September 29, 2002

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


I was almost incredulous this week when I saw the pictures of the war protesters in Washington DC. I do not now where they came from, but it is definitely not the real world. It would be interesting to see what would have happened to them if they tried to hold their protest at Ground Zero? Chances are they would be torn to bits by the New Yorkers and sent in baskets to Fresh Kills Landfill.

Sadly, the world has changed for the worse. The relaxation that we all felt after the fall of the Soviet Union is over. Basically, the prime reason for this new fear is economics. The very same force that now makes it possible to buy a new VCR for only $58.00 which has the same features as a $400 VCR from four years ago makes our War on Terrorism so deadly.

You can pick your choice, either biological or nuclear weapons. The technology to harness these two deadly forces is becoming cheaper. In the Manhattan project it took mathematicians months to calculate equations that made the atomic bomb possible. Later as our bombs became smaller and more powerful, we depended on super computers. Today you can go to Best Buy and purchase a computer that is more powerful than the computers that sent Man to the moon. What is scarier is that a good computer geek can take a dozen of these desktop computers and hook them in tandem to create a poor man's super computer. This has been accomplished over the Internet already for a very interesting project called SETI. People all over the world are running a program that shows a screen saver on their computer screen while the computer analyzes signals from outer space for intelligence. The computers send their results back to NASA and get another batch of data to chew on. Hundreds of thousands of computer are donating their down time to this search for alien intelligence. There is no doubt this same process could be used to run complex simulations of atomic blasts and it does not take hundreds of computers - only a dozen or so.

Obviously, it is impossible in a free society and with world wide trade in computers to stop any third rate country from giving their nuclear scientists these tools.

The same goes for biotechnology. Last week on ebay there was a Cambridge 250 MK2 Electron Microscope for auction. The starting bid was barely over $1,000.00. Back in the 1960's this type of microscope would go for millions of dollars. The amount of scientific instruments available either new or used is amazing on the Internet. The tools of good are now affordable for the forces of evil. All you need are a few biochemists and the tools they need, a little time and you too, can kill millions. It has been estimated that if you took the same amount of men it took to takeover four jets on Sept. 11, and infected them with small pox and let them fly from one city to the next for several days, they could infect several thousand people. People who would be dispersed all over the USA in both cities and small towns. Within three days the number of people infected could be at a critical mass to kill millions. It is no wonder our government has developed a plan to vaccinate every American in a 5 day period if even one outbreak occurs. The trouble is there are so many other viruses that could be developed it is impossible for us to have the correct vaccine supply to fight a unique plague. All it takes is a dozen biochemists whose love of live has been crushed by Islamic extremism.

Once upon a time we had our shores to protect us. Even as powerful as Nazi Germany and Japan were in 1941 they could not invade us. Even England with the aid of the Royal Air Force was capable of keeping Hitler's army out. After that we had MAD to protect us - Mutual Assured Destruction. It works as long as the enemy was sane. The Soviets thankfully, did not believe in heaven and so were very content to not destroy themselves in a WWIII. There are cultures and countries not so sane. Now any third rate despot, and that is exactly what Sadam is, can muster up a few million dollars to build these weapons.

The damage to our country, just from losing two skyscrapers has amounted to trillions of dollars. There are thousands of families who will never be the same because of the deaths. There are millions of people who have lost jobs, savings for college, their hopes and futures, all because of the assault on our economy that took a mild recession and turned it into a serious long term collapse. I can't imagine the affect of a small nuclear bomb or biological attack that kills millions.

My opinion is we have come to a cross road where we need to take out any government we suspect of biological or nuclear weapons development. We can't wait for the first attack. We have the means and the power to make people like Sadam powerless. We should do so. To doubt it is to ignore all the warning signs from the last fifty years. Hitler could not get to our shores, but he did kill millions.

I grant you, I wish these barbarians would just go after each other. However, we are the target. We are because these despots in the Middle East hate our belief in liberty, our religious freedom, our democracy and our humanism. They count on a religion that keeps people down, just as the kings of the middle ages did in Europe. It is a big job to civilize these Islamic countries to the point where they would look more like Turkey, than the despotic nightmare that they are today. There is no reason for the Middle East to have the lowest economic growth in the world. They are not a dumb or lazy people. Their failure is purely political. If some semblance of world peace is to be obtained these despots be deprived of weapons of mass destruction.

I support President Bush's big stick policies. I hope they do result in a solution that does not take a war. However, it is only with threats that you get a bully's attention. You do not reason with barbarians. You bully. We are lucky to have a President who does not listen to the Hitlers of the world. Nor the Neville Chamberlains of the world. Let Germany hide behind our strength. We must go forward to make the future safe. We probably cannot achieve world peace; the world is not that simple a place. However, we can lessen our chances of a weak country trying to play David against our Goliath, by taking away their toys from ebay and giving their people freedom.


     Return to Index of Beginning of the Road Column