Biological Weapons and Biological Warfare

Biological Weapons and Biological Warfare
In 1978, a popular writer and Bulgarian exile by the name of Georgi Markov was going on his way to work in the British Broadcasting Corporation, which is better known as bbc, where he broadcasted to his homeland from a station named Radio Free Europe. While he was walking he felt a sudden sharp pain in his leg. When he turned around he observed a man picking up an umbrella. The man apologized for what he had done and kept on walking.
Georgi Markov became sick that night and died a couple of days later. The autopsy that was conducted on the body uncovered a small pellet that had a coat of ricin on it, which is a biological poison
Throughout the early 1900?s, Great Britain was developing a biological weapon program.
It all started because Great Britain was afraid that Germany and Japan had a great advantage in biological technology in comparison to them. They were testing to see the range of spread of the anthrax spores. Great Britain tested its weapons on the coast of the Island of Gruinard in Scotland were they thought it was far enough from they coast so it would not contaminate or hurt the mainland. In the year of 1943 throughout many experiments that were conducted it was proven that sheep and cattle were affected with anthrax. The British government thought of decontaminating the island that that meant that they had to brushfire they entire island to kill all of the organisms. However, the anthrax spores embedded themselves inside the soil so the decontamination of the island is impossible. It is also stated that as long as the ground is not disturbed, the people are safe (Jones, p 1).

Both the Georgi Markov and the Gruinard Island cases are examples of the consequences of biological warfare. In each, the results were disastrous. For this reason, biological weapons are considered the most lethal and potentially horrific of any in worldwide arsenals.

There are two categories of biological warfare agents. The first is a group of microorganisms, living organic germs such as anthrax. The second category of biological warfare agents includes Toxins, the by products of living organism or natural poisons, such as botulism. These are the two warfare agents that are most commonly used but in addition there are also a large number of natural and man made agents that people have developed throughout history (Encarta 99).

Biological Warfare is usually thought of by as a twentieth century development, but in fact it was developed and used as early as 1346 (Mayer, p2). In a military definition, biological warfare is the intentional use of diseases to affect an adversary?s military force, population, crops, or livestock. A terrorist?s biological strategy could target those same objectives, depending on the purpose of the terrorists. Biological weapons are not easily controlled and once released little can stop their spread. Some conspiracy theorists believe that aids is an example of such disease warfare, though there is no evidence of this. Regardless, biological weapons have been and continue to be used around the world, and this represents a crime against humanity. Biological warfare must be stopped and so must all research in that area.

One of the primary reasons why biological warfare should be stopped is that it is fundamentally inhumane. This is inherently true in the nature of disease. Someone that is dieing from a disease in many cases suffers far more than someone dieing from a bullet wound or other such war tactics. The most recent example of how biological warfare is cruel and inhumane was in Bosnia where most of the United Nations military that were posted there to keep the peace in the country were exposed to the biological weapon agent uranium which leads to Leukemia, which is a form of cancer which there is no cure for. The reason that these soldiers are dieing is that the Check Republic army used missiles from old uranium (cnn World News).

Another reason why the use of biological warfare is wrong is that it is impossible to control or predict its effect. When I biological weapon is detonated it has no specific target but it can and does affect any person within its impact radius. This means that it indiscriminately kills innocent civilians including women and children. The biological warfare tactic that was used in previous centuries of throwing contaminated corpses into wells to poison drinking water is a perfect example of this. In addition to this, disease spreads uncontrollably. The Tartars in the early fourteenth century, captured the city of Kaffa and catapulted bodies that where infested with plagues in to the city. It is believed that as a result, between the years of 1347 and 1351 over twenty-five million people died in medieval Europe (Mayer p 2). Another period of time where biological weapons where used was in the French and Indian War in the year of 1651, where the English offered blankets to he Native Americans that were infected with Smallpox (Mayer pp 2-3).

Biological warfare also has the potential to pollute the environment and devestate non-human species. As genetic strands of dna can mutate, it is possible for disease meant only to affect humans to change into something that can kill plants or animals. This means that a biological weapon has long lasting effects, longer than the length of the conflict and also of the lives of the people involved. This presents the possibility that future generations will be equally affected.

Another way future generations can be affected is via genetic mutation caused by biological warfare agents. Genetic mutation can manifest itself in many different forms.
Some of the ways that people will be affected through genetic mutation is the prematurity of newborn babies, as well as birth defects. It is also known that a person will be susceptible to many different forms of disease. An example of this sort of ripple effect is the series chemical attacks visited on the citizens of Tokyo on the twentieth of March 1995 (Mayer pp 9 ? 11). The attackers on the Tokyo subway systems released a chemical warfare agent called Sarin. Since March 1995, birth defects and mutations have been reported in connection with some of the non-fatality victims of the original attack. Such birth defects mirror those seen following the Hiroshima tragedy in 1945.

Given the terrible nature of biological warfare, it would be logical for the world to stop all developments and use of biological weapons. However, it has been reported that some countries are illegally producing biological weapons. Some of these countries include the usa, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. This is just part of a very long list (Jones, 1996).

Recognition of how wrong biological warfare is began in 1969, when former United States President Richard Nixon changed the US policy on biological warfare. During his visit to Fort Detrick, he announced that the United States would terminate all research on biological weapons. By the year 1972 the United States had completely destroyed all biological weapon stockpile. In return of this act the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was held, As a result of 118 countries signed a agreeing not to develop, produce, or stockpile any form of biological weapon(Mayer p4). Unfortunately despite many laws passed over time, few countries have abided by them. Evidence of this came in the late 1970?s and early 1980?s there were reports that the Soviet Union was using biological weapons in Laos, Kampuchea, and Afghanistan (Mayer p 4).

In conclusion, it is clear that a biological weapon is wrong. When Saddam Hussein threatened to turn the Persian Gulf War into ?the mother of all wars? the world shook with the possible implications. The United States managed to divert the course of the war such as this did not happen. In other situation these results have not been as successful, unfortunately, and many people have suffered and died. I hope that civilization is moving towards total illumination of biological weaponry.

Biological Weapons and Biological Warfare 9.7 of 10 on the basis of 1527 Review.