occasions resorting to war. You will notice that President Bush, in the finest tradition of Orwellian newspeak, always prefaces talk of war with the phrase “In the name of peace …”

Bull. You don’t make peace by making war.

Unless we find ways to settle political and economic disputes without resorting to war, our grandchildren are going to live in a miserable, dangerous world, and they don’t deserve that. Americans ought to be outraged at incompetent leaders around the world who are endangering the lives and future of all of us. The technology of death today far exceeds the IQ of the political leaders who have the power to unleash it.

It’s interesting to note that in 1914, a German writer predicted that by the year 2000 the world would be transitioning from what he called the Age of Money into the Age of Caesar. That writer was Oswald Spengler in his book “The Decline of the West.” He meant the West would replace rule by money with rule by authoritarian leaders, and you can see it in every democracy in the world, including ours: the slow slide toward authoritarianism. Democracy has always had a short life span.

© 2002 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.