July 1991 (vol. 7, #5)
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson AZ 85716 c
1991 J Orient
Since nuclear weapons have been likened to cancer, it might be a good idea to consider whether all the threat has been removed before we dismiss the need for defenses.
After working out a few ``minor technical details,'' the US has signed the START treaty with the Soviets. And eventually, Iraq might produce a complete, accurate list of its nuclear (and chemical) facilities for international inspectors.
Having (presumably) taken out
the cancer and a single positive lymph node, can we pronounce
the patient cured? Or do we need to look for invasion of tumor
at the edges of the specimen and for distant metastases?
Iraq, the Middle East, and Korea. Saddam Hussein is known to have possessed at least 27.5 pounds of 93% uranium-235, enough to manufacture one bomb. The material was supplied by France and recovered after Israeli bombers damaged the Osiraq ``research'' reactor in 1981. The latest IAEA inspection occurred in November, 1990. Writing in Moscow News (Feb 10-17, 1991), William C. Potter suggests that General Schwarzkopf's claim to have ``thoroughly damaged'' Iraqi nuclear facilities could give a perfect alibi for missing material.
Iraq may also have manufactured an additional 88 pounds of weapons-grade material using magnetic isotope separation, according to an Iraqi defector (Baltimore Sun 6/15/91).
If Hussein became convinced that his power was in jeopardy, he might be persuaded to part with his bomb material. Among the nations to bid for it might be Syria, Libya, North Korea, and Iran.
Although SCUD missiles proved
militarily ineffective in the Gulf War, ``there is one subtlety
about them that is well known to military people....The principal
mission of [inaccurate] SCUD missiles is to deliver nuclear warheads''
(Moscow News Mar 31-Apr 2, 1991). By the mid 1990s, North Korea
may be able to produce one nuclear weapon per year (Wall St J
7/10/91). North Korea has contracted for the delivery of 150
SCUD missiles to Syria and has assisted Iran with developing its
own program (Wall St J 4/19/91).
Cuba. On April 25, US spy satellites discovered at least one banned SS-20 missile in Cuba. Possibly, this might be permitted under the proviso of the INF Treaty that permits a ``museum piece display'' of an unarmed SS-20, although the Treaty demands full consultation with the US before placing a weapon on display. Coincidentally, the ``museum'' happens to be located near a nuclear reactor capable of producing weapons-grade material (Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, Washington Post 5/20/91).
This situation, especially when
coupled with the Soviet refusal to provide a photograph of an
SS-20 before the day the INF Treaty was signed, illustrates Senator
Helms' doubts: (1) We don't know what we're looking for. (2)
We don't know where to look for it. (3) If we find it, we don't
know what we have found. (4) If we figure out what it is, we
don't know what to do about it (Andrei Nazarov, Chronicles, June,
Soviet Union. A ``technical detail'' that slowed the START Treaty concerns missile throw-weight. The Soviets are supposed to decrease their first-strike arsenal of SS-18s by half. But according to a CIA memorandum, the upgraded model of the SS-18 (the SS-18 Mod 5) ``can still maintain the capability to destroy all US silo-based ICBMs.'' Frank Gaffney, former Defense official, said that the Mod 5 has ``roughly twice the payload capability of its predecessor, higher yield warheads and vastly improved accuracy, thanks to important innovations in Soviet propellant and guidance system.'' He estimates that Soviet capability for attacking hard targets may be greater with 154 Mod 5s than with 308 SS-18 Mod 4s. They may have to allocate only one Mod 5 warhead per target, instead of two, to have a high kill probability.
While the Gorbachev regime may have the most benign intentions, the Soviet Union becomes increasingly unstable. Moscow News (Mar 17-24, 1991) maps 76 cities, districts, and regions where citizens are in ``mortal conflict'' on ``ethnic grounds.'' A year ago, only a third of these flashpoints were in evidence. Also, the possibility of an accidental launch remains. Soviet General Kochemasov disclosed that a Soviet ballistic missile left its launch pad ``of its own accord.'' Fortunately, the missile (which may have carried a nuclear warhead), crashed nearby.
United States. As threats proliferate, the US Congress attempts to kill strategic defense and makes no move to revive civil defense. ``It is sometimes hard to imagine a more dire threat to our continued existence than ourselves, as embodied in the US Congress'' writes John Thomison, MD. ``Those Mothers-on-the-Hill (MOTHs) wasted much...precious time by trying to scrap the [Patriot] project.''
Thomison urges the scrapping
of the ABM Treaty as soon as possible. If we wish to continue
having more days of existence, ``[t]he first step, an urgent first
step, is seeing to our defenses, which at the moment are not only
down, but couldn't be raised even in an emergency'' (``SCUDs Ahoy,''
South Med J 84:549-550, 1991).
Civil Defense in Israel
Israel has not responded to the metastases of missiles and nuclear weapons by pleading for more treaties, but by expanding its homeland defense capabilities. Major General Yaacov Lapidot will speak on Israeli civil defenses at the DDP annual meeting in Las Vegas, Sept 22, at 12:00 noon. Gen. Lapidot previously served in many campaigns as a tank commander.
``The gnostic/ideologues/environmentalists motto, from the perspective of reality: Ignorance is no excuse for inaction.''
Dioxin. As controversy over Agent Orange continues in the US, a source of additional toxicity data has become available:
Climate Variations. From the AMA, 1890:
Whether the general conclusion is warranted that the climate of the north temperate zone is gradually changing may be a matter of doubt....[but] taking these things into considera-tion, it seems to be evident that some cause out of the ordinary has been at work.
JAMA 263:1576, 1990
Acid Rain. The results of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), a decade-long, $500 million project, are reported in a 7000-page typescript. According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Review (#4, 1990), ``only about 4% (by length) of the upper reaches of streams in targeted US areas where acidic deposition was thought to be of potential concern were actually found to be acidic.'' Only about half of this problem was attributed to atmospheric deposition. The conclusion was that ``urgent action is not required to avoid major, irreversible ecological changes.'' Congress will judge whether earlier reductions in emissions (at a cost of $100 billion over 40 years) are warranted.
More detail on the chemistry is available in Science (252: 1151-1154, 1991). (The article gives a rather different impres-sion of the scope of the problem by omitting mention of the information in the italicized sentence above.)
Don't miss the environmental symposium at the annual meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, September 21, in Las Vegas (agenda enclosed).
``Without chemical defense, there is no doubt that gas would have been considered a highly effective weapon in World War II,'' Meselson writes. The distribution of gas masks to tens of millions of British civilians caused the Germans to decide against arming V-2 rockets with poison gas: the number of casualties would have been less than those inflicted by conventional explosives. In every case that gas has actually been used, it has been against forces that were lacking or highly deficient in protective equipment.
Chemical defenses have an essential role in disarmament, he argues, because it makes chemical weapons less militarily useful. Meselson concludes: ``There is no room for doubt that modern antichemical protection is highly effective...Chemical defense greatly reduces the damage of chemical attack; it deters the use and even the proliferation of chemical weapons; and without it chemical disarmament would not be possible.''
Now, try substituting the word ``nuclear'' for ``chemical''; the conclusions would be equally valid.
Iraq. A feverish effort to arm SCUD missiles with chemical warheads failed for technical reasons, according to an Iraqi engineer. The heavy warhead causes a ballistic deviation, and the risk of hitting Jordan was deemed unaccept-able. Poison gas attacks have been reported by refugees. A paramedic said he had treated patients in Karbala for blisters due to mustard, and a Kuwaiti physician reported symptoms of nerve gas poison-ing in Karbala patients (CWCB #12).
Sweden. The Swedish government has authorized procurement of gas masks and protective jackets in sufficient quantities to protect the entire population (CWCB #12).
United States. The US Congress was told that the program for destroying US chemical weapons cannot be completed before 1999, and the total cost estimate has increased to $6.5 billion. Meanwhile, a General Accounting Office report states that the nine storage facilities are vulnerable to terrorist attack though no sabotage attempts have occurred for five years.