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By Dr. Bob Uda, Ph.D., CM, CHSP, ILO (Reporter)
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WMDs include CBRNE et al.

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WMDs include CBRNE et al.

By Dr. Bob Uda




Some people talk about CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear).  There is still another weapon of mass destruction (WMD) in CBRNE, which is the “E” that stands for “Explosives.”  Explosives are what we consider as “high-yield explosives (HYE)” and “enhanced-effects explosives (EEE).”


We may destroy or eliminate the use of the four WMDs of CBRN, but I believe we will neither destroy nor eliminate the use of HYE such as Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  That explosive was, basically, a high-yield, vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).  Other HYE may be conventional thousand-pound bombs that we use in carpet-bombing runs that may kill hundreds and even thousands of people at a time in one mission.  Additionally, other high-yield explosives may be bunker busters and other such huge, conventional, chemical bombs that yield large explosions.


Furthermore, we will neither destroy nor eliminate EEE such as the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.  In that attack, 19 Middle-Eastern al-Qaeda terrorists killed approximately 3,000 people using four airplanes (laden with jet fuel) as human-guided missiles.  Those EEE were not VBIEDs.  Another EEE may be the massive use of napalm bombs to burn cities and kill thousands of people during a single mission.  Furthermore, other EEE may be terrorist attacks on conventional ordnance arsenals, bomb-manufacturing facilities, fuel storage farms, and other technologically hazardous explosives.


Two more potential WMDs that are not part of CBRNE include cyber warfare attacks and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks.  Shutting down the entire national electrical power grid and all critical infrastructure (CI) systems through a major, coordinated cyber-attack or through a nationwide EMP attack may eventually kill thousands or even millions of people if every electronic device and electrically run system are rendered inoperable and impotent.  These doomsday scenarios may occur in the near future.


Why is it unacceptable to kill people by CBRN, but it is acceptable to kill people by E (or HYE and EEE)?  Is what offends us the quantity of people we kill through CBRN?  If we are dead, we are dead.  Does it really matter whether we die by CBRN or E?  Where is the separation line between unacceptable death and acceptable death?  We condition ourselves to abhor death by CBRN.  Perhaps we should condition ourselves to abhor death by E.  What say you?


Death by CBRN is not immediate for all people.  Some may suffer but recover.  Others may suffer miserably but ultimately die.  Death from a nuclear explosion is immediate only for those who are in proximity of the explosion and die immediately from blast effects including the shock wave, heat, flying shrapnel/debris, and radiation.  Those beyond the reach of the blast effects may suffer from radiation, which may last for a long time before death occurs.  It depends on the level of radiation dosage.  Even people living hundreds and thousands of miles downwind may suffer from the residual radiation caused by nuclear fallout and rain carrying radiated dust borne by the wind.  Death by E is immediate for those people in proximity of the explosion.  Those who receive wounds/injuries from such a blast may suffer indefinitely.  All methods of dying are debatable.



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